Post Of The Week – Saturday 6th May 2017

1) Split Brain Patients

This article refers to a piece of research about split brain patients which was published a couple of months ago. Sperry’s split brain research is designed to show how each half of the brain works separately in patients whose corpus callosum has been severed. An object presented to the left visual field cannot be named because the right side of the brain has no access to language. This article is good at explaining the latest research which suggests that this is not the case. It looks as if there are compensatory mechanisms which find a way round the problem of language being localised in the left side of the brain. How these work remains unknown.

2) Information And Inference

This is a complex academic paper. I’ve only read the first bit of it but it’s relevant to what we do. When we look at the cognitive approach, we draw a distinction between inferences drawn from experiments and direct observation of the brain through complex imaging techniques such as fMRI. This article makes the point that all measurement involves inference. A change in the indicator arrow on a set of kitchen scales enables me to infer that I have a large amount of flour in the bowl. The change of indication is not the weight itself. I infer it from what I see. We know what impact brain activity has on an fMRI machine but don’t know what impact that activity has inside the brain. That is what research needs to find out.

3) Hearing Voices

This documentary looks excellent.

4) More On How The Brain Adapts

This article looks at how the brain adapts to the loss or absence of a body part, in this case a hand. The assumption that there is an area of the brain for each part of the body is challenged. It may be better to think of areas of the brain for particular activities.

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