Roger W. Sperry, perhaps the premier brain scientist of the last century, always plunged ahead with the sentiment, “Try it. And don’t read the literature until after you have made your observations. Otherwise you can be blinded by pre-existing dogma.” That is surely a paraphrase of what he said to me a hundred times, and that is how we operated in those delicious carefree and exploring days at Caltech. “Try it.”….

Looking back at those early days, it is hard to overstate the adventurous nature of our project. Nobody thought the patient would actually provide evidence the mind could be split. Weeks earlier, a case of callosal agenesis, a birth defect where there is a complete or partial absence of the corpus callosum, had come through the laboratory and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. From a larger view, even though one of the world’s greatest neurobiologists was involved, neither Sperry nor certainly I, a green-as-could-be new graduate student, had any significant experience examining patients. To others it might have seemed to be a fool’s game and a waste of time. However, it was not, because at Caltech, the attitude was always, “try it.”

Michael S. Gazzaniga in PNAS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *