Norm Cook's Topographic Callosal Inhibition?

Mark Bower markb at orl.mmc.com
Fri Dec 10 17:48:23 EST 1993


Bill Park wrote a lengthy question session about a book by Norm Cook which apparently
( I have not read the book ) postulates a fundamental role in concept formation to
the corpus callosum. I don't have any solid answers for you, Bill. Only more
questions!

A while back, I read Julian Jaynes _Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the
Bicameral Mind_ in which the left and right hemispheres were cast in a "master-
slave" role with one side ( I believe the right, it's been a while ) acting as the
"voice of God" telling the left what to do. The left hemisphere became a sort of
"master of the moment" only. This devoutly split-brain approach also placed great
emphasis on the corpus callosum and in fact posited it's failure to be involved with
psychological disorders like schizophrenia. My first question is does anyone know if
anything more ever came from this theory?

As for Bill's questions, the only point I would add is that the resonating oscillator
work of Wolf, Grey, and Singer in "Nature" might suggest a mechanism which avoids
your problem of requiring lateral inhibition to affect only local groups. Not that I
believe memories are laid down in such a local manner ( read Steven Rose's _Making of
Memory_. Excellent description of memory as a process! ), and I would also question
the physical form of the "context" you refer to. Do we somehow create "context" from
pre-established cortical "loops", build them on the fly, or excite rapid trophic
changes? How would we extract the meaningful new events from the loops? How do we find
the salient portions of an event hours after it has happened; i.e. when a detective
gives us the answer at the end of a novel and we think back on all of the clues very
rapidly and say "of course!"?

Just food for thought. I too am a layman. Would be fascinated to read the long-posting
Harry Erwin's comments! :)

Mark.
Might just start working on Freemen nets....again....



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