Michael Gazzaniga Quotes
4 Sourced Quotes
The next phase of the work was when Joseph LeDoux and I came up with the idea of the interpreter. Twenty-five years into studying these patients we finally got around to asking the patients, "Why did you do that?" after they had a response with the left hand that was being governed by the separated, silent, speechless right hemisphere. We began to understand that the left hemisphere "made up" a story as to why the patient did what he/she did, and in that moment we began to see the cardinal feature of the left hemisphere: the ability to interpret actions generated outside its realm of conscious awareness.
There was another major phase of split-brain research where we studied the patients as a way of getting at the other questions very much alive in neuroscience, everything from questions about visual midline overlap to spatial attention and resource allocations. At this point the split-brain patients provided a way of examining cortical-subcortical relationships, and other matters.
The tension felt in the modern world between those who look at the confluence of neuroscientific data, historical data, and other information illuminating our past and those who simply accept received wisdom as their guide in life is real and profound. Yet it may not be as divisive as one would think. It appears that all of us share the same moral networks and systems, and we all respond in similar ways to similar issues. The only thing different, then, is not our behavior but our theories about why we respond the way we do. It seems to me that understanding that our theories are the source of all our conflicts would go a long way in helping people with different belief systems to get along.