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No. 13: Winter 1981

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Half A Brain Sometimes Better Than A Whole One

The orthodox view of the human brain holds that the left or dominant half governs the right side of the body and is concerned with logical thought, verbal analysis, etc. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and is responsible for spatial and intuitive thinking. The right side supposed-ly cannot even participate in verbal expression. The two halves of the brain are connected by the corpus callosum. That this interconnection sometimes creates problems is evident from the fact that its severance often leads to dramatic improvement in some types of epilepsy. These split-brain individuals, however, must contend with such bizarre situations as not being able to verbally identify objects seen or felt by the left eye and hand, even though they know what the objects are.

Such situations merely confirm the orthodox view of the brain. But when half of the brain is completely removed, the conventional picture of the brain is upset. In one case, a woman with partial paralysis and frequent epileptic seizures had the left side of her brain removed. Her seizures and paralysis disappeared permanently; even more, her personality improved markedly. The half of the brain that remained assumed all brain functions and performed them better than the complete brain had. Conclusion: each half of the human brain has the intrinsic capability of operating as a whole brain despite the usual specialization of the halves.

(Gooch, Stan; "Right Brain, Left Brain," New Scientist, 87:790, 1980.)

Two halves of the brain connected by the corpus callosum

From Science Frontiers #13, Winter 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987