Edward J. Morris, Ph.D.
Owensboro Community College
The purpose of this exercise is to allow students an opportunity to experience thefrustrations and deficits of patients who have had the split-brain operation. During the demonstration, participants explore the interesting limitations caused by the procedure known as the commissurotomy,giving them insight into the functioning of the hemispheres of the brain in a way impossible through reading and lecture alone.
Materials are simple. Collect blindfolds, a shoewith a shoelace, a few coins, a pen or a pencil and some toy blocks.
Have your students sit together as close as can be arranged (in the same chair, if possible). Theythen interlock their inside arms and put their outside arms behind them. With their inside arms together, it will be as if they are one person, one of the pair using their left hand and the other usingtheir right. Instruct the student on the left that he/she must be the voice for the pair. The student on their right is not allowed to speak from this point on. The student on their rightcommunicates through non-verbal means.
While they are in this configuration, have the students tie the shoelace. They will have some difficulty with this, but will eventually accomplish it. Thenrepeat the task with both students blindfolded. They will find this to be very difficult and the left student who is using his/her right hand may spontaneously talk the other through the task.With the students still blindfolded, place one of the objects in the left hand and ask if they are able to identify the object. The "left-brain" student will say no while the "right-brain" studentwill possibly nod "their" head affirmatively. While the voice of the pair will be unable to correctly identify the object, the left hand will be able to correctly select the object from several placed...