An easier version to read:
Yale’s professor Delgado experimented in the sixties with microchips implants in the brain (of animals and humans), called ‘Transceivers’. His ambitions: to hardwire citizens and control their behaviors.
This is an extremely important book as a whole (and shows the lengths that people will go to to control others all the way to thought control/mind crime and overpowering ‘free will’); there is a lot of animal experimentation and remember we’re all animals – and we’re all machines, we can be subject to manual override.
It’s been 37 years since this book was published, just think of all the advances and applications such technology (especially as it gets smaller and smaller and more and more powerful) could/does have.
CIA Funded Mind Control Experiments – Bull & Cat Tests by Dr Delgado in the 1960s
For example a person who loves somebody could be made to fear them, to hate them, to be repulsed, to even evade or attack them. Their memories of them could be superimposed/synthesised with memories of another person/situation especially if that person/situation was similar. Even the name of the ‘new’ person could be substituted for the ‘old’ person’s and vice versa. Recognition, memory and response are affected. Coupled with imaging and heightened emotional stimuli new ‘memories’ of a person can be created, so you could be made to feel someone you love has done/is doing horrible things to you, has hidden, intentions, secret sides to their personality etc – fear based on a fabricated reality that is out of your control. Labouring under false apprehensions.
Especially say if you hear/experience things more on the right side/ear (can feel more like the right ear, isn’t but is close enough). The right side is easier to use for insults, threats, anything negative, as the left side is less guaranteed to have a negative effect and associated with reward and potential dealing with a situation so more suited to someone who wants to call you flattering things and appear helpful (before introducing/leading you to a situation that they’ve ‘warned’ you about). Howabout making you more impressionable to ‘trying something new’ with someone you normally wouldn’t – like a heterosexual woman getting intimate with a woman she’d associate as a mother figure. Imagine continued, ongoing abuse of the this.
Chapter 14 Hell and Heaven Within the Brain: The Systems for Punishment and Reward
When man evolved above other powerful animals, the size and complexity of his brain increased, giving him superior intelligence along with more anguish, deeper sorrow, and greater sensitivity than any other living creature. Man also learned to enjoy beauty, to dream and to create, to love and to hate. In the education of children as well as in the training of animals, Punishment and reward constitute the most powerful motivations for learning. In our hedonistic orientation of life to minimize pain and seek pleasure, we often attribute these qualities to the environment without realizing that sensations depend on a chain of events which culminates in the activation of determined intracerebral mechanisms. Physical damage, the loss of a beloved child, or apocalyptic disaster cannot make us suffer if some of our cerebral structures have been blocked by anesthesia. Pleasure is not in the skin being caressed or in a full stomach, but somewhere inside the cranial vault.
At the same time pain and pleasure have important psychic and cultural components related to individual history. Men inhibited by sortie extraordinary tribal or religious training to endure discomfort have been tortured to death without showing signs of suffering. It is also known that in the absence of physical injury, mental elaboration of information may produce the worst kind of suffering. Social rejection, guilt feelings, and
other personal tragedies may produce greater autonomic, somatic, and psychological manifestations than actual physical pain.
There is strong reluctance to accept that such personal and refined interpretations of reality as being afraid and being in love are contingent on the membrane depolarization of determined clusters of neurons, but this is one aspect of emotional phenomena which should not be ignored. After frontal lobotomy, cancer patients have reported that the pain persisted undiminished, but that their subjective suffering was radically reduced, and they did not complain or request as much medication as before surgery. Lobotomized patients reacted to noxious stimuli as much, if not more, than before their operations, jumping at pinpricks and responding quickly to objective tests of excessive heat, but they showed decreased concern. It seems that in the frontal lobes there is a potentiating mechanism for the evaluation of personal suffering, and after lobotomy the initial sensation of pain is unmodified, while the reactive component to that feeling is greatly diminished. This mechanism is rather specific of the frontal lobes; bilateral destruction of the temporal lobes fails to modify personal suffering.
Important questions to resolve are: Do some cerebral structures have the specific role of analyzing determined types of sensations? Is the coding of information at the receptor level essential for the activation of these structures Not too long ago, many scientists would have dismissed as naive the already demonstrated fact that punishment and reward can be induced at will by manipulating the controls of an electrical instrument connected to the brain.
Perception of Suffering
In textbooks and scientific papers, terms such as “pain receptors,” “pain fibers,” and “pain pathways” are frequently used, but it should be clarified that peripheral nerves do not carry sensations. Neuronal pathways transmit only patterns of elec-
trical activity with a message that must be deciphered by the central nervous system, and in the absence of brain there is no pain, even if some reflex motor reactions may still be present. A decapitated frog cannot feel but will jump away with fairly good motor coordination when pinched in the hind legs. During competitive sports or on the battlefield, emotion and stress may temporarily block the feeling of pain in man, and often injuries are not immediately noticed. The cerebral interpretation of sensory signals is so decisive that the same stimulus may be considered pleasant or unpleasant depending on circumstances. A strong electrical shock on the feet scares a dog and inhibits its secretion of saliva. If, however, the same “painful” excitation is followed for several days by administration of food, the animal accepts the shock, wagging its tail happily and salivating in anticipation of the food reward. Some of these dogs have been trained to press a lever to trigger the electric shock which preceded food. During sexual relations in man, bites, scratches, and other potentially painful sensations are often interpreted as enjoyable, and some sexual deviates seek physical punishment as a source of pleasure.
The paradox is that while skin and viscera have plentiful nerve endings for sensory reception, the brain does not possess this type of innervation. In patients under local anesthesia, the cerebral tissue may be cut, burned, pulled apart, or frozen without causing any discomfort. This organ so insensitive to its own destruction is, however, the exquisite sensor of information received from the periphery. In higher animal species there is sensory differentiation involving specialized peripheral receptors which code external information into electrical impulses and internal analyzers which decode the circulating inputs in order to give rise to the perception of sensations.
Most sensory messages travel through peripheral nerves, dorsal roots, spinal cord, and medulla to the thalamic nuclei in the brain, but from there we lose their trail and do not know where the information is interpreted as painful or pleasurable, or how affective components are attributed to a sensation (212, 220).
Although anatomical investigations indicate that thalamic fibers project to the parietal “sensory” cortex, stimulation of this area does not produce pain in animals or man. No discomfort has been reported following electrical excitation of the surface or depth of the motor areas, frontal lobes, occipital lobes, cingulate gyros, and rnany other structures, while pain, rage, and fear have been evoked by excitation of the central gray tegmentum, and a few other regions.
Animals share with man the expressive aspect of emotional manifestations. When a dog wags its tail, we suppose it is happy, and when a cat hisses and spits we assume that it is enraged, but these interpretations are anthropomorphic and in reality we do not know the feelings of any animal. Several authors have tried to correlate objective manifestations with sensations; for example, stimulation of the cornea of the eye provokes struggling, pupillary dilatation, and rise of blood pressure (87), but these responses are not necessarily related to awareness of feelings, as is clearly demonstrated by the defensive ability of the decapitated frog. Experimental investigation of the mechanisms of pain and pleasure is handicapped in animals by their lack of verbal communication, but fortunately we can investigate whether an animal likes or dislikes the perceived sensations by analyzing its instrumental responses. Rats, monkeys, and other species can learn to press a lever in order to receive a reward such as a food pellet or to avoid something unpleasant such as an electric shock to the skin. By the voluntary act of instrumental manipulation, an animal expresses whether or not the food, shock, or brain stimulation is desirable, allowing for the objective qualification of the sensation. In this way, many cerebral strictures have been explored to identify their positive or negative reinforcing properties.
At present it is generally accepted that specific areas of the brain participate in the integration of pain sensations, but the mechanism is far from clear, and in our animal experiments we do not know if we are stimulating pathways or higher centers of integration. The concept of a straight conduction of pain
messages from the periphery up to the central nervous system was too elemental. Incoming messages are probably processed at many levels with feedbacks which modify the sensitivity and the filtering of information at many stages including the peripheral receptor level. Brain excitation, therefore, may affect transmission as well is the elaboration of inputs and feedback modulation. Electrical stimuli do not carry any specific message because they are a monotonous repetition of similar pulses, and the fact that they constitute a suitable trigger for central perception of pain means that the reception of a patterned code is not required, but only the nonspecific activation of neuronal pools which are accessible to investigation. In addition to the importance of these studies for finding better therapies for the alleviation of pain, there is another aspect which has great social interest: the possible relations between pain perception and violence.
Violence Within the Brain
The chronicle of human civilization is the story of a cooperative venture consistently marred by self-destruction, and every advance has been accompanied by increased efficiency of violent behavior. Early man needed considerable physical strength -,end skill to defend himself or attack other men or beasts with stones, arrows, or swords, but the invention of explosives and subsequent development of firearms have made unskilled individuals more powerful than mythical warriors of the past. The technology for destruction has now placed at the disposal of man a vast i arsenal of ingenious weapons which facilitate all forms of violence including crimes against property, assassinations, riots, and wars, threatening not only individual life and national I stability but the very existence of civilization.
Ours is a tragically unbalanced industrial society which devotes most of its resources to the acquisition of destructive power and invests insignificant effort in the search which could provide the true weapons of self-defense: knowledge of the
mechanisms responsible for violent behavior. They are necessarily related with intracerebral processes of neuronal activity, even if the triggering causality may reside in environmental circumstances. Violence is a product of cultural environment and is an extreme form of aggression, distinct from modes of self-expression required for survival and development under normal conditions. Man may react to unpleasant or painful stimuli with violence-he may retaliate even more vigorously than he is attacked-but only if he has been taught by his culture to react in this manner. A major role of education is to “build internal controls in human beings so that they can withstand external pressures and maintain internal equilibrium” (157). We should remember that it is normal for an animal to urinate when the bladder is full and to mount any available female during the mating season, but that these behaviors may be controlled in man through training. The distinctly human quality of cerebralization of behavior is possible through education.
Human aggression may be considered a behavioral response characterized by the exercise of force with the intent to inflict damage on persons or objects. The phenomenon may be analyzed in three components: inputs, determined by environmental circumstances perceived through sensory receptors and acting upon the individual; throughputs, which are the personal processing of these circumstances through the intracerebral mechanisms established by genetic endowment and previous experiences; and outputs, represented by the expressions of individual and social behavior which constitute the observable manifestations of aggression. Increasing awareness of the need to investigate these subjects has already resulted in the creation of specialized institutes, but surprisingly enough the most essential element in the whole process of violence is usually neglected. Attention is directed to economic, ideological, social, and political factors and to their consequences, which are expressed as individual and mass behavior, while the essential link in the central nervous system is often forgotten. It is, however.
an incontrovertible fact that the environment is only the provider of sensory inputs which must be interpreted by the brain, and that any kind of behavior is the result of intracerebral activity.
It would be naive to investigate the reasons for a riot by recording the intracerebral electrical activity of the participants, but it would be equally wrong to ignore the fact that each participant has a brain and that determined neuronal groups are reacting to sensory inputs and are subsequently producing the behavioral expression of violence. Both neurophysiological and environmental factors must be evaluated, and today methodology is available for their combined study. Humanity behaves in general no more intelligently than animals would under the same circumstances, and this alarming reality is due largely to that spiritual pride which prevents men from regarding themselves and their behavior as parts of nature and as subject to its universal laws“ (148). Experimental investigation of the cerebral structures responsible for aggressive behavior is an essential counterpart of social studies, and this should be recognized by sociologists as well as biologists.
