The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: on the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness
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 which split-brain patients exhibit two uneven streams of self-awareness - a "complete" one in the left hemisphere and a "primitive" one in the right hemisphere.
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Volume (Year): 18 (2002)
Issue (Month): ()
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