In 1968 the neuropsychologist conducted a study into split brain patients while working at the California Institute of Technology. Previously he had carried out research similar to this, in the1950s, splitting the brains of cats and monkeys. It was during this research that he realise3d that you could teach one of the hemispheres a task, while keeping the other hemisphere unaware of the information learned. This discovery supported the idea that the brain consisted of two independent pieces as opposed to one unified brain. The importance of this work was appreciated when he won a Nobel Prize in 1981. This study was performed to further this research that he had carried out, this time, on humans. The brain splitting operation was not simply done for the study, as this would have been unethical, participants had had their brains split un an attempt to stop epileptic fits in epileptics. The operation used on the epileptics was called a commisurotomy, where all the bundles of nerves connecting the two halves (hemispheres) of the brain are cut, even the less major ones.
Sperry's aim with this study was to investigate the effects of isolating the two hemispheres from each other, and to show that the hemispheres have different functions. Sperry wanted to map lateralisation of the brain and show that information in one side of the brain is not available to the other side.
This study comes under the Physiological approach (or the Bio-Psychological approach). This approach uses biology and psychology to explain various behaviours. It involves studying the nerves and chemicals in the body, especially the brain. The physiological approach's development is closely linked to the development of new technologies for observing and measuring the body. Although it isn't really a school of psychology as such, it has a strong tendency towards the reductionist approach, 'Reducing' behaviour to its