In animals, the first demonstration that offensive activity could be evoked by ESB was provided by Hess (I 05), and it has subsequently been confirmed by numerous investigators. Cats under electrical stimulation of the periventricular gray matter acted “as if threatened by a dog,” responding with unsheathed claws and well-aimed blows. “The animal spits, snorts or growls. At the same time the hair on its back stands on end, and its tail becomes bushy. Its pupils widen sometimes to their maximum, and its ears lie back or move back and forth to frighten the non-existing enemy” (106). In these experiments it is important to know how the cat really feels. Is it aware of its own responses? Is the hostility purposefully oriented to do harm? Or is the entire phenomenon a pseudoaffective reaction, a false or sham rage containing the motor components of offensive display without actual emotional participation? These issues have been debated over the years, but today it is clear that both sham and true rage
At upper left, the control, two friendly cats. At lower left, electrical stimulation of the anterior hypothalamus evoked an aggressive expression not directed against the other cat which, however, reacts with a defensive attitude. Above, the normal cat attacks the stimulated animal which lowers its head, flattens its ears, and does not retaliate. This experiment is an example of false rage (53).
can be elicited by ESB depending on the location of stimulation. Excitation of the anterior hypothalamus may induce a threatening display with hissing and growling which should be interpreted as false rage because, as shown in Figure 14, the display was not directed against other animals. When other cats reacted by hissing and attacking the stimulated animal, it did not retaliate or escape and simply lowered its head and flattened its ears, and these brain stimulations could not be conditioned to sensory cues.
In contrast, true rage has been demonstrated in other experiments. As shown in Figure 15, stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus produced an aggressive display clearly directed toward
Electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus evoked true rage which is characterized by aggressive display oriented toward another cat (above); attack with well-oriented claws directed against other cats (below);
attack against investigators with whom relations had previously been friendly (above); learning of instrumental responses, such a rotating a paddle wheel, in order to stop the brain stimulation (below). In this way the cat expresses its dislike of being stimulated in a particular area (53).
a control animal which reacted properly in facing the threat. The stimulated animal started prowling around looking for fights with other subordinate animals, but avoided the most powerful cat in the group. It was evident that brain stimulation had created a state of increased aggressiveness, but it was also clear that the cat directed its hostility intelligently, choosing the enemy and the moment of attack, changing tactics, and adapting its movements to the motor reaction of its opponents Brain stimulation determined the affective state of hostility, but behavioral performance depended on the individual characteristics of the stimulated animal, including learned skills and previous experiences. Stimulations were usually tested for 5 to 10 seconds, but since it was important to know the fatigability of the effect, a longer experiment was performed, reducing the applied intensity to a level which did not evoke overt rage. The experimental subject was an affectionate cat which usually sought petting and ported while it was held in the experimenter’s arms. Then it was introduced into the colony with five other cats and was radi4p stimulated continuously for two hours. During this period the animal sat motionless in a corner of the cage, uttering barely audible growls from time to time. If any other cat approached, the stimulated animal started hissing and threatening, and if the experimenter tried to pet it, the growls increased in intensity and the animal often spat and hissed. This hostile attitude disappeared as soon as the stimulation was over, and the cat became as friendly as before. These experiments demonstrated that brain excitation could modify reactions toward normal sensory stimuli and could modulate the quality of the responses in a way similar to modulation during spontaneous emotional states.
usually express their submissiveness by grimacing, crouching, and offering sexual play. In several colonies we have observed that radio stimulation of specific points in the thalamus or central gray in the boss monkey increased his aggressiveness and induced well-directed attacks against other members of the group, whom he chased around and occasionally bit, as shown in Figure 16 (56). It was evident that his hostility was oriented purposefully and according to his previous experience because he usually attacked the other male who represented a challenge to his authority, and he always spared the little female who was his favorite partner.
A high-ranking monkey expresses rage by attacking submissive members of the colony, but what would he the consequences of stimulating the brain of lower-ranking animals? Could they be induced to challenge the authority of other monkeys, including perhaps even the boss, or would their social inhibitions block the electrically induced hostility? These questions were investigated in one colony by changing its composition to increase progressively the social rank of one member, a female named Lina, who in the first grouping of four animals ranked lowest, progressing to third rank in the second group and to second rank in the third group. Social dominance was evaluated during extended control periods using the criteria of number of spontaneous agonistic and sexual interactions, priority in food getting, and territoriality. On two successive mornings in each colony Lina was radio stimulated for 5 seconds once a minute for one hour in the nucleus posterolateralis of the thalamus. In all three colonies, these stimulations induced Lina to run across the cage, climb to the ceiling, lick, vocalize, and according to her social status, to attack other animals. In group I, where l,ina was submissive, she tried to attack another monkey only once, and she was threatened or attacked 24 times. In group 2 she became more aggressive (24 occurrences) and was attacked only 3 times, while in group 3 Lina attacked other monkeys 79 times and was not threatened at all. No changes in the number of agonistic acts were observed in any group before or after the stimulation
Examples of threatening attitude and aggressive behavior produced by brain stimulation. Observe that the stimulated monkey chooses another
one as a specific target, and this animal usually expresses submissiveness by grimacing, crouching, or escaping. A toy tiger is also a suitable target for aggressive display.
hour, showing that alterations in Lina’s aggressive behavior were determined by ESB.
In summary, intraspecies aggression has been evoked in cats and monkeys by electrical stimulation of several cerebral structures, and its expression is dependent on the social setting. Unlike purely motor effects including complex sequences which have no social significance, an artificially evoked aggressive act may be directed against a specific group member or may be entirely suppressed, according to the stimulated subject’s social rank.
Many questions remain to be answered. Which cerebral areas are responsible for spontaneous aggressive behavior? By what mechanisms are environmental inputs interpreted as undesirable? How does cultural training influence the reactivity of specific cerebral areas? Can neurophysiological mechanisms of violence be re-educated, or are individual responses set for life after early imprinting? It is interesting that application of ESB modified the interpretation of the environment, changing the peaceful relations of a group of animals into sudden overt hostility. The same sensory inputs provided by the presence of other animals, which were neutral during control periods, were under ESB the cue for a ferocious and well-directed attack. Apparently brain stimulation introduced an emotional bias which altered interpretation of the surroundings.
While neurophysiological activity may be influenced or perhaps even set by genetic factors and past experience, the brain is the direct interpreter of environmental inputs and the determinant of behavioral responses. To understand the causes and plan remedies for intraspecific aggression in animals and man require knowledge of both sociology and neurophysiology. Electricity cannot determine the target for hostility or direct the sequences of aggressive behavior, which are both related to the past history of the stimulated subject and to his immediate adaptation to changing circumstances. Artificially triggered and spontaneously provoked aggression have many elements in common, suggesting that in both cases similar areas of the brain have been activated.
