What is the Corpus Callosum?

Michael Anissimov

The corpus callosum is a huge bundle of nerve fibers found in mammalian brains. It connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and is responsible for most of the communication between the two. It is composed of white matter, that is, myelinated nerve cells, or axons, whose primary function is to connect grey areas together with neural impulses. The corpus callosum is the largest white matter structure in the brain, found in its interior. Grey matter occupies the periphery.

People with split brains may develop a dual personality.
People with split brains may develop a dual personality.

Although this area is largely composed of uniform material, the back (posterior) portion is named the splenium, while the front (anterior) portion is called the genu. In 1982, an article was published that claimed the corpus callosum is larger in women than in men, permitting greater crosstalk between the two hemispheres, but this was subsequently found to be false.

White matter is made up primarily of axons of nerve cells and are full of myelin, a whitish fatty material.
White matter is made up primarily of axons of nerve cells and are full of myelin, a whitish fatty material.

In severe cases of epilepsy, the corpus callosum is sometimes surgically severed. This is called a corpus callosectomy. Information from experiments involving patients who have undergone this procedure, sometimes called split-brain patients, has provided substantial insight into the functioning of the brain. In some cases, split-brain patients develop bizarre pathologies, such as Alien hand syndrome, in which one's hand seemingly takes on a life of its own.

The corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
The corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Split-brain experiments have found that, when a patient is shown an object in his or her left visual field, the patient cannot name the object, despite recognizing it fully. This is because the speech control center is in the left side of the brain, and information from the left visual field only goes to the right side, which is then unable to relay this information to the other hemisphere. Split-brain patients may also develop a dual personality, one loosely associated with each hemisphere, a sort of "Jekyll and Hyde" effect. For this reason, the removal of the corpus callosum is highly controversial, and only performed in cases in which epileptic seizures are extremely resistant to drug-based treatments.

The brain's two hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers.
The brain's two hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers.
Each side of the brain is responsible for different tasks and modes of thought, and the corpus callosum allows communication between them.
Each side of the brain is responsible for different tasks and modes of thought, and the corpus callosum allows communication between them.

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Discussion Comments

anon953116

I am not denying the possibility of a soul to exist, but if you surgically cut portions of the corpus callosum, or you have been born with complications to the corpus callosum, you may produce split personalities. This would be observed as having two "souls". In essence, in my opinion, your "soul" is your brain and the accompanied processes, thus yes, our "soul" may be able to split into two portions.

anon347708

Is corpus callosum considered a disability?

anon155611

Kim Peek was born without a corpus callosum, and was a mega-savant.

anon153289

i have two kids and they were born with a defect in the corpus callosum. The doctors did not know this until they had the mri and the doctors were so surprised to have two kids with the same problem and they told me that this happens to boys more than girls.

as a parent i treat them as regular kids but i know that there are many things that they cannot do, but i am expecting the best for them.

could you tell me if there is any way if i decide to have another child to have one without this diagnosis?

i love my kids but for sure if i want another kid, i would like to him or her without any problems. is it possible for me?

anon143356

Severing of the corpus callosum is alleged to produce split personalities. It is like there are now two people in one body. If that is the case, can even our souls be split into two or more portions?

funyet25

What are the educational implications if you are born without a corpus callosum?

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