Plenty of evidence indicates that the recognition of familiar faces depends largely on structures on the right side of the brain's outer layer, or cortex. However, the brain appears to take a sharp left turn in fostering the ability to identify one's own face.
That, at least, is the implication of experiments conducted with a so-called split-brain patient. To curb the spread of severe epileptic seizures at age 25, the now-48-year-old man had submitted to a surgical severing of nerve fibers connecting one side of his cortex to the other.
If confirmed in studies of people with intact brains, the new investigation indicates that left-brain networks assume primary responsibility for memories and knowledge about oneself, including the key visual distinction between "me" and "others," says a team of neuroscientists led by David J. Turk of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Personal recognition allows for other types of complex thought, such as empathy and introspection, the s