While individual and collective acts of violence may seem rather distant from the electrical discharges of neurons, we should remember that personality is not in the environment but in the nervous tissue. Possible solutions to undesirable aggression obviously will not be found in the use of ESB. This is only a methodology for investigation of the problem and acquisition of necessary information about the brain mechanisms involved. It is well known that medical treatment of cardiac patients is based on anatomical and physiological studies of the heart, and that without this information it would not have been possible to discover new drugs or to give effective medical advice. Similarly, without knowledge of the brain it will be difficult to correlate social causality with individual reactivity.
Anxiety, Fear, and Violence Evoked by ESB in Man
Anxiety has been considered the alpha and omega of psychiatry. It is one of the central themes of existential philosophy, and it shades the normal – and abnormal – life of most human beings. Several emotional states may be classified under the heading of anxiety, including fear, fright, panic, and terror, which are variations of the same basic experience. One of the most complex mental disturbances, unreasonable or excessive anxiety, including phobias and compulsive obsessions, often does not respond to standard therapies, and in some instances it has been improved by electrocoagulation of discrete areas of the frontal pole. Grey Walter (234) has claimed an 85 per cent total social recovery in a group of sixty patients with anxiety and obsessions treated with carefully dosified coagulations made through electrodes implanted in the frontal lobes.
Without entering into semantic discussions, we may consider anxiety an emotional state of conscious or subconscious tension related to real or imaginary threats to psychological or physical individual integrity. A mild degree of anxiety may mobilize, while excessive degrees may paralyze somatic and mental activity. Beyond a certain limit, anxiety has unpleasant characteristics. In normal circumstances, it is produced, as is any other emotion,
by sensory inputs from the environment and by recollections, both of which require mental elaboration of messages which may be influenced by humoral and neuronal factors. In addition, there is abundant evidence that anxiety and fear may be induced as either a primary or a secondary category of response by direct electrical stimulation of the brain. The perception or expectancy of pain can be frightening, and in some cases when ESB produced localized or generalized discomfort, patients have expressed concern about continuation of the exploratory procedures. In addition to the natural fear of possible further discomfort, there may have been a component of primary anxiety which would be difficult to evaluate.
Destruction of discrete parts of the thalamus produces relief from anxiety neurosis and obsessive-compulsive neurosis which is probably related to the interruption of tonic pathways to the frontal lobes. Stimulation of the thalamic nucleus, however, very seldom produces anxiety, and the reports of patients are limited to feelings of weakness, being different, dizziness, floating, and something like alcoholic intoxication (214).
Clearer demonstrations of direct induction of fear without any other accompanying sensations have been reported by several investigators. Lesions in the medial thalamus give effective pain relief with a minimal amount of sensory loss, and for this reason this area has often been explored electrically in cancer patients. In some cases it has produced acute anxiety attacks, which one patient vividly described as: “It’s rather like the feeling of having just been missed by a car and leaped back to the curb and went B-r-r-r.” Something in his guts felt very unpleasant, very unusual, and he certainly did not want to feel like that again (73). The surprising fact is that the unpleasant sensation of fear was felt in one side of the body, contralateral to the brain stimulation, Sweet (221) has reported the case of a very intelligent patient, the dean of a graduate school, who after a unilateral sympathectomy to treat his upper limb hyperhydrosis, found that his previous and customary sensation of shivering while listening to a stirring passage of music occurred in only one side and he could
not be thrilled in the sympathectomized half of his body. These cases were interesting because emotions are usually experienced in a rather diffuse and bilateral fashion unless innervation has been specifically interrupted.
The role of the thalamus in the integration of fear is also suggested by the study of a female patient whose spontaneous crippling attacks of anxiety of overwhelming intensity had led to several suicide attempts and a chronic state of depression and agitation quite refractory to drugs and psychotherapy. Stimulation of the dorsolateral nucleus of the thalamus evoked precisely the same type of attack at a level of symptomatology directly proportional to the applied intensity. It was possible to find the electrical threshold for a mild anxiety or to increase it to higher levels simply by turning the dial of the stimulator. “One could sit with one’s hand on the knob and control the level of her anxiety” (73).
in one of our female patients, stimulation of a similar area in the thalamus induced a typical fearful expression and she turned to either side, visually exploring the room behind her. When asked what she was doing, she replied that she felt a threat and thought that something horrible was going to happen. This fearful sensation was perceived as real, and she had a premonition of imminent disaster of unknown cause. The effect was reliable on different days and was not altered by the use of lights and a movie camera to document the finding. Her motor activity and choice of words varied according to the environmental setting, but her facial expression and acute sensation of nonspecific, unexplainable, but real fear were similar following different stimulations. The response started with a delay of less than one second, lasted for as long as the stimulation, and did not leave observable aftereffects. The patient remembered her fear but was not upset by the memory.
Some patients have displayed anxiety and restlessness when the pallidum was stimulated at frequencies above 8 cycles per second, and they also perceived a constriction or warmth in the chest (123). A few reported a “vital anxiety in the left chest,”
and screamed anxiously if the stimulation was repeated. Intense emotional reactions have been evoked by stimulation of the amygdaloid nucleus, but responses varied in the same patient even with the same parameters of stimulation. The effect was sometimes rage, sometimes fear. One patient explained, “I don’t know what came over me. I felt like air animal” (100).
The sensation of fear without any concomitant pain has also been observed as a result of ESB of the temporal lobe (230). This effect may be classified as “illusion of fear” (174) because there was obviously no real reason to be afraid apart from the artificial electrical activation of some cerebral structures. In every case, however, fear is a cerebral interpretation of reality which depends on a variety of cultural and experiential factors with logical or illogical reasons. The fact that it can be aroused by stimulation of a few areas of the brain allows the exploration of the neuronal mechanisms of anxiety, and as a working hypothesis we may suppose that the emotional qualities of fear depend on the activation of determined structures located probably in the thalamus, amygdala, and a few other as yet unidentified nuclei. This activation usually depends on the symbolic evaluation of coded sensory inputs, but the threshold for this activation may be modified-and also reached-by direct application of ESB. Knowledge of intracerebral mechanisms of anxiety and fear will permit the establishment of a more rational pharmacological and psychiatric treatment of many suffering patients, and may also help its to understand and ameliorate the increasing level of anxiety in our civilization.
