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Forebrain Commissurotomy and Conscious Awareness

Sperry, R. W. (1977) Forebrain Commissurotomy and Conscious Awareness. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 2 (2). pp. 101-126. ISSN 0360-5310. doi:10.1093/jmp/2.2.101.

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The left and right cerebral lobes of the mammalian brain in the natural state are largely separate anatomically except for cables of cross-connecting fibers, the cerebral commissures, most prominent of which is the enormous corpus callosum, the largest fiber system of the brain, estimated to contain in man over 200 million fibers. Experimental investigation of the functional role of the cerebral commissures was stimulated during the early 1940s by a series of clinical reports in which complete surgical section as well as congenital absence of the corpus callosum had seemingly failed to produce any consistent or distinct behavioral symptoms detectable in extensive neurological and psychological testing (Akelaitis 1943; Bremer 1958; Bremer, Brihaye, and Andre-Balisaux 1956). Animal studies started in the early 1950s, mostly on cats and primates (Myers and Sperry 1953; Sperry, Stamm, and Miner 1956; Sperry 1961; Downer 1962; Myers 1962), showed consistently, however, that each hemisphere after surgical separation functions independently to a very large extent in most higher activities, including perception, learning, and memory. In objective behavioral tests involving sensory discrimination learning, each surgically disconnected hemisphere was found to sense, perceive, learn, and remember independently of the other.

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Additional Information:© 1977 by The Society for Health and Human Values. Published: 01 June 1977. Portions of this article draw substantially on prior presentations for the 9th International Symposium on Brain Research, Netherlands Central Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, July 1975, and a symposium on The Psychology of Consciousness, The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge, San Francisco, May 8, 1976. Work of the author is supported by gram no. MH 03372 of the National Institute of Mental Health and the F. P. Hixon Fund of the California Institute of Technology.
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NIHMH 03372
F. P. Hixon Fund, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200529-075541332
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Official Citation:R. W. Sperry, Forebrain Commissurotomy and Conscious Awareness, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Volume 2, Issue 2, June 1977, Pages 101–126,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103538
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 May 2020 15:58
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:22

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