Role of Callosal Connections in the Representation of the Visual Field in the Primary Visual Cortex of the Cat
Current ideas about the functional significance of the corpus callosum and other commissures are chiefly derived from studies of the behavioral deficits following commissural sections in both man and experimental animals. The main conclusion supported by these studies is that the forebrain commissures are essential for unifying and coordinating cognitive processes that take place separately and independently in the right and left cerebral hemispheres (Sperry, 1982). Attempts at analyzing this conclusion at the anatomical and physiological levels have provided a considerable amount of data, but the interpretation of the findings has often met with the difficult problem of establishing a common principle of commissural organization within an overall theory of the brain. We believe that the ‘principle of supplemental complementarity’ proposed many years ago by Sperry (1962) is best suited for understanding the available evidence on the anatomy and the physiology of the interhemispheric connections of the cerebral cortex (Berlucchi, Tassinari and Antonini, 1986). In brief, the principle states that the commissural connections are organized in such a way as to allow the activity of each hemisphere to be supplemented with different and complementary information about concurrent activities in the other hemisphere. For example, the representation of each hand in the contralateral somesthetic cortex via the specific sensory pathways can be supplemented and complemented by a representation of the other hand transmitted to the same hemisphere via the corpus callosum. This arrangement is both supplementary, because the representations of the two hands add to one another in each hemisphere, and complementary, because this addition can provide a unitary substrate for the control of bimanual activities.
KeywordsRetina Alan Thiopental
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