Roger Sperry

By: Rachel Lewis

Birth and Death dates

Born: 20 August 1913

Died: 17 April 1994

  • The cause of death was a heart attack, following a degenerative neuromuscular disease.

Roger Sperry studied psychology at Oberlin College and zoology at the University of Chicago.

Historical Impact

Psychologist Roger Sperry studied psychology and zoology. Roger Sperry discovered that human beings are of two minds. He found that the human brain has specialized functions on the right and left, and that the two sides can operate almost independently. Sperry's work helped chart a map of the brain and opened whole fields of psychological and philosophical questions.

Modern Day Impact

Through experiments Sperry discovered that the brain is split in to two sides; each side has its own memory. Sperry's experiments with cats and later monkeys paved the way for cutting the corpus callosum in humans as a treatment for severe epilepsy. After the patients recovered from the operation and were no longer having seizures.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology 1981 was divided, one half awarded to Roger W. Sperry "for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres".