Initially they began experimenting with cats, and later proceeded to study monkeys. In 1961 the first human patient was subject to the split brain surgery.
The procedure worked well as a “cure” for patients who suffered from severe epilepsy and did not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. It was soon discovered that patients who had a commissurotomy had some interesting difficulties. Patients were not able to communicate information from one hemisphere to the other, almost as though they now had two separate brains.
Besides popularizing the word “commissurotomy,” Sperry and Meyers made evident that the human brain is actually a marriage of two separate brains — a left brain and a right brain — each capable of functioning alone, each with unique abilities. For example, the right brain excels at recognizing the human face and performing visual-motor tasks, but is a terrible reader. And the left brain has a knack for language and speech.
By the early 1960s, Roger Sperry was performing his most famous experiments into split brain consciousness with one of his students: Michael Gazzaniga.
In the following video, Alan Alda visits the research lab of Michael Gazzaniga, and discovers there’s nothing quite like seeing split brain consciousness in action:
Click the link to watch: Severed Corpus Callosum.
Or watch embedded below:
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