The Space Between

Performing a “Wada test” (in which the activities of one hemisphere of a patient’s brain are suspended by a drug so the abilities of the other hemisphere can be tested in isolation), neuropsychologist Paul Broks provides the scientist’s perspective on no-self.

Paul Brooks

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Our brain drug cleft the young woman in two. The left-brain version of Naomi was different from the right. Ms. Left-brain was talkative and cheerful. Ms. Right-brain was unsettled, mute, morose. When the words finally broke through, she hadn’t a clue where she was. “What the fuck am I doing here?” I’ve never heard Ms. Left-brain swear. Afterward, when the drug wore off, Ms. Left-brain spoke for the whole person. “It was a breeze,” she said. There was no recollection of Ms. Right-brain’s discomfort. It had been edited out of the story.

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