Models of mind and the double brain: Some historical and contemporary reflections

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This article was downloaded by: [Johann Christian Senckenberg]On: 08 September 2014, At: 11:33Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UKCognitive NeuropsychologyPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information: of mind and the double brain:Some historical and contemporaryreflectionsAnne Harrington aa Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine , London, U.K.Published online: 16 Aug 2007.To cite this article: Anne Harrington (1986) Models of mind and the double brain: Some historical andcontemporary reflections, Cognitive Neuropsychology, 3:4, 411-427, DOI: 10.1080/02643298608252029To link to this article: SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. 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Terms &Conditions of access and use can be found at NEUROPSYCHOLOGY, 1986 3 (4) 411-427 Models of Mind and the Double Brain: Some Historical and Contemporary Reflections Anne Harrington Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, U. K . An essay review of A New View of Insanity: The Duality of the Mind, & c., by A.L. Wigan, orginally published London, 1844. Reprint edition by J. E. Bogen and J. Simon, with a foreword by J. Bogen. Malibu, California: Joseph Simon Publisher, 1985, $30. When Arthur Ladbroke Wigans magnum opus, The duality of the mind, was first issued in 1844, press notice was mixed. The phrenologists granted the authors essential proposition that the human brain consisted of two functionally distinct halves-with each hemisphere capable of serving as an independent organ of the mind-but they pointed out sharply that such an idea went back to the very foundation of phrenology and had no novelty whatsoever (Dr. Wigan, etc. 1845). Indeed, Wigans insistence upon the pioneering nature and epic-making importances of his achievement (tan- tamount, he said, to Harveys discovery of the circulation of the blood) would inspire one reviewer, the phrenologist John Elliotson, to produce what must stand in the medical literature as a minor masterpiece of invective: The inordinated love of fame, like many weaknesses . . . serves a most useful purpose to defective or ill trained persons, like crutches and sticks to the lame. But the high human being will not require these miserable aids to enquiry and virtue, he will pursue truth for its own glorious sake. ...[ Men like Wigan] do things continually and shamelessly which astonish and disgust those who are good in spirit and in truth, and would cause Christ to exclaim again that in spirit be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorroh, & c-strong expressions, but not too strong for detestation of inconsistency and hypocrisy (Elliotson, 1847,226225). In addition to challenging Wigans extravagant claims to originality, there was a general feeling among reviewers that the author of Duality of mind had-as the London physician, Sir Henry Holland (1852) would later put Requests for reprints should be made to Anne Harrington, The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 183 Euston Road, London NWl2BP, England. Preparation of this essay was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. @ 1986 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Limited Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 41 2 HARRINGTON it-pushed speculation beyond the closest inductions from such observa- tions. Elliotson spitefully pointed out (1847,233) that if to do two things at once, a person requires two brains, he ought to require several brains when he does several things at once, and a countryman walking the streets of London, using his stick, talking, hearing and staring, as he proceeds, could not dispense with fewer than five. The Journal of Psychological Medicine called the inquiry novel but cautioned that it was as yet, sub judice (New view of insanity, etc. 1848, 30). Even Wigans great friend and admirer, Forbes Winslow, had to concede that occasionally Wigan allowed his originality to overstep the bounds of prudence so that at times he appeared as the advocate of a paradox (Winslow, 1849,498). Yet Winslow was also deeply concerned that the fair sprinkling of fallacies in Duality ofmindshould not be allowed to obscure the beauties, the great truths the book propounded. After all, he said defensively, is it not the peculiar province of genius to be erratic? Dr. Wigan must not be the exception to the general rule. And perhaps recalling that few great men are ever fully appreciated in their own time, Winslow speculated that genera- tions may roll away ere a just appreciation will be made of the suggestions contained in [Wigans] celebrated treatise on the Duality of the Mind (Winslow, 1849,497). The generations have rolled away and now, almost a century and a half after Duality of mind first saw the light of public scrutiny, an elegant new edition of Wigans celebrated treatise has been issued by the publisher Joseph Simon. It includes a foreword by Joseph Bogen, the neurosurgeon whose dramatic split-brain operations in the 1960s led Roger Sperry and his students (at Bogens invitation) to gather the still more dramatic (and, by In reviewing an earlier draft of this paper, John Marshall tried to convince me that, in spite of Elliotsons sarcasm here, the phrenologists themselves really f e l t -no less than Wigan-that several brains were required to do several things at once. Indeed, as Marshall sees it, the phrenologists posited the existence of dozens of individual little brains, each with its own dis- tinct cognitive office. While I take Marshalls point, I nevertheless think that to call each of the phrenological organs an independent brain does a disservice to the actual teachings of Gall. To the best of my knowledge, Gall never suggested that an isolated mental faculty (tone, language, philoprogenitiveness) was tantamount to a