Teresa Susmaras Part of Dual Brain Theory Revival

Dual brain theory has proponents today in neuropsychology, the field of Dr. Teresa Susmaras. During the 19th century, it was believed that each person had two completely formed brains, and that each side of the brain was specific to gender: the left with the masculine, the right with the feminine. The right side of the brain was viewed at the time as inferior, common to women, savages, children, criminals, and the insane. This notion was utilized in the fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

Dualism studies waned when psychiatrists turned to the behavioral and psychological hypotheses made popular by Sigmund Freud. However, Roger Sperry, a 1981 Nobel-prize winner for his work with split brain theory, revived interest in the dual-brain hypothesis, continuing today in research studies by neuropsychologists like Teresa Susmaras. Sperry “showed a split-brain patient a picture to his right brain and the left hemisphere, responsible for verbal responses, could not articulate what was being seen. But the patient’s left hand, connected to the right brain, was able to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down showing whether he approved of the picture or not.”

Severely epileptic patients may undergo corpus callosotomy, in which the front two-thirds of the corpus callosum is cut to attempt to reduce seizures. It is also possible to undergo a second procedure and cut the remaining third of the corpus callosum, thus resulting in a complete severing of the two hemispheres. Teresa Susmaras and other neuropsychologists have observed that the psychological effects of two independently thinking brains are profound: changes in learning, social functions and thinking are drastic.