We measured simple reaction time (RT) to light flashes, presented either singly or in pairs, in two people who had undergone callosotomy, one person with agenesis of the corpus callosum, and 17 normal subjects. The three split-brained subjects' RTs were decreased to bilateral pairs beyond predictions based on a simple race between independent unilateral processes, while those of the normal subjects were actually longer than predicted by the race model. This effect was present whether the bilateral pairs were in mirror-image locations or not, but was not present when the pairs were presented unilaterally. Since summation does not depend on close spatial correspondence, and also occurs when inputs are staggered in time, we suggest that it is due to cortical projection to a subcortical arousal system, and is normally inhibited by the corpus callosum.

This content is only available as a PDF.