Mind (with all the volition, personal- ity, and consciousness this idea implied in 19thxentury thought); nor did he ever say that an isolated cerebral centre or organ could properly be considered a brain. (The fact that such phrenological detractors as Flourens sometimes suggested otherwise is irrelevant here.) That Gall personally distinguished between the brain on the one hand, and its constituent organs on the other, is clearly shown by the fact that, when speaking of this structure in general terms, he actually called it a double organ. All of the brains integrant parts, he taught, existed in symmetrical duplicate, with corresponding pairs localised in corresponding parts of the two hemispheres (see Gall, 1822, in Dr. Wigan,, etc., 1845 [in passage cited, italics added]). In light of this, one can understand why the phrenologists were rather annoyed by Wigans claim in Duality of mind to have made an unprecedented conceptual breakthrough. Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 413 now, well-known) evidence for a type of duality of mind in the commis- surotomised human brain (Sperry , 1968; Gazzaniga, 1970; Levy, Travarthen, & Sperry, 1972). Bogens own relationship with Wigan dates back to these early heady years when, in an article that has since become a classic of the split-brain literature, he christened his own interpretation of the split-brain data neowiganism (Bogen, 1969a). If anyone, then, deserves to stand as the representative of a generation that has finally justly appreciated the suggestions contained in Wigans treatise, it is Bogen. His active role in bringing about this new edition of his old friends work has clearly been a labour of love. At the same time, it would be unfair to leave the impression that earlier generations failed wholly to give Wigan his due. It is simply not the case, as Bogen affirms, that Wigans opinions and even the fact of his existence were almost wholly forgotten in the decades immediately after he wrote. In fact, Wigans work was familiar during the second half of the 19th century, not only to Henry Maudsley (to whom Bogen refers) but also to such prom- inent figures in the history of neurology and psychiatry as Wilhelm Greisinger, Pierre Janet, Valentin Magnan, Theodule Ribot, William Alexander Hammond, W. R. Gowers, Charles-Edouard Brown-SCquard, Frederic Myers, and William James-not to mention a host of currently more obscure individuals. Indeed, a certain group of late 19th-century French medical researchers interested in the problem of hemisphere functional independence virtually turned this self-important English physi- cian into an historical mascot (see Harrington, 1985, Note 1). The two-brain view, then, did not sink into obscurity after Wigan, eclipsed (as Bogen suggests) by the rise of the concept of left cerebral dominance. Quite the contrary: Brocas discovery of the left-sided localisa- tion of articulate language was widely hailed as a powerful new piece of evidence in favour of the idea that the brains two hemispheres could function independently at the highest cognitive levels. One does not see a marked decline of interest in the theoretical and clinical implicatons of brain-duality until the turn of the century. And the most plausible explana- tion for such a decline at this time embraces a wide range of mutually inten- sifying social and intellectual developments, from the rise of Freudianism to the outbreak of the First World War. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that Bogen is right to stress the prom- inence of Wigans place in 19th-century thought on the double brain. It should be said, though, that, in reissuing Dualityofmindat this time, he and Simon do not seem to be been interested primarily in the value of Wigans tome as primary source in the history of ideas. This is evidenced by the con- scious decision to forego all exegesis and explanatory footnotes. The chief aim of the publishing venture, rather, was to make this old, rare volume more accessible to psychologists and neurologists concerned with the prob- Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 414 HARRINGTON lem of the double brain in its modern-day form. Fair enough. Nevertheless it may be worth observing that as a window into the social milieu and mental- ity of an earlier era, Duality of mind can also be quite rewarding, and deserves to be better-known among historians of neurology and psychiatry. From an historical point of view, we can help our understanding of the text by realising that Wigan lived and worked during a time in English social history when the medical professions newly-won (and still fragile) monopoly over the jurisdiction of the insane was being threatened by the rise of a new non-medical perspective on insanity. This alternative perspec- tive was inclined to see madness less as a somatic complaint (having its source in some brain dysfunction) than as a moral defect, caused by a lack of self-restraint and discipline. According to this view, insanity could be con- trolled and even cured, not through blisters, baths, and bleeding (as supposed by the medical men), but through firm yet kindly treatment and especially through the inculcation of habits of self-control. As the argument began to be made with increasing force and frequency that very little dependence is to be placed on medicine alone for the cure of insanity, doc- tors found that they could no longer simply ignore or depreciate this so- called moral treatment. They were forced, rather, to assimilate the new therapeutic ideas into their old naturalistic paradigm of madness as disease. They could not abandon the paradigm itself since it functioned as the intel- lectual rationale for their claims to special competence in the treatment and management of the insane (Scull, 1979,141-143). The historian William Bynum has pointed out that some British physi- cians became reconciled to the rather paradoxical idea that psychological methods could be used