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Is This A Real Study?


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I was watching some video on YouTube that had to do with religion and science. The first part was Sam Harris talking about stem cell research and souls. The second part was about this study that some guy named Vilayanur S. Ramachandran did on people with malfunctions of the corpus callosum. They found out that one hemisphere of the brain had a different personality than the other, and they even found out that one hemisphere of the brain believed in god and the other didn't. I looked around but I haven't found any articles pertaining to this study and I'm wondering if it's a real study. Has anyone else heard of it?

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Don't know if I've stumbled upon any sort of exact hit here, and I haven't checked these carefully, but it certainly seems like V. S. Ramachandran actively involves himself in these sorts of studies, and whether or not any of these contain or link to the exact study you're looking for, I expect that he probably did conduct said study (I'm thinking the third probably has it somewhere--it looks like a comprehensive list of Ramachandran' publications)

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6173066/Mirror-N...by-Ramachandran

 

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/ramachandr...an06_index.html

 

http://cbc.ucsd.edu/ramapubs.html

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Thanks for the links. It seemed like the guy himself was the real deal, but I couldn't find any articles or anything on the study when I looked it up on Google. He did say in the YT video that xians pretty much ignored the study, so maybe that's why it didn't get a lot of press.

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I was watching some video on YouTube that had to do with religion and science. The first part was Sam Harris talking about stem cell research and souls. The second part was about this study that some guy named Vilayanur S. Ramachandran did on people with malfunctions of the corpus callosum. They found out that one hemisphere of the brain had a different personality than the other, and they even found out that one hemisphere of the brain believed in god and the other didn't. I looked around but I haven't found any articles pertaining to this study and I'm wondering if it's a real study. Has anyone else heard of it?

 

I haven't seen any of the things you're talking about. I know about Sam Harris but not these particular articles. However, I know enough about the two hemispheres of the brain to believe that, crudely put, they each have their own personality and that one "believes in God" and the other doesn't. As stated, that is putting it very crudely.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a scientist or neurologist or any sort. The closest I come is having an intense interest in what makes us feel the way we do. This includes personality types and basic differences in the ways we see the world. Ways of seeing the world brings us into "thought structures," which is mighty close to the world of psychology and neurology. There is overlap but not enough for me to have done any formal study.

 

With the disclaimer out of the way, let's begin. One hemisphere is a facts and details "person" and the other is a big picture "person" who is into "art and harmony" kind of things. So your facts and details person might be an accountant, the sort of person who can make cold-blooded decisions because they make sense or because they need to be made. The "arts and harmony" person might be the kind of person who knows just the thing to do or say to keep everyone happy and things running smoothly no matter what the situation or how complex the problem.

 

The facts and details person might also be the one who can take a machine apart and put it back together again and have no pieces left over, and also have everything working smoothly when the rubber hits the road. The arts and harmony person might also be the one who can look at the universe and paint a picture or write a poem or preach a sermon on the feelings evoked by the awe of the vastness of the universe. People familiar with Myers-Briggs Personality Type will see where I'm coming from.

 

That's a few examples of the basic differences between the two "personalities." I no longer know where the story is but I once saw a personal account of a scientist who studied some part of the brain. This scientist had a stroke, or aneurysm or something terrible that put her out of commission for a long time. She writes about her experience of the "other" hemisphere. The facts and details part of her brain still worked well enough part of the time for her to realize that she desperately needed help, and to tell her how to get help. But for entire chunks of time, this part of her brain zoned out and she was in a kind of nirvana or heaven. It was actually really pleasant there and no one "in their right mind" would have wished to leave.

 

I'm not sure how many hours she struggled to get to the telephone in the office in her apartment, and to dial for help once she got in a position where she was able to dial. Not all of her limbs were cooperating. If I remember correctly, she used the arm that still worked to place the paralyzed arm on the telephone book to hold it open at the right page so she could dial during her lucid moments. She was unable to speak clearly when she finally contacted colleagues. Understandably, once she made contact and they heard her unintelligible grumble, no time was wasted in getting to her apartment. She had been missed at work.

 

Maybe someone remembers the story and can link it. I think she wrote it about ten years after it happened. It seemed she was changed because of the experience.

 

All humans use both hemispheres of their brain but it seems some might favour one or the other. I don't know if this is a proven fact or just a theory that scientists are working with. I think it makes a great deal of sense, given that some people are naturally much stronger on facts and details, while others are much stronger in working with people. But there is much overlap because medicine and hospitality use many facts and details in the service of human comfort and well-being. Also, as individuals move up through the ranks, their positions can shift across a lifetime from working alone in a lab to overseeing a department. Yet normally, we get only one brain no matter what life hands us or how long we live.

 

Now the imaginative hemisphere of my brain kicks in. It suggests that we have a very complex social system. It matches "very complex social system" with "very complex two-hemisphere human brain." Oops! now my facts and details hemisphere kicks in, too; it suggests: This being the case, it makes a great deal of sense that nature naturally selected for these two hemispheres to evolve with very different personalities in order to cope effectively with vastly different life situations. However, it warns that, while all the parts fit based on the information it has, it has very limited information.

 

That's my thoughts for what they're worth and they're put together somewhat creatively for better or for worse. Hopefully someone will find more reliable information.

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This seems vaguely familiar, but I'm not sure why. If anyone has done this study it is Ramachandran. It wouldn't surprise me if this was true, but I would be surprised if it was the rule and not just an anecdote.

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