Intelligent Design Mind

How can people think and speak with only half a brain?

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Clearly, the brain is not at all like a machine:

A study of six adults who each had half of their brain removed or partially removed as children is helping us understand how they retain language and thinking skills. This radical surgery (hemispherectomy) is done when epileptic seizures have severely damaged one lobe of the brain. Sensory, motor, or language deficits sometimes follow but many patients retain normal functions with only half a brain…

In fact, as the open-access paper reports, the six people with up to half their brain removed (see Figure 1 from the paper, right) had stronger connections than the six with whole brains.

Some people think and speak with only half a brain” at Mind Matters News

Of course, when a person suffers from serious epilepsy, the usable half of the brain may have been doing most of the work for years anyway, one researcher suggests. If so, it was inured to functioning largely alone and the removal of the epileptic half was not a huge loss for the functioning half.

This level of neuroplasticity is a relatively new discovery; people used to think the brain was much more static than it seems to be.

Lots of further info on epilepsy and theories of mind.


Further reading:

Does brain stimulation research challenge free will? If we can be forced to want something, is the will still free?

and

A short argument against the materialist account of the mind (Jay Richards)

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5 Replies to “How can people think and speak with only half a brain?

  1. 1
    ET says:

    Ask Ed George. He has first-hand experience with that very scenario.

  2. 2
    PeterA says:

    How Did Beethoven Compose His 9th Symphony After He Went Completely Deaf?

    http://www.openculture.com/201.....-deaf.html

    In any case, no amount of rational explanation can explain away our astonishment that the man who wrote the unfailingly powerful, awesomely dynamic “Ode to Joy” finale (conducted above by Leonard Bernstein), couldn’t actually hear any of the music.

  3. 3
    PeterA says:

    So if Beethoven was completely deaf, how did he compose?

    https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/guides/deaf-hearing-loss-composing/

    If he couldn’t hear, how did he write music?

    Beethoven had heard and played music for the first three decades of his life, so he knew how instruments and voices sounded and how they worked together. His deafness was a slow deterioration, rather than a sudden loss of hearing, so he could always imagine in his mind what his compositions would sound like.

    . In his early works, when Beethoven could hear the full range of frequencies, he made use of higher notes in his compositions. As his hearing failed, he began to use the lower notes that he could hear more clearly. Works including the Moonlight Sonata, his only opera Fidelio and six symphonies were written during this period. The high notes returned to his compositions towards the end of his life which suggests he was hearing the works take shape in his imagination.

  4. 4
    PeterA says:

    What does this mean ? How could this happen?

    “The high notes returned to his compositions towards the end of his life which suggests he was hearing the works take shape in his imagination.”

    “he was hearing the works take shape in his imagination”?

    “his imagination”?

    Huh? Musical composition done in his imagination?

    Can somebody explain ?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    PA, there are people who can simply sight read a composition of music and hear it in their minds with perfect pitch, in instrumental voices etc; making an aural “image” even as many of us can create visual images in our minds, having a 3-d internal viewscreen so to speak. The most famous case is Tesla, who was able to create an new electrical machine, run it in his head for weeks, then disassemble it and inspect for wear. I recall seeing the very first motor of a class which he invented and could not but observe that this was no mere rough prototype. Beethoven in his deaf condition, clearly was using a similar ability but with sounds and instruments. KF

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