The split-brain debate revisited: On the importance of language and self-recognition for right hemispheric consciousness

Journal of Mind and Behavior 22 (2):107-118 (2001)
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Abstract

In this commentary I use recent empirical evidence and theoretical analyses concerning the importance of language and the meaning of self-recognition to reevaluate the claim that the right mute hemisphere in commissurotomized patients possesses a full consciousness. Preliminary data indicate that inner speech is deeply linked to self-awareness; also, four hypotheses concerning the crucial role inner speech plays in self-focus are presented. The legitimacy of self-recognition as a strong operationalization of self-awareness in the right hemisphere is also questioned on the basis that it might rather tap a preexisting body awareness having little to do with an access to mental events. I conclude with the formulation of an alternative interpretation of commissurotomy according to self-awareness — a “complete” one in the left hemisphere and a “primitive” one in the right hemisphere

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Alain Morin
Mount Royal University

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