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The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: on the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness

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  • Alain Morin

    (Mount Royal College, Alberta, Canada)

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Morin, 2002. "The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: on the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 18, pages 523-534.
  • Handle: RePEc:hom:homoec:v:18:y:2002:p:523-534
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