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Roger Wolcott Sperry (1913 – 1994)


Neuropsychologist, neurobiologist and pioneer in the sciences of consciousness who, together with David H Hubel and Torsten Wiesel, won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine, for his independent work in split-brain research.
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Roger Wolcott Sperry
Earlier contentions that the right hemisphere is not even conscious largely gave way by the mid seventies to an intermediate position conceding that the mute hemisphere may be conscious at some lower elemental levels, but claiming that it lacks the higher, reflective, self-conscious kind of inner awareness that is special to the human mind and is needed, so it is said, to qualify the right conscious system as a "self' or "person". Self awareness in particular is reported, on the basis of mirror tests mainly, to be a predominantly human attribute and is rated by developmental as well as by evolutionary standards to be a highly advanced phase of conscious awareness.
Sperry quotes
Prior to the advent of brain, there was no color and no sound in the universe, nor was there any flavor or aroma and probably rather little sense and no feeling or emotion. Before brains the universe was also free of pain and anxiety.
Sperry
There probably is no more important quest in all science than the attempt to understand those very particular events in evolution by which brains worked out that special trick that has enabled them to add to the cosmic scheme of things: color, sound, pain, pleasure, and all the other facets of mental experience.




Sperry Roger Wolcott quotes
The time has passed when nations should be allowed to do as they individually wish with regard to global matters, each striving solely in its own interests, with the more powerful now able to destroy all humanity and more.
For the common good, we need to frame and abide by a higher system of law and justice, designed with less national, more godlike, perspectives for the preservation and welfare of the biosphere as a whole.
The problems of setting up and administering an effective, international force of this kind can hardly be more grave, formidable or insoluble than those we encounter on any alternative course.
Sperry Roger Wolcott
Unlike other aspects of cognitive function, emotions have never been readily confinable to one hemisphere. Though generated by lateralized input, the emotional effects tend to spread rapidly to involve both hemispheres, apparently through crossed fiber systems in the undivided brain stem.
Roger Wolcott Sperry quotes
Sperry's thinking about subjective experience, consciousness, the mind, and human values makes a powerful plea for a new scientific examination of ethics in the workings of consciousness. These ideas were crystallized in his paper "The Impact and Promise of the Cognitive Revolution" (1993).
Roger Wolcott Sperry
I think time will show that the new approach, emphasizing emergent "macro" control, is equally valid in all the physical sciences, and that the behavioral and cognitive disciplines are leading the way to a more valid framework for all science. Although the theoretic changes make little difference in physics, chemistry, molecular biology, and so on, they are crucial for the behavioral, social, and human sciences. They don't change the analytic, reductive methodology, just the interpretations and conclusions. There seems little to lose, and much to gain.
Sperry Roger Wolcott quotes
The former scope of science, its limitations, world perspectives, views of human nature, and its societal role as an intellectual, cultural and moral force all undergo profound change. Where there used to be a chasm and irreconcilable conflict between the scientific and the traditional humanistic views of man and the world, we now perceive a continuum. A unifying new interpretative framework emerges with far reaching impact not only for science but for those ultimate value-belief guidelines by which mankind has tried to live and find meaning.
Sperry
To see a promising solution to a dilemma and then just leave it to questionable development at its own pace without trying to aid its implementation would seem a dereliction.
Sperry Roger Wolcott
Futurists and common sense concur that a substantial change, worldwide, in life style and moral guidelines will soon become an absolute necessity.
Roger Wolcott Sperry
90% of our brain's energy is used for posture alone.




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