to treat physical disease by neglecting to examine the issues very closely and merely accepting moral therapy on a pragmatic basis. For a number of medical men, however, a more positive rationale was also available. This was Galls phrenology. The phrenological conception of mental faculties served by discrete organs of the brain circumvented at least some of the dilemmas raised by traditional Cartesianism, and permittted mad-doctors to refer simultaneously to an experienced mental state and its supposed underlying cerebral substrate. For medical men operating within a broadly phrenological framework, then, the effectiveness of moral therapy While I do not doubt that original copies of Duality of mind are scarce, I was puzzled by Bogens claim that he was unable discover copies of the book in any library other than Cambridge University and the U S . National Library of Medicine. In using the book for my own research purposes, I had relatively little trouble getting access to it, and am personally aware of the existence of copies at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the British Museum Library, the London Royal Society of Medicine Library, the Paris Bibliotheque Nationale, the library at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, and the Harvard University (Countway) Medical School Library (where I simply took it off the open shelf). Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 41 5 could consequently be explained both in lay terms, according to psycho- logical benefit , and medically , in terms of development and atrophy of different areas of the brain (Bynum, 1981,51-53; see also Cooter, 1981). Few, if any, historians of psychiatry have noticed that Wigans Duality of mind offered physicians an alternative-and far more ingenious-neurolog- ical framework for explaining the efficacy of a moral approach to the preven- tion and treatment of insanity. Because disease and injury rarely struck both hemispheres of the brain with equal severity at the same time, Wigan claimed that the individual who was taught the art of discipline and self- control would find himself capable of overriding or inhibiting the deranged thoughts being produced by his diseased hemisphere, by using his other, healthy hemisphere. Properly cultivated, in other words, it was possible for each brain half to act as a sentinel and security for the other, steadying its fellow in health, and intervening to correct the erroneous judgments of its fellow when disordered. Signficantly, Wigan tells us that although he had been mulling over the problem of mans double brain for some 25 years, he only finally felt compel- led to put pen to paper and produce his masterwork after reading the Rev- erend John Barlows well-known 1843 tract, Mans power over himself to prevent or control insanity. That acute and able writer, Wigan declared, had come so near the truth, that to use the childrens phrase, he burns .. . (Wigan 1844,9). Barlow had argued that insanity could be prevented or con- trolled because human beings possessed a peculiar force that was capable of taking command of the cerebral functions and, in this way, of assuming control over the greater part of the bodily functions. We find, therefore, he concludes, . . . two forces in activity together, . . . the VITAL FORCE by virtue of which [man] . . . is an animal-and the INTELLECTUAL FORCE by virtue of which he is something more (Barlow, 1843). Although Wigan believed that Barlows intuition that individuals could subdue their own morbid impulses was absolutely on the mark, he also felt that the reverend was unable to give his theory any scientific certitude. This was because he had no inkling-in Wigans view-of the true anatomical basis underlying the human capacity of self-control. What Barlow really meant by mans power over himself to prevent or control insanity (admit- tedly, without knowing that this was what he really meant) was the command of one brain over the other (Wigan, 1844,29). The educational implications of all this were far-reaching. Human unity of thought and conscience, which Descartes had seen as an essential attribute of the immortal soul, had now been shown by physiology to be contingent upon the synchronous action of the two brains. Synchrony of action, how- ever, was neither innate nor inevitable. Every human being was born a dou- ble animal, . . . made up of two complete and perfect halves, and [with] . . . Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 41 6 HARRINGTON no more central and common machinery . . . than is just sufficient to unite the two into one sentient being.. . (Wigan, 1844,117). The ability to work ones two cerebral hemispheres in harmony was an acquired skill, made more tax- ing still by the fact that the two brains were slightly unequal in form and power, like two horses of unequal size and gait pulling a single wagon (. . . there must necessarily be a variation, however slight, between the energies of the two halves of the body, formed as they are separately, and only gradually united [p. 1161). The object and effect of a well-managed education, then, was . . . to establish and confirm the power of concentrating the energies of both brains on the same subject at the same time; that is to make both cerebra carry on the same train of thought together, as the object of moral discipline is to strengthen the power of self-control; not merely the power of both intellectual organs to govern the animal propensities and passions, but [the power of con- trolling] the intellectual antagonism of the two brains ... (p. 23). If this duty be neglected, Wigan warned darkly, or if the discipline be defective or erroneous, the animal grows up into the most detestable combi- nation of intelligence and physical force that infests the earth (p. 38). Wigan realised that some of his readers would think it rather hard luck that perfect synchronous action between two imperfectly symmetrical brain halves should be so