It is also known that in some tragic cases, abnormal neurological processes may be the causal factor for unreasonable and uncontrollable violence. Those afflicted may often hurt or even kill either strangers or close family members usually treated with affection. A typical example was J. P., a charming and attractive 20-year-old girl with a history of encephalitis at the age of eighteen months and many crises of temporal lobe seizures and grand mal attacks for the last ten years (6o). Her main social problem was the frequent and unpredictable occurrence of rage
which on more than a dozen occasions resulted in an assault on another person such as inserting a knife into a stranger’s myocardium,or a pair of scissors into the pleural cavity of a nurse. The patient was committed to a ward for the criminally insane, and electrodes Were implanted in her amygdala and hippocampus for exploration of possible neurological abnormalities. As she was rather impulsive, confinement in the EEG recording room was impractical, and she became one of the first clinical cases instrumented with a stimoceiver, which made it possible to study intracerebral activity without restraint (see Figure 4). Depth recordings taken while the patient moved freely around the ward demonstrated marked electrical abnormalities in both amygdala and hippocampus. Spontaneous periods of aimless walking coincided with an increase in the number of high-voltage sharp waves. At other times, the patient’s speech was spontaneously inhibited for several minutes during which she could not answer any questions although she retained partial comprehension and awareness. These periods coincided with bursts of spike activity localized to the optic radiation (Figure 17). Transitory emotional excitement was related with an increase in the number and duration of 16-cycles-per-second bursts; but the patient read papers, conversed with other people, and walked around without causing any noticeable alterations in the telemetered intracerebral electrical activity.
During depth explorations, it was demonstrated that crises of assaultive behavior similar to the patient’s spontaneous bursts of anger could be elicited by radio stimulation of contact 3 in the right amygdala. A 1.2 milliampere excitation of this point was applied while she was playing the guitar and singing with enthusiasm and skill. At the seventh second of stimulation, she threw away the guitar and in a fit of rage launched an attack against the wall and then paced around the floor for several, minutes, after which she gradually quieted down and resumed her usual cheerful behavior. This effect was repeated on two different days. The fact that only the contact located in the amygdala induced rage suggested that the neuronal field around
Telemetric recording of electrical activity of the brain in one of the patients shown in Figure 4. The location of the contacts was as follows: Channel 1.: amygdaloid nucleus; Channel 2.: anterior optic radiation; Channel 3.: posterior optic radiation. A: spontaneous bursts appearing in Channel 1. were more prominent when the patient was psychologically excited. B: sudden spontaneous arrest of speech coincided with bursts of spikes in Channel 3. C: control recordings were unmodified by friendly behavior or by different types of motor activity such as walking and reading (60).
contact 3 was involved in the patient’s behavior problem, and this finding was of great clinical significance in the orientation of subsequent treatment by local coagulation.
The demonstration that amygdaloid stimulation may induce violent behavior has also been provided by other investigators. King (128) has described the case of a woman with feelings of depression and alienation, with an extremely flat tone of voice and a facial expression which was blank and unchanging during interviews, who upon stimulation of the amygdala with 5 milliamperes had greatly altered vocal inflections and an angry expression. During this time she said, “I feel like I want to get up from this chair! Please don’t let me do it! Don’t do this to me, I don’t want to be mean!” When the interviewer asked if she would like to hit him, the patient answered, “Yeah, I want to hit something. I want to act something and just tear it up. Take it so I won’t! ” She then handed her scarf to the interviewer who gave her a stack of paper, and without any other verbal exchange, she tore it into shreds saying, “I don’t like to feel like this.” When the level of stimulation was reduced to 4 milliamperes, her attitude changed to a broad smile, and she explained, “I know it’s silly, what I’m doing. I wanted to get up from this chair and run. I wanted to hit something, tear up something-anything. Not you, just anything. I just wanted to get up and tear. I had no control of myself.” An increase in intensity up to 5 milliamperes again resulted in similar aggressive manifestations, and she raised her arm as if to strike.
It is notable that although the patients seemed to be out of control in these two instances of electrically induced aggression, they did not attack the interviewer, indicating that they were aware of their social situation. This finding is reminiscent of the behavior of stimulated monkeys who directed their aggressiveness according to previous experience and social rank and did not dare to challenge the authority of well-established bosses, Apparently ESB can induce a state of increased violent reactivity which is expressed in accordance with individual structure and environmental circumstances. We may conclude therefore that
artificially evoked emotional change is only one more factor in the constellation of behavioral determinants.
Pleasurable Excitation of the Animal Brain
It is surprising that in science as well as in literature more attention has been paid to suffering than to happiness. The central theme of most novels is tragedy, while happy books are hard to find; excellent monographs have been published about pain, but similar studies of pleasure are nonexistent. Typically, in the monumental Handbook of the American Physiological Society (75), a full chapter is devoted to pain, and pleasure is not even listed in the general subject index. Evidently the pursuit of happiness has not aroused as much -scientific interest as the fear of pain.
In Psychological literature the study of reward is well represented, but even there it has been considered a second-rate sensation and perhaps an artifact of a diminution of pain. It has been postulated that a truly “pleasant” sensation could not exist because organisms have a continuous tendency to minimize incoming stimuli. Pleasure was thus considered a subjective name for the diminution of drive, the withdrawal of a strong stimulation, or the reduction of pain. This “pain reduction” theory (154) has been fruitful as a basis for psychological investigations, but it is gloomy to think that we live in a ‘world of punishment in which the only reality is suffering and that or brain can perceive different degrees of pain but no real pleasure. Interest in the earlier ideas of hedonism has been renewed by recent experimental studies. According to this theory, pain and pleasure are relatively independent sensations and can be evoked by different types of stimuli which are recognized by separate cerebral mechanisms. Behavior is considered to be motivated by stimuli which the organism, tries to minimize (pain) or by stimuli which the organism tries to maximize (pleasure). The brain is thought to have different systems for
the reception of these two kinds of inputs, and the psychological of pleasure or reward can be determined not only by tile state termination of pain but also by the onset of primary pleasure. The discovery of two anatomically distinct mechanisms in the brain, one for punishment, as mentioned earlier, and one for reward, provides a physiological basis for the dualistic motivation postulated in hedonism (62, 165).
