Roger Walcott Sperry Research Paper

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Roger Wolcott Sperry was a neuropsychologist, neurobiologist and Nobel laureate who, together with David Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel, won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work with split-brain research.
Rogers split brain research consisted of new ways of thinking. Before Roger, the common belief was: the left hemisphere of the brain was responsible for almost all the functions of the brain, and the right side was just for minor things such as reading maps. Roger was able to perform an operation splitting the nerve between the two hemispheres, and the results were surprising. Not only was the patient alive, but both hemispheres were 100% functional on their own. This was huge breakthrough
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At Oberlin, he was captain of the basketball team, and he also took part in varsity baseball, football, and track. He also worked at a cafe on campus to help support himself. Sperry was an English major, but he took an Intro to Psychology class taught by a Professor named R. H. Stetson who had worked with William James, the father of American Psychology. This class sparked Sperry’s interest in the brain and how it can change. Stetson was handicapped and had trouble getting around so Sperry would help him out by driving him to and from wherever he needed to go. This included taking Stetson to lunch with his colleagues. Sperry would just sit at the end of the table and listen to Stetson and his colleagues discuss their research and other psychological interests. This increased Sperry’s interest in Psychology even more and after he received his undergraduate degree in English from Oberlin he decided to stay and get his master's degree in Psychology. He received his bachelor's degree in English in 1935 and a master's degree in psychology in 1937. He received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1941, supervised by Paul A. Weiss. Sperry then did postdoctoral research with Karl Lashley at Harvard University though most of his time was spent with Lashley at the Yerkes Primate…show more content…
at the University of Chicago, Sperry became interested in neuronal specificity and brain circuitry and began questioning the existing concepts about these two topics. He asked the simple question first asked in his Introduction to Psychology class at Oberlin: Nature or nurture? He began a series of experiments in an attempt to answer this question. Sperry crosswired the motor nerves of rats' legs so the left nerve controlled the right leg and vice versa. He would then place the rats in a cage that had an electric grid on the bottom separated into four sections. Each leg of the rat was placed into one of the four sections of the electric grid. A shock was administered to a specific section of the grid, for example the grid where the rat’s left back leg was located would receive a shock. Every time the left paw was shocked the rat would lift his right paw and vice versa. Sperry wanted to know how long it would take the rat to realize he was lifting the wrong paw. After repeated tests Sperry found that the rats never learned to lift up the correct paw, leading him to the conclusion that some things are just hardwired and cannot be relearned. In Sperry’s words, "no adaptive functioning of the nervous system took place." [18] During Sperry's postdoctoral years with Karl Lashley at Harvard and at the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology in Orange Park, Florida, he continued his work on neuronal specificity that he had

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