problematic. He pointed out, though, that were it not so, then moral freedom to do or to abstain would be impossible. If the two brains were exactly equal in form, energy, and function, must not the individuals always act alike from inevitable instinct? If so, the present scheme of society would be at an end (p. 119). Then, in one of the more dramatic passages of the book, Wigan went so far as to propose that God had endowed man with a dual rather than a single organ of thought for the spe- cific purpose of making him a free, moral agent. In making us, up to a certain point, absolutely parallel to the animals he has subjected to our dominion, [God] has bestowed on us all their impulses; but he has given us also an organization vastly beyond this-an apparatus to enable the soul to manifest its sublime powers.. .. But what shall control the controller? quis custodiet ipsos custodes? . . . For this important purpose . . . I conceive that two brains were bestowed- two perfect organs of thought and volition-each, so to speak, a sentinel and a check on the other ... The two brains have a subordinate object, no doubt-to provide for the continued exercise of the intellectual faculties when one of them shall be injured or destroyed by disease; but when this is the case the mutilated and helpless victim can scarcely be any longer consi- dered a responsible being-he is reduced to mere animal existence- . . . he is incapable of sin, or he is mad-consequently, no longer a moral and responsible agent (Wigan, 1844,297-298). Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 41 7 Since the inception of phrenology at the beginning of the 19th century, Gall and his followers had been variously declared guilty of undermining the unity of the soul, human immortality, free will, and the very existence of God. Wigan was well aware that, with his doctrine of mental duality and his neurologised explanation for free will, he was treading on equally thin ice. He thus made a strong effort to dissociate both himself and his theory from the ugly and immoral doctrines of materialism and atheism. There is no class of society more essentially devout than the investigators of nature in the medical profession, he affirmed stoutly, and it is not likely that any other class will claim a superiority over them in moral conduct (p. 26). It was true, he conceded, that Dualityofmindargued that the mindof man was dual no less than his brain, but this argument had nothing to do with the soul, about which mankind could know nothing save through revelation. And in a semantically slippery passage, Wigan declared: It seems to me that the use of these two words [Mind and Soul] as convertible terms, is a serious obstacle to the freedom of investigation of the mental phenomena, and is at the root of all the difficulties which occur in the discus- sion of the intellectual faculties. When I speak to of the Mind, then, I wish to be understood to signify the aggre- gate of the mental powers and faculties, whether exercised by one brain or two; and when I have occasion to allude to the GREAT, IMMORTAL, IMMATERIAL PRINCIPLE, connected for a time with the material world by means of our physical organisation-I shall call it by its proper name, THE SOUL(p.6). Wigans protestations of piety here and elsewhere become rather more suspect in light of a poorly-concealed anti-clerical bias running throughout both Duality of mind and a number of Wigans unpublished papers (see Winslow, 1849). He was fond, for example, of calling attention- obliquely-to the dogmatism of the clergymen in his time, their tendency to oppose themselves to any developments in science which represented an apparent attack on the system it [was] the object of their lives to explain and defend. Not realising that the works of God can never be really opposed to the word of God, all too many men of the cloth pursued intellectual inquiry with . . . the precaution of party politicians, who hardly dare to give utterance to that which they know to be true, till they have ascertained whether it be likely to benefit or injury THE CAUSE (pp. 10-12). The truly spiritual individual, however, did not shrink before the mysteries of Gods creation. One is led inexorably to suppose that to the extent that the theologians might object to Wigans discovery of mental duality, so much did they unwittingly reveal their unworthiness for the high moral office with which society had entrusted them. Even worse (in Wigans eyes), the Churchs positive failure to recognise CN 3:4-~ Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 41 8 HARRINGTON that most forms of insanity resulted from discordant action between the two brains (making insanity a medical problem) had immediate social and ethical consequences-since it had led to the unenlightened and dangerous counter-argument that the main cause of mental illness was sin (an idea which obviously made insanity a religious problem). Wigan focussed particular attention on the doctrines of Johann August Heinroth (1773- 1843) who had indeed taught that the main cause of mental illness was sin. Yet, in contrast to Wigan, historian Henri Ellenberger has judged this man neither unenlightened nor dangerous. Quite the contrary; to Ellenbergers mind . . . it would suffice to replace the term sin by that of guilt feelings to make him appear almost contemporary. Heinroth was a learned man, a foremost clinician, and the author of a complete theory of the human mind in health and disease . . . [Tlhe reader marvels at the modern character of many of [his] . . . concepts (Ellenberger, 1970,112). Silent on the possibility of any feelings of professional rivalry, Wigan denounced the Heinroth approach to mental illness as a theological monstrosity which caused the unhappy lunatic and his family no end of guilt and suffering. Confused by the mixture of insanity and reason in some of these unhappy beings, instead of seeing different and contradictory states of two minds, two organs of thought, he thinks the opposition to be between the natural mind of man and the spirit of evil. It is a horrible doctrine . . . on which I cannot write or even think with calmness, when reflecting on the atrocities which I have myself witnessed at the beginning of the present century (in Winslow, 1849,504-505). If science and medicine today no longer enjoy quite the moral highground which men like Wigan were claiming for them in the mid-19th century, it is nevertheless no less true that the double brain is still used in our time as a framework for moral and political dialogue. We have seen, for example, that the double brain allowed Wigan to defend the apparently paradoxical idea that insanity was a medical problem with a moral solution. In our own time, the double brain has rather similarly been transformed by some of the more zealous into a vehicle for defending the apparently paradoxical idea that arguments for irrationalism, anti-scientism, and Aquarian Age values are more convincing when buttressed with data from the neurosciences. Current concern with liberating the right brain is perhaps the most striking manifestation of this trend. Just as Wigan felt that the Reverend Barlows arguments ultimately fell short of being convincing because they were not grounded in neurological truth, so a number of people today seem to believe that with the alleged localisation of holistic, mystical, and intuitive patterns Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 419 of cognition in the right side of the brain, the virtues of such formerly suspect ways of thinking have somehow been empirically validated, scientifically sanctified. The education implications of the discovery of brain-duality are still being vigorously discussed. Bogen, for example-who believes, with Wigan, that the brain and mind of man is dual-is a zealous proponent of pedagogical programmes designed to develop the cognitive capacities of both our left andour right minds. On theological fronts, such men as Sir John Eccles have clearly indicated their religious disconcertion with the dual mind argu- ment, unconvinced by Bogens adoption of Wigans claim that these issues are concerned with mind and pose no threat to the soul. In Bogens words: . . . the hypothesis advanced here does not concern the Soul (Anima). The Soul is indeed the proper concern and authority of the theologian. . . .[W]e are con- cerned here with the Mind, an entity created in their own subjective image by certain pre-Christian philosophers of the ancient world (Plato, Cicero) and concretized by the mathematician (Descartes) long before the availability of physiological or even any precise anatomical knowledge of the brain (Bogen, 1969a, 118). It is not my main purpose, though, to draw potentially misleading analogies between certain wider issues and debates in Wigans time, and the socio-cultural context which informs present-day theory and speculation on the double brain. In any event, it is likely that most readers of this review will be chiefly interested in the significance of Duality of mind, not as a moral and educational treatise, but as an enduring work of neurology and psychol- ogy. Without pretending that a figure such as Wigan can be wholly divorced from his unique historical setting, one can still legitimately ask: how much bearing do Wigans insights and concerns have on modern debates about mental duality in relation to the double brain? How seriously are we meant to take Bogens description of Wigan as a man whose prophetic vision was over 100 years ahead of the evidence which has ultimately sustained him? (in Wigan, 1844, xv). Before we attempt to respond to these questions, a caveat is in order. There is considerable precedent in the history of neurology and psychology (let alone the general history of science) for perceiving certain historical figures as prophets. The 19th-century neurologist Hughlings Jackson is so well known today in no small part because some 50 years after his heyday Henry Head would promote him as a pioneer whose vision of the nervous system anticipated just the sorts of holistic concepts to which Head himself was committed (Head, 1926). In the 1960s, Norman Geschwinds personal neolocalisationist leanings led him to resurrect and speak strongly out in praise of Carl Wernickes then unjustly neglected anatomic-associationist model of higher brain functioning (Geschwind, 1974). More recently, the Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 420 HARRINGTON philosopher and psychologist Jerry Fodor , advocating a neo-faculty or modular approach to human cognition, has called fresh attention to Franz Joseph Galls work as one of the great historical contributions to the development of theoretical psychology (Marshall, 1984,214-216). Now there is nothing wrong with scientists finding inspiration in the past, nothing wrong with hands reaching back across the generations to grip the ghostly fingers of spiritual comrades-in-arms. The danger arises only when one fails to recognise the highly subjectivist and personal nature of this enterprise; when hagiography is confused with history-writing proper. Such confusion can lead to the complacent view that certain historical figures are important in the history of science because they were right; that is, because they seemed to anticipate certain points of view that happen in the 1980s to seem compelling within certain scientific quarters. Buried perni- ciously within such a view is the unspoken (and often unexamined) assump- tion that the history of science contains within it progressive forces that com- pel it inexorably onwards and upwards in a necessary direction, and that the present-simply because it is the present-represents a superior vantage point from which various historical actors can be judged people of prophe- tic vision or people of obtusity, heroes or villains. (Note that this argument does not preclude the possibility of a certain non-necessary progressive- ness