Interhemispheric Transmission Times

  • A. David Milner
  • Michael D. Rugg


Post-war interest in the functional properties of the corpus callosum in normal human subjects grew out of the dramatic animal studies of Myers and others in the 1950s, followed by the even more striking work of Sperry and his collaborators in the 1960s on the effects of commissurotomy in man (Ettlinger & Blakemore, 1969). In the twenty years following the first report on those patients, there was an explosion of research aimed at investigating cerebral asymmetries in normal individuals, generally by the use of lateralised visual stimulation; and there was much discussion of the role of the commissures in mediating performance of such tasks. Such discussion led to the reintroduction of a simple technique, first used by Poffenberger (1912), designed to measure the time taken for an elementary sensory message to be transmitted from one hemisphere to the other. The task requires a subject to make an invariant finger movement, as rapidly as possible, in response to an unstructured visual stimulus which may be located in either the ipsilateral or the contralateral visual hemi-field. Some studies randomised the side of presentation (e.g. Jeeves, 1969) whilst others used a blocked method of testing (e.g. Berlucchi et al., 1971); in either case steady ocular fixation was required, and both left and right hands were given equal numbers of test trials. In some studies, subjects responded concurrently with both hands on each trial (e.g. Jeeves, 1969).


Corpus Callosum Anterior Commissure Simple Reaction Time Callosal Agenesis Occipital Electrode 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. David Milner
  • Michael D. Rugg

There are no affiliations available

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