The surprising fact is that animals of different species, including rats, cars, and monkeys, have voluntarily chosen to press a lever which provides electrical stimulation of specific cerebral areas. The demonstrations are highly convincing because animals which initially pressed a lever to obtain the reward of sugar pellets later pressed at similar or higher rates when electrical stimulation was substituted for food. These experiments showed conclusively that the animals enjoyed the electrical impulses which were delivered only at their own demand. Watching a rat or monkey stimulate its own brain is a fascinating spectacle. Usually each lever pressing triggers a brief 0.5-to-1.0 second brain stimulation which can be more rewarding than food. In a choice situation, hungry rats ran faster to reach tile self-stimulation lever than to obtain pellets, and they persistently pressed this lever, ignoring food within easy reach. Rats have removed obstacles, run mazes, and even crossed electrified floors to reach the lever that provided cerebral stimulation.
Not all areas of the brain involved in pleasurable effects appear equally responsive. The highest lever-pressing rates (of up to a remarkable 5,000 times per hour) were recorded by animals self-stimulating in the posterior hypothalamus; excitation of rhinencephalic structures (of only about 200 times per hour) was considered moderately rewarding; and in sensory or motor areas, animals self-stimulated at merely a chance level (of 10 to 25 times per hour), and these areas were classified as neutral. As should be expected, when stimulation was shifted from rewarding areas to nuclei in the punishment system in the same animals, they pressed the lever once and never went back,
showing that in the brain of the same animal there were two different groups of structures, one rewarding and the other aversive.
A systematic analysis of the neuroanatomical distribution of pleasurable areas in the rat (164) shows that 6o per cent of the brain is neutral, 35 per cent is rewarding, and only 5 per cent may elicit punishing effects. The idea that far more brain is involved in pleasure than in suffering is rather optimistic and gives hope that this predominance of the potential for pleasurable sensations can be developed into a more effective behavioral reality.
Because of the lack of verbal communication with animals, any ideas about what kind of pleasure, if any, may be experienced during ESB is a matter of speculation. There are some indications, however, that the perceived sensations could be related to anatomical differentiation of primary rewards of food and sex, because hungry animals self-stimulated at a higher rate in the middle hypothalamus, while administration of sexual hormones to castrated rats increased their lever pressing of more lateral hypothalamic points.
The controversial issue of how these findings in animals may relate to human behavior and the possible existence of areas involved in pleasure in the human brain has been resolved by the information obtained in patients with implanted electrodes.
Human Pleasure Evoked by ESB
On the basis of many studies during cerebral surgery, Penfield (174) has said of anger, joy, pleasure, and sexual excitement in the human brain that “so far as our experience goes, neither localized epileptic discharge nor electrical stimulation is capable of awakening any such emotion. One is tempted to believe that there are no specific cortical mechanisms associated with these emotions.” This statement still holds true for the cerebral cortex, but studies in human subjects with implanted electrodes have demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the depth of the
brain can induce pleasurable manifestations, as evidenced by the spontaneous verbal reports of patients, their facial expression and general behavior, and their desire to repeat the experience. In a group of twenty-three patients suffering from schizophrenia (98), electrical stimulation of the septal region, located deep in the frontal lobes, produced an enhancement of alertness sometimes accompanied by an increase in verbal output, euphoria, or pleasure. In a more systematic study in another group of patients, further evidence was presented the rewarding effects of septal stimulation (20, 99). One man suffering from narcolepsia was provided with a small stimulator and a built-in counter which recorded the number of times that he voluntarily stimulated each of several selected points in his brain during a period of seventeen weeks. The highest score was recorded front one point in the septal region, and the patient declared that pushing this particular button made him feel “good” as if he were building up to a sexual orgasm, although he was not able to reach the end point and often felt impatient and anxious. His narcolepsia was greatly relieved by pressing this ‘ septal button.” Another patient with psychomotor epilepsy also enjoyed septal self-stimulation, which again had the highest rate of buttton pressing and often induced sexual thoughts, Activation of the septal region by direct injection of acetylcholine produced local electrical changes in two epileptic patients and a shift in iiiood from disphoria to contentment and euphoria, usually with concomitant sexual motivation and some “orgastic sensations.”
Further information was provided by another group of sixty-five patients suffering from schizophrenia or Parkinson’s disease, in whom a total of 643 contacts were implanted, mainly in the anterior part of the brain (201). Results of ESB were grouped as follows: 360 points were “Positive I,” and with stimulation “the patients became relaxed, at ease, had a feeling of well-being, and/or were a little sleepy.” Another 31 points were “Positive II,” and “the patients were definitely changed . . . in a good mood, felt good. They were relaxed, at ease, and enjoyed themselves, frequently smiling. There was a slight euphoria, but the
behavior was adequate.” They sometimes wanted more stimulations. Excitation of another eight points evoked behavior classified as “Positive III,” when “the euphoria was definitely beyond normal limits. The patients laughed out loud, enjoyed themselves, and positively liked the stimulation, and wanted more.” ESB of another 38 points gave ambivalent results, and the patients expressed occasional pleasure or displeasure following excitation of the same area. From three other points, responses were termed “orgasm” because the patients initially expressed enjoyment and then suddenly were completely satisfied and did not want any more stimulation for a variable period of time. Finally, from about two hundred other points, ESB produced unpleasant reactions including anxiety, sadness, depression, fear, and emotional outbursts. One of the moving pictures taken in this study was very demonstrative, showing a patient with a sad expression and slightly depressed mood who smiled when a brief stimulation was applied to the rostral part of the brain, returning quickly to his usual depressed state, to smile again as soon as stimulation was reapplied. Then a ten-second stimulation completely changed his behavior and facial expression into a lasting pleasant and happy mood. Some mental patients have been provided with portable stimulators which they have used in self-treatment of depressive states with apparent clinical success.
