Desperately Seeking Citation.

Can anyone point me to an anecdote about an introvert who manifested a sudden extrovertian personality change (cracking jokes, hitting on the nurses) when one of his cerebral hemispheres was anesthetized prior to brain surgery? I’m almost certain it hails from one of Ramachandran’s books, but I can’t find the damn thing and it’s relevant to a nonfiction piece that’s due next week.

(Yes, I’ve tried searching for keywords using Amazon’s “look inside” feature. No joy.)

Anyone?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday January 15 2015at 07:01 am , filed under misc, neuro, sentience/cognition . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

15 Responses to “Desperately Seeking Citation.”

  1. I first heard it from your Mind Hives, Hives Mind speech (where, I just checked, you did credit it to Ramachandran)… do you perhaps have citation notes from that lying around somewhere?

    My Google-Fu wasn’t able to help find that specific story any more than you, but it did provide this: http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/content/3/1/13 which mentions “Ahren et al” reporting a case of a withdrawn person being affable after the left hemisphere was anesthetized, and the endnote for that point leads to this article where it was presumably talked about in more info, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8215959, but that’s as far as I could get without having an account.

  2. It looks like the procedure itself is called the Wada Test.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wada_test

    Sorry it’s just Wikipedia, but there might be promising leads in the reference section.

    This book is in the wiki references… all I’ve found online is the table of contents, but there might be some meaty info in there if you can track down the whole article.
    http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/303/bfm%253A978-1-4612-2874-5%252F1.pdf?auth66=1421343628_cad039683a9f4dd976aaec52d1e75e1b&ext=.pdf

    No luck on a specific anecdote. Randomly googled sources describe the side effect you described in your talk as “disinhibition” rather than the emergence of a new personality.

    Hope it helps… I’m not an academic so forgive me if those are dead ends. Good luck!

  3. I have The Tell-tale Brain in ebook form. I will try grepping it. Do you have any memory of specific words to look for other than introversion, extroversion, jokes?

  4. Searching for likely words in The Tell-Tale Brain didn’t pull up an anecdote. If you do searches in ggeneral for brain surgery personality change you’ll find articles on personality changes after surgery, and you can infer from that that putting part of the brain to sleep would have a similar result. but that’s not as fun as finding an anecdote from a surgeon.

    discussion on coping with changes after surgery, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/professor-cromer-learns-read/201203/after-brain-injury-the-dark-side-personality-change-part-i

    fluffy discover mag that makes refs to studies on brain differences in extroverts/introverts, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2013/08/27/are-the-brains-of-introverts-and-extroverts-actually-different/#.VLgCxjXRLsY

    google has some nice book searching functionality. try it out. I found this book on philosophy and psychiatry, https://books.google.com/books?id=HXkS2lTZIjEC&pg=PA334&lpg=PA334&dq=personality+change+during+brain+surgery+introversion&source=bl&ots=FcfT98-QpB&sig=SwumePJdETwFmT97pQ9EM9ofL_w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HwK4VOGgAdWlyAT3jIGADQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=personality%20change%20during%20brain%20surgery%20introversion&f=false

    good luck!

    Ps. updating because I forgot to add a caveat for any references to studies on this stuff. scientists tend towards reporting effects when none exist via p-hacking or whatnot, and sometimes they don’t even do this on purpose. so if you find an article with a high cool factor, scrutinize it and look for replications.

  5. Couldn’t find it, but oh man, did that search lead to some fascinating/weird stuff. My favourite so far (on “asomatognosia”, where the patient will “…deny or misidentify a part of their own body after it has been paralyzed by stroke”):

    “Feinberg’s research has shown a peculiarly gender-specific phenomenon associated with asomatognosia. Women frequently will mistake their left arms for their husbands’ arms. Men will frequently mistake their left arms for the arms of their mothers-in-law. ”

    (from http://www.nj.com/specialprojects/seekers/seekers1.html)

  6. Peter D: My Google-Fu wasn’t able to help find that specific story any more than you, but it did provide this:

    Yes! Peter, I love you!

    This was not the specific case I was looking for, but it works just as well, and it’s in the primary lit (which always carries more weight than popsci stuff. Full speed ahead, and thank you!

  7. Matt: This book is in the wiki references… all I’ve found online is the table of contents, but there might be some meaty info in there if you can track down the whole article.
    http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/303/bfm%253A978-1-4612-2874-5%252F1.pdf?auth66=1421343628_cad039683a9f4dd976aaec52d1e75e1b&ext=.pdf

    Strangely, the Springer download site gives me a white screen and an error message when I try this link. Weird. But I think I’m okay.

    Sheila: Searching for likely words in The Tell-Tale Brain didn’t pull up an anecdote. … google has some nice book searching functionality. try it out.

    Ooh, that’s cool. Didn’t know you could do that.

    Yeah I searched through the Amazon files for both Tell-tale Brain and Phantoms in the Brain (the two Ramachandran books I have in paper), using all the keywords I thought I remembered: nurses, ~anesthetised, hemisphere, ~joke, etc. Turned up nothing. Possibly I read it in a popsci article online or something.

  8. I remember hearing this too, and I thought I’d read it here, but I think I may have heard it the You Are Not So Smart podcast.

  9. Btw, when you search for brain surgery personality change you get a lot of hits in the news about playboy model talking about turning in to an introvert after brain surgery.

  10. I decided to give you 20 min and came up with a horny 13 year old boy at

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=s0004-282×2004000300012

    Not that you generally need to knock out a hemisphere to make a 13 year old boy horny.

    Looks like you want to look for “intracarotid sodium amytal testing (Wada test)”. Use the word ‘hemisphere’ to avoid the other Wada test, which seems to involve doped up athletes.

  11. dhlight: I decided to give you 20 min and came up with a horny 13 year old boy

    You came up with four other case studies too, one of them being a shy introvert who starts hitting on a female resident when one of his hemispheres is put under. This isn’t the source I remember, but I think it’s referring to the same case.

    This is great. Thank you.

  12. I think there is a mention of this in the book “Subliminal”, by Leonard Mlodinow.

  13. http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/mkultra/MKULTRA3/DOC_0000017365/

  14. Gustavo Borracini,

    Speaking of books, if any of you have some recommendations on par with The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger as well as books by VS Ramachandran, please do share! I encountered the rec for The Ego Tunnel here.

    I like Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds for its discussions on emboddied cognition.

    I picked up a recent Antonio Damasio book because I remember enjoying one of his from a long time ago, but this one was really annoying. He didn’t get anywhere by the first chapter or so and I gave up on it.

    I’ve stalled in reading Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension by Andy Clark. I picked it up because I remember enjoying a paper by him and Annette Karmilof-Smith. I’ll finish this book eventually. I tend to stall on books sometimes.

  15. Found an account written by the son of a man whose personality had changed completely following brain surgery

    http://www.reddit.com/r/relationship_advice/comments/18np1f/a_month_after_brain_surgery_my_dad_is_completely/

    Fascinating, and scary, stuff