One Brain or Two?
There are two halves to the human brain, called hemispheres. The left side of the brain controls the right side of your body, and the right side controls the left side of your body. The left side of the brain also has the control of the ability to speak and communicate using language. The right side has more artistic abilities, such as spatial relationships. Some people believe that the halves may be two completely different mental systems. The two halves of the brain are connected by the corpus callosum; a structure of about two hundred million nerve fibers called. If the corpus callosum is cut then the two halves of the brain have no way of communication, and must operate independently.
The first psychologist researching this idea was Roger Sperry. He made many discoveries using animals as the subjects. Researchers developed three different types of tests to study how the brain works when separated. One of the tests examines visual abilities. Another test was designed for tactile stimulation or touch. The third test was used to test your auditory abilities, or hearing. These various forms of tests were performed on patients after performing surgery of clipping the corpus callsumi. The patients’ intelligence and emotions seemed the same, however when testing began they showed unusual behavior. One of the tests for the visual abilities was to have the patient sit in front of a row of lights. They were asked to look at the center light while the lights flashed on both sides. The patients said they only saw the right side light up. Then when the scientists had them take the test again, and this time asked them to point to the side at which the lights were flashing. The patient responded with pointing at both. This test helped to discover the center for speech is in the left hemisphere of the brain. The information of the flashing lights was sent to both sides of the brain from the eyes. Because the patients first said they only saw the right side, means they were using the left side of their brain. To test tactile abilities they would have a patient put their hands behind their back. When something was placed in the right hand it was easily recognizable. Yet, if it was placed in the left hand, they could not indentify the object. This concluded that the left side of the brain controls tactile abilities. Similar tests were created to test the auditory abilities. Patients were asked to reach into a bag and to pull out certain object. When the patients did so with the left hand, they had no problem. All the research provided, concluded that each brain consisted of two sections working together as one.
To Sleep, No Doubt to Dream…
Everybody dreams but when at night do we dream? Studies conducted by Eugene Aserinsky, showed us that dreaming takes place during a stage that reoccurs throughout a night, called REM. He discovered that during REM your eyes move rapidly and you become very still. There are four different stages of sleep. Stage one is the lightest sleep and stage four is the deepest. REM takes place in stage four. Once you reach the fourth stage of sleep, your sleep starts to lighten again until it reaches one stage one. The stages from four back to one are considered NREM, also known as non-rapid eye movement. Your body cycles between NREM and REM about five or six times a night.
William Dement also made many discoveries after the findings of Aserinsky. Dement performed an experiment to see what would happen if the body did not go through the REM stage. On average a person gets eighty minutes of REM sleep every night. During Dement’s test, he monitored seven subjects of their sleep and dream time. After each time a subject went into the REM period, they were awoken and kept awake for a few minutes. Afterwards the subjects were deprived of REM and needed one hundred and twelve minutes. This continued for a few days. In almost all of the final results it showed that if you lack REM sleep...
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