These results indicate the need for careful functional exploration during brain surgery in order to avoid excessive euphoria or depression when positive or negative reinforcing areas are damaged. Emotional instability, in which the subject bursts suddenly into tears or laughter without any apparent reason, has been observed following some neurosurgical interventions. These major behavior problems might have been avoided by sparing the region involved in emotional regulation.
In our own experience, pleasurable sensations were observed in three patients with psychomotor epilepsy (50, 58, 109). The first case was V.P., a 36-year-old female with a long history of epileptic attacks which could not be controlled by medication.
Electrodes were implanted in her right temporal lobe and upon stimulation of a contact located in the superior part about thirty millimeters below the surface, the patient reported a pleasant tingling sensation in the left. side of her body “from my face down to the bottom of my legs.” She started giggling and making funny comments, stating that she enjoyed the sensation “very much.” Repetition of these stimulations made the patient more communicative and flirtatious, and she ended by openly expressing her desire to marry the therapist. Stimulation of other cerebral points failed to modify her mood and indicated the specificity of the evoked effect. During control interviews before and after ESB, her behavior was quite proper, without familiarity or excessive friendliness.
The second patient was J.M., an attractive, cooperative, and intelligent 30-year-old female who had suffered for eleven years from psychomotor and grand mal attacks which resisted medical therapy. Electrodes were implanted in her right temporal lobe, and stimulation of one of the points in the amygdala induced a pleasant sensation of relaxation and considerably increased her verbal output, which took on a more intimate character. This patient openly expressed her fondness for the therapist (who was new to her), kissed his hands, and talked about her immense gratitude for what was being done for her. A similar increase in verbal and emotional expression was repeated when the same point was stimulated on a different day, but it did not appear when other areas of the brain were explored. During control situations the patient was rather reserved and poised.
The third case was A.F., an 1 1-year-old boy with severe psychomotor epilepsy. Six days after electrode implantation in both temporal lobes, his fourth tape-recorded interview was carried out while electrical activity of the brain was continuously recorded and 5-second stimulations were applied in a prearranged sequence at intervals of about four minutes. The interviewer maintained an air of friendly interest throughout, usually without initiating conversation. After six other excitations, point LP located on the surface of the left temporal lobe was stim-
ulated for the first time, and there was an open and precipitous declaration of pleasure. The patient had been silent for the previous five-minute interval, but immediately after this stimulation lie exclaimed, “Hey! You can keep me here longer when you give me these; I like those.” He went on to insist that the ongoing brain tests made him feel good. Similar statements with an emphatic expression of “feeling good” followed eight of a total sixteen stimulations of this point during the ninety-minute interview. Several of these manifestations were accompanied by a statement of fondness for the male interviewer, and the last one was accompanied by a voluptuous stretch. None of these manifestations appeared during the control prestimulation period of twenty-six minutes or during the twenty-two minutes when other points were excited. Statistical analysis of the difference between the frequency of pleasurable expressions before and after onset of stimulations proved that results were highly significant (P < 0.00 1).
The open expressions of pleasure in this interview and the general passivity of behavior could be linked, more or less intuitively, to feminine strivings. It was therefore remarkable that in the next interview, performed in a similar manner, the patient’s expressions of confusion about his own sexual identity again appeared following stimulation of point LP. He suddenly began to discuss his desire to get married, but when asked, “To whom?” he did not immediately reply. Following stimulation of another point and a one-minute, twenty-second silence, the patient said, “I was thinking-there’s-I was saying this to you. How to spell ‘yes’-y-e-s. I mean y-o-s. No! ‘You’ ain’t y-e-o. It’s this. Y-o-u.” The topic was then completely dropped. The monitor who was listening from the next room interpreted this as a thinly veiled wish to marry the interviewer, and it ivas decided to stimulate the same site again after the prearranged schedule had been completed, During the following forty minutes, seven other points were stimulated, and the patient spoke about several topics of a completely different and unrelated content. Then LP was stimulated again, and the patient started
making references to the facial hair of the interviewer and continued by mentioning pubic hair and his having been the object of genital sex play in the past. He then expressed doubt about his sexual identity, saying, “I was thinkin’ if I was a boy or a girl-which one I’d like to be.” Following another excitation he remarked with evident pleasure: “You’re doin’ it now,” and then he said, “I’d like to be a girl.”
In the interpretation of these results it is necessary to consider the psychological context in which electrical stimulation occurs, because the personality configuration of the subject, including both current psychodynamic and psychogenetic aspects, may be an essential determinant of the results of stimulation. Expression of feminine strivings in our patient probably was not the exclusive effect of ESB but the expression of already present personality factors which were activated by the stimulation. The balance between drive and defense may be modified by ESB, as suggested by the fact that after one stimulation the patient said without apparent anxiety, “I’d like to be a girl,” but when this idea was presented to him by the therapist in a later interview without stimulation, the patient became markedly anxious and defensive. Minute-to-minute changes in personality function, influenced by the environment and by patient-interviewer relations, may modify the nature of specific responses, and these variables, which are difficult to assess, must be kept in mind.
Friendliness and Increased Conversation Under Electrical Control
Human relations evolve between the two opposite poles of love and hate which are determined by a highly complex and little understood combination of elements including basic drives, cultural imprinting, and refined emotional and intellectual characteristics. This subject has so many semantic and conceptual problems that few investigators have dared to approach it experimentally, and in spite of its essential importance, most
textbooks of psychology evade its discussion. To define friendliness is difficult although its identification in typical cases is easy, and in our daily life we are continuously evaluating and classifying personal contacts as friendly or hostile. A smiling face, attentive eyes, a receptive hand, related body posture, intellectual interest, ideological agreement, kind words, sympathetic comments, and expressions of personal acceptance are among the common indicators of cordial interpersonal relations. The expression of friendship is a part of social behavior which obviously requires contact between two or more individuals. A mutually pleasurable relation creates a history and provides each individual with a variety of optic, acoustic, tactile, and other stimuli which are received and interpreted with a “friendly bias.” The main characteristic of love and friendship is precisely that stimuli coming from a favored person are interpreted as more agreeable than similar stimuli originating from other sources, and this evaluation is necessarily related to neuronal activity.