in science; one due to the fact that scientists can and do critically examine different theories and their alternatives, and choose between them according to various operational definitions of progress, such as increased capacity for prediction.) Let us, then, retain scare marks around any talk of Wigan as a prophet, and keep our moral in mind. At the same time, let us reaffirm that a 20th- century brain scientist is still perfectly entitled to inquire critically into the scientific and medical content of Wigans work, and to judge it by the stan- dards of present-day neurology and cognitive psychology. He may even, if he chooses, compare and contrast this work with present-day thought on the double brain. The past, after all, is an open country that tolerates all sorts of visitors. It objects only if its guests misrepresent their business. Our 20th-century brain scientist might, for example, want to note that Wigan began with a simple and potentially verifiable assertion; namely that one cerebrum [hemisphere] may be destroyed, yet the mind remain entire. In the more modern clinical and experimental literature, this is a proposition that has received some (though not unequivocable) support. Included among Wigans own evidence for this claim was the conclusive case of a man of family and independence who contracted a disease that spread into the cerebrum and ultimately took his life. On examining the skull, one brain was entirely destroyed-gone, annihi- lated-and in its place (in the narrators emphatic language) a yawning Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 421 chasm. All his mental faculties were apparently quite perfect [and] ... his mind was clear and undisturbed to within a few hours of his death. He had a perfect idea of his own awful situation, and . . . would not even permit his own sister or other relatives to witness his frightful condition (pp. 32-33). The side of the brain that was destroyed in this case was not mentioned, and indeed would not have been judged by Wigan to have been particularly relevant. Wigans purpose in recounting cases of unilateral cerebral damage was not to involve himself in clinical niceties, but to establish an empirical base for the further (and logically much more tenuous) claim that, if one hemisphere could be destroyed, yet the mind remain (apparently) whole and unafflicted, then the fact that we had two hemispheres must mean that we each had two minds. From this root springs the whole theory which I am now endeavouring to illustrate, Wigan declared (p. 32). Wigan held, in other words, that double consciousness was built into the essential blueprint of normal human neuropsychological functioning. This is a position that has been defended in more modern times by Bogen (1969a) and Puccetti (1981), but is far from being generally accepted among split- brain and cerebral laterality researchers. In its updated version, the case for mental duality in the intact brain holds that callosal sectioning does not split the mind in two, de novo, but simply serves to unmask a pre-existing duality. The corpus callosum, then, does not act to unify consciousness and cognition between the two hemispheres, as the majority of split-brain researchers, including Sperry (1968,1984) have tended to suppose. Rather, Bogen holds that the callosums chief purpose is to mediate between the two fundamentally incompatible types of thinking generated in the same cere- brum (Bogen, 1969a; see also Bogen, 1969b). And Puccetti (1981) argues that its function is simply to transfer ipsilateral sensory input to each of the two conscious hemispheres, so that each of our two minds acquires a full (yet independent) representation of the world. In contrast to these modern defenders of mental duality, Wigan felt it likely not only that the corpus callosum played no role in the maintenance of mental unity, but that it was an organ of no importance, and not necessary to the functibns of the brain. (He was originally quite emphatic on this issue, but later equivocated a bit.) And it should be pointed out that Wigans view on this matter was not an unreasonable inference from the available clinical evidence; indeed it would continue to find an echo well into modern times. Witness Warren McCullochs wry remark around 1940 that the only demonstrated function for the corpus callosum seemed to be that of aiding in the transmission of epileptic seizures from one side of the brain to the other. And Karl Lashleys facetious proposal ten years later that the callosums principle function was probably mechanical in nature-to keep the two hemispheres from sagging (Sperry, 1962,43). Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 422 HARRINGTON For many 20th-century researchers, Andrew Akelaitiss (1943) post- surgical testing of callosal-sectioned human patients-and his failure to find any disturbance of the voluntary higher integrative activities in the subordi- nate side of the body-had served to confirm all suspicions about the corpus callosums essential uselessness. A century earlier , Wigan had similarly pointed to the case of James Cardinal, an extraordinary example of hydrocephalus, recorded in the second volume of Richard Brights celebrated Reports of medical cases (1831). In Cardinals case there was no destruction of parts [of the hemispheres prop- er], the immense accumulation of water (about eight pints) did not even sepa- rate the fibres of the convolutions, but made its way through the corpus cal- losum (which it split at the medial line with a smooth edge as if cut with a knife), merely pushing aside the two cerebra, which were thus turned over, but not displaced . . . The two hemispheres [were] absolutely divided to the base of the skull; and as [Cardinal] retained all his intellectual powers and affection, . . . it is quite evident that the corpus callosum is not an essential commissure (Wigan, 1844,39-40). To explain the fact that many split-brain patients demonstrate a