The Intriguing Results of Severing the Corpus Callosum in the Brain

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Previous to listening to Dr. Peterson's lecture on consciousness, I had never critically examined the idea of a conscious thought in relation to those choices made without us being actively aware of them. The idea that we could be aware of something, without actually being conscious of such an awareness, is extremely interesting and shows the complex nature of our brains. To explain such a concept, we discussed and viewed a video regarding a patient who had his corpus callosum severed in order to relieve his severe seizures.

Corpus Callosum.jpg

As seen in the above picture, the corpus callosum serves to connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain so that they can share the information that they receive simultaneously. In this way, despite the fact that information is relayed to one side of the brain or the other depending on the position of the stimulus, the entire brain is aware of it. So in severing this connection, communication is stopped and any functions that are unique to one side of the brain or the other don't get relayed in the fashion that they should. This is especially evident in looking at the Broca and Wernicke areas of the brain.

Broca and Wernicke.png

These areas, responsible for the production and understanding of speech, are localized to the left area of the brain. This means when someone who has a severed corpus callosum interacts with something using only their left hand (meaning the signal is sent to the right half of the brain) they will not be able to articulate in words what the object is without viewing it. What is intriguing, however, is the fact that they are still aware of the identity of the object, just not on a conscious status.


As can be seen in the video, this experiment yielded very unusual results that present a variety of questions. It would seem that our mind can be aware of things without us even knowing it, which throws into doubt the idea of a unified consciousness. Another question that I find myself asking is in regards to how how much info is stored in our brain subconsciously and how often such information is used by our brains without us being actively aware of it. Also, if our brain comes up with falsified stories to explain such information, how much of what we think we know about ourselves and our self consciousness is really true?

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Give us a very brief summary of the findings from the video. Nice post overall. Good use of imbedded video.

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This page contains a single entry by zipp0009 published on October 24, 2011 8:01 PM.

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