Psychological Responses in the Human to Intracerebral Electrical Stimulation

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During interviews, intracerebral electrical stimulation of sharply localized areas in the temporal lobe of a young woman with psychomotor epilepsy consistently produced ego-alien ideational experiences similar to those observed by Penfield. The responses were associated with considerable anxiety and with evoked electrical seizure activity. The use of the interview as the observational situation and careful study of the interview tape-recordings made it possible to discover that the content of the ideational experiences was often a function of her prestimulation “mental content.” This finding led to an examination of Penfield's formulations and to some alternative hypotheses about mechanisms that might be involved in psychic responses to temporal-lobe stimulation.

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