surprising lack of post-operative deficit outside of special testing situations, modern researchers have implicated a variety of alternative unifying mechanisms: conjugate eye movements, the fact that ipsilateral input in the somato- sensory modality is relatively extensive, so-called cross-cueing strategies between the hemispheres, and the unifying operations of deeper-level brain structures. We have seen that Wigan found the chief explanation for harmony of action between two independently conscious brains in educa- tional factors. He also proposed, however , that co-operation between the hemispheres was further facilitated because the will of one of the two brains generally tyrannised over that of the other. That is to say, even though we each possessed two fully-equipped and independent brains, one of these normally took the lead in cognitive functions, while the inferior brain corroborated with it as an assistant aids a workman (p. 232). Wigan believed that, as a rule, the left hemisphere was superior in power to the right, and he suggested that this asymmetry of force between-the two sides of the brain could account for the superior efficacy of the right hand as an instrument of volition (p. 232). According to Isler and Regard (1985) , Wigans remarks here represent an important anticipation (presumably in a non-prophetic sense) of the concept of left hemisphere dominance, as enunciated by Broca in the 1860s. This may be partly true, but only because the original theory of what Broca called la gaucherie cCrCbrale explicitly denied what would later become the stan- dard interpretation of dominance; namely that language is asymmetrically localised because the two sides of the brain are differently wired up to Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 423 serve different functions (see Broca, 1865). Both Wigan and Broca thought that the intellectual domination of the left brain over the right had its etiol- ogy in functionally irrelevant nutritional or developmental differences between the two hemispheres which, in turn, led to their being differently educated or exercised. Wigan puts the matter quite plainly: . . . the supposition that the two cerebra perform different offices . . . would be contrary to all analogy, and opposed to all rational logic; but it needs neither logic nor analogy to disprove it; for we see . . . that when one brain is destroyed by disease . . . the other hemisphere . . . can carry on all the mental processes which had previously been performed by the joint action of the two . . . (p. 37). The main difference between Wigan and Broca, of course, is that the latter brought the fact of handedness and the fact of language asymmetry into a common conceptual framework. If Wigans more straightforward positing of a causal link between right-handedness and the superior power of the left hemisphere qualifies him as a significant precursor of Broca, then he should be forced to share this honour with quite a few of his contem- poraries. It is true that Wigans cerebral solution to handedness takes on a certain special interest, since it was presented in the context of a more global model of hemisphere functioning as a left-over-right power relationship. Nevertheless, it should be realised that explanations for handedness in terms of cerebral differences (especially nutritional differences caused by asym- metry of the blood supply) were quite common in the first half of the 19th century. Before Broca, though, such explanations did not necessarily seem any more compelling than the alternatives (early childhood training, asym- metrical visceral distribution, structural asymmetry of the limbs [see Gould, 1908; Harris, 19801). Wigans voluminous psychological and psychiatric proofs for duality of mind make considerably fewer points of contact with the contemporary split-brain and laterality scene than his more strictly clinico-anatomic arguments (although Bogen points out that Robert Efrons 1963 paper implicating the double brain in d6j2 vu is broadly similar to Wigans explana- tion for what he called the sentiment of pre-existence). When looking at the psychological evidence, Wigan relied almost exclusively on a certain analogical form of reasoning that assumed a formal correspondence between certain forms of mental experience (as interpreted by Wigan), and the gross anatomy of the brain. Take, for example, the case of the gentle- man who saw his own self: I knew a very intelligent and amiable man, who had the power of thus placing before his eyes himself, and often laughed heartily at his double, who always seemed to laugh in turn. This was long a subject of amusement and joke, but the ultimate result was lamentable. He became gradually convinced that he Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 424 HARRINGTON was haunted by himself, or (to violate grammar for the sake of clearly expres- sing his idea) by his self. This other self would argue with him pertinaciously, and to his great mortification sometimes refute him, which, as he was exceed- ingly proud of his logical powers, humiliated him exceedingly. . . . I remember very well some of the conversations he related as taking place between himself and his other self; and though at the time they merely furnished amusement.. . yet, if such conversations were given piecemeal by a madman, they would form exactly the sort of incoherence we notice in the insane.. . . I know not what effect such an example might produce on others, but to me it seems only to be explained on the hypothesis of two brains with distinct and contradictory trains of thought at the same time (pp. 96-97). Or alternatively, note the following offerings illustrating two antagonist volitions in one person; a clinical phenomenon which was seen by Wigan as particularly compelling proof of his theory: A German girl, servant of Humboldt, who had charge of a child, entreated to be sent away, from fear that she should destroy it, as whenever she