On Butterflies in the Brain

  • R. W. Doty


The external world is revealed only by processes that occur in molecules constituting the brain. Thus in a very real sense the brain creates the world, and an abnormal brain, or one which is manipulated, can create objects which exist nowhere but in the brain itself. A dramatic example of such creation was reported by Foerster (1936). Electrical stimulation of what was believed to be area 18 in an unanesthetized patient created such a strong hallucination of a flitting butterfly that the patient reached out quickly from the operating table to catch it. This butterfly obviously was nothing more than a pattern of neural activity.




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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Doty
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Brain ResearchUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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