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Rossi, E. (1977). The Cerebral Hemispheres In Analytical Psychology. J. Anal. Psychol., 22(1):32-51.

(1977). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 22(1):32-51

The Cerebral Hemispheres In Analytical Psychology Related Papers

Ernest Rossi, Ph.D.

Since Ancient Times, man has had deep intuitions of his divided nature: Eros and Logos, heart and mind, the way of the right and that of the left. Even in his most conscious and rational moments he has felt a counterweight within: the vague and undefinable aspects of the unconscious self. These intuitions usually have been the province of poets, philosophers and mystics, rather than the commonsense view of practical men of affairs or science who understand mind as one ordinary awareness.

The facts of recent psychological research on hemispheric functioning, however, are now moving the views of science much closer to that of the poets. This research indicates that there are two basic ways of knowing, based upon differences in the functioning of our cerebral hemispheres. In this paper we will first review some of the experimental findings on which this new understanding of hemispheric functioning is based. We will then summarize the efforts of a number of workers to relate these new neuro-psychological facts to some of our traditional concepts in depth psychology. The author will then offer some speculations about how many of Jung's fundamental concepts can be related to our current understanding of this specialization of hemispheric functioning.

Recent Research In Hemispheric Functioning

In the past decade a group of researchers, initially led by Sperry, have studied the effects of the ‘split brain operation’ in man and animals (SPERRY 48, 49, 50). Physicians have long known that the brain is a double organ; the neocortex is divided into a left and a right hemisphere connected by a tract of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum. Dividing the cerebral hemispheres by cutting this connecting tract was found to have surprisingly little effect on the general behaviour of animals. When studied in learning experiments, however, it was found that each hemisphere could learn independently; it appeared as if each hemisphere had a mind of its own (MYERS & SPERRY 36).

This finding was extended by Sperry and his co-workers with the same operation performed on humans afflicted with extreme forms of epilepsy (BOGEN, SPERRY & VOGEL 6). They hoped to prevent seizure activity from spreading from one hemisphere to the other. Their operation was surprisingly successful; the seizures were not only prevented from spreading but were almost completely eliminated from both hemispheres.

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