undressed it and noticed the whiteness of its skin, she was seized with an almost irresisti- ble desire to tear it to pieces. A young lady in a Paris asylum experienced, from time to time, a violent inclination to murder some one. On these occasions, she always asked to have a straight waistcoat put on, and to be carefully guarded until the paroxysm was over, which lasted several days.. . . The wife of a butcher requested her husband to keep out of her sight, the knives used in the trade, and all the children, as she had an overpowering desire to destroy them.. . . If such cases as these ... do not prove the existence of two minds-one in opposition to the other-of two volitions, concurrent and antagonistic, quite independent of that kind of control exercised by the intellectual powers over the animal instincts-if all this fail to establish my propositions, then I must confess myself utterly unable to conceive the nature of moral proof, and connect the links of a chain of ratiocination (pp. 174-176). Now it could be argued that these cases, along with many of the others presented by Wigan, have a certain inherent interest, even if researchers today would be unlikely to accept them as convincing proof of mental duality in the double brain. The point would be well-taken: as a colourful, anecdotal potpourri of clinical material and psychological observation, Duality of mind can hardly be excelled. As such, one should not overlook its potential value to the modern researcher interested in enriching his or her work with early examples of such-and-such a disorder or condition. Indeed, in the late 19th century, the book was used several times to just that end. Consider, for example, Wigans description of what would today be called prosopagnosia-the loss of the ability to recognise familiar faces (and usually associated with right hemisphere or bilateral insult). Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 425 Among the curious defects in the functions of the brain, is one which was brought to my notice a short while ago: A gentleman of middle age, or a little past that period, lamented to me his utter inability to remember faces. He would converse with a person for an hour, but after an interval of a day could not recognise him again. Even friends, with whom he had engaged in business transactions, he was unconscious of ever having seen. Being in an occupation in which it was essential to cultivate the good-will of the public, his life was made miserable by this unfortunate defect, and his time was passed in offend- ing and apologizing.. . . When I inquired more fully into the matter, I found that there was no defect in vision, except that his eyes were weak, and that any long continued employment of them gave him pain. There was no appearance of that morbid vanity which induces a person to affect peculiarities of constitu- tion, but on the contrary, a strong desire to conceal his defect from the world (pp. 128-129). But perhaps it is wrong to dwell too much on these pragmatic issues. Now that we have duly reflected on the historical and medico-scientific signifi- cance of Wigans work, may we ask why-in the final analysis-a book like Duality of mind cannot be self-justifying? For a brain scientist to deem it worth reading, why need it be either prophetic of, or have immediate practical applications for, modern split-brain and laterality research, with its tachistoscopic machines, CT scans, EEGS, and statistics? It strikes me that books like Duality of mind are their own reward, because they summon one back to an era before the sciences of mind and brain had decided that, to be respectable, one had to be rigidly focussed, depersonalised, and emotionally dissociated from ones subject matter. Taking such brief holidays into the past can be oddly nourishing. At their best, they are an antidote against humourlessness and over-abstraction; a diversion which can help put one back in touch with the personalised, the untidy, the feeling side of the brain and cognitive sciences as they have struggled over the generations-and none too successfully-to come to terms with the human mind as a product of the natural world. Manuscript received 29 October 1985 Revised manuscript received 12 December 1985 REFERENCES Akelaitis, A. (1943). Studies on the corpus callosum. VII Study of language functions (tactile visual lexia and graphia) unilaterally following section of the corpus callosum. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 2,226-262. Barlow, J . (1843). Manspoweroverhimself toprevent orcontrolinsanity. London: William Pickering. Bogen, J . E. (1969a). The other side of the brain 11: An appositional mind. Bulletin of Los Angeles Neurological Societies, 34, 135-162. Bogen, J. E. (1969b). 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Some general aspects of interhemispheric integration. In V. B. Mountcastle (Ed.), Interhemispheric relations and cerebral dominance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Sperry, R. (1968). Hemisphere disconnection and unity in conscious awareness. American Psychologist, 23,72>733. Sperry, R. (1984). Consciousness, personal identity and the divided brain. Neuro- psychologia, 22,661-673. Wigan, A. L. (1844). A new view of insanity: The duality of the mind. Reprint edition, Winslow, F. (1849). The unpublished MSS of the late Alfred [sic] Wigan, author the Duality Multiple perspectives on modularity. Cognition, 17,209-242. Malibu, California: Joseph Simon Publisher, 1985. of the Mind, & c. The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology, 2,497-512. Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014 THE DOUBLE BRAIN 427 REFERENCE NOTE 1. Harrington, A. (1985). centurymedicalscience, c. 18@1900. Unpublished D. Phil. dissertation. Oxford University. Hemisphere differences and duality of mind in nineteenth Downloaded by [Johann Christian Senckenberg] at 11:33 08 September 2014


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