Little is known about the cerebral mechanisms of friendliness, but as is the case for any behavioral manifestation, no emotional state is possible without a functioning brain, and it may be postulated that some cerebral structures are dispensable and others indispensable both for the interpretation of sensory inputs as amicable and for the expression of friendship. Strong support for this idea derives from the fact, repeatedly proved in neurosurgery, that destruction of some parts of the brain, such as the motor and sensory cortices, produces motor deficits without modifying affective behavior, while ablation of the frontal lobes may induce considerable alteration of emotional personality. Further support has been provided by electrical stimulation of the frontal lobes, which may induce friendly manifestations.
In patient A. F., mentioned earlier in connection with pleasurable manifestations, the third inter-view was characterized by changes in the character and degree of verbal output following stimulation of one point in the temporal cortex. Fourteen
stimulations were applied, seven of them through point RP located in the inferolateral part of the right frontal lobe cortex, and the other seven through contacts located on the cortex of the right temporal lobe and depth of the left and right temporal lobes. The interview started with about five minutes of lively conversation, and during the next ten minutes the patient gradually quieted down until he spoke only about five seconds during every subsequent two-minute period. Throughout the interview the therapist encouraged spontaneous expression by reacting compassionately, by joking with, urging, and reassuring the patient, and by responding to any information offered. The attitude never produced more than a simple reply and often not even that.
In contrast to this basic situation, there were six instances of sharp increase in verbal communication and its friendly content. Each of these instances followed within forty seconds after stimulation of point RP. The only exception was the last excitation of this point when the voltage had been changed. The increases in verbal activity were rapid bat brief and without any consistency in subject material, which was typical for the patient. Qualification and quantification of the patient’s conversation was made by analyzing the recorded typescript which was divided into two-minute periods and judged independently by two investigators who had no knowledge of the timing or location of stimulations. Comparison of the two-minute periods before and after these stimulations revealed a verbal increase from seventeen to eighty-eight words -and a greater number of friendly remarks, from six to fifty-three. These results were highly significant and their specificity was clear because no changes in verbalization were produced by stimulation of any of the other cerebral points. It was also evident that the evoked changes were not related to the interviewer’s rather constant verbal activity. It was therefore concluded that the impressive increase in verbal expression and friendly remarks was the result of electrical stimulation of a specific point on the cortex of the temporal lobe.
Chapter:15 Hallucinations, Recollections, and Illusions in Man
Hallucinations may be defined as false perceptions in the absence of peripheral sensory stimulation, and they probably depend on two processes: (1) the recollection of stored information and (2) its false interpretation as an extrinsic experience entering through sensory inputs. Very little is known about the cerebral mechanisms responsible for these phenomena, but apparently the frontotemporal region of the brain is somehow involved because its electrical stimulation may evoke hallucinations.
In some patients electrical stimulation of the exposed temporal lobe has produced the perception of music. Occasionally it was a determined tune which could be recognized and hummed by the subject, and in some cases it was as if a radio or record were being played in the operating room. The sound did not seem to be a recollection but resembled an actual experience in which instruments of an orchestra or words of a song were heard (174). These artificially induced hallucinations were not static but unfolded slowly while the electrode was held in place. A song was heard from beginning to end and not all at once; in a dream, familiar places were seen and well-known people spoke and acted.
Like spontaneous memories, the recollections induced by ESB could bring back the emotions felt at the time of the original experience, suggesting that neuronal mechanisms keep an
integrated record of the past, including all the sensory inputs (visual, auditory, proprioceptive, etc.) and also the emotional significance of events. Electrical stimulation activated only one memory without reawakening any of the other records which must be stored in close proximity. This fact suggests the existence of cerebral mechanisms of reciprocal inhibition which allow the orderly recall of specific patterns of memory without a flood of unmanageable amounts of stored information. In no case has brain stimulation produced two psychical experiences at the same time, and the responses have been on an all-or-nothing basis.
In one of our patients, complex sensory hallucinations were evoked on different days when the depth of the tip of the left temporal lobe was electrically stimulated. The patient said, “You know, I just felt funny, just now. . . . Right then all of a sudden somethin’ else came to me – these people -the way this person talked. This married couple-as though the fellow came into my mind-as though like he was saying somethin’ like oh my mind drifted for a minute-to somethin’ foolish… It seemed like he was coming out with some word – sayin’ some word silly.”
The fact that stimulation of the temporal lobe can induce complex hallucinations may be considered well established, and this type of research represents a significant interaction between neurophysiology and psychoanalysis (133). The mechanism of the evoked hallucinations, however, is far from clear, and it is difficult to know whether the experiences are new creations based on the recombination of items from memory storage and thus equivalent to psychotic hallucinations, or if the experiences are simply an exact playback of the past. In either case, the applied electricity is not “creating” a new phenomenon but is triggering the orderly appearance at the conscious level of materials from the past, mixed in some cases with present perceptions. The order in the stream of perceived information is perhaps one of the most interesting qualities of this behavior because it indicates something about the mechan-
isms for storage of information in the brain. Memory does not seem to be preserved as single items but as inter-related collections of events, like the pearls on a string, and by pulling any pearl we have access to the whole series in perfect order. If memory were organized in this way, it would be similar to the strings of amino acids forming molecules of proteins and carrying genetic messages. Electrical stimulation may increase general neuronal excitability; and the memory traces which at this moment have a lower threshold may consequently be reactivated, reaching the perceptual level and forming the content of the hallucinatory experience while exerting a reciprocal inhibit ory influence upon other traces. The excitability of individual traces may be modified by environmental factors and especially by the ideological content of the patient’s thoughts prior to stimulation. Thus electrical excitation of the same point may produce a series of thematically related hallucinatory experiences with different specific details, as was the case in the patients that we have investigated.
All sensory inputs suffer distortion during the normal process of personal interpretation, which is determined to a great extent by past experience and depends heavily on cultural factors. A baby looking at the moon may extend his arms in an attempt to catch it without realizing the remoteness of celestial bodies. By comparing past and present experiences, we learn to evaluate distance, size, intensity, and other qualities of inputs. The mechanisms for these evaluations do not seem to be genetically determined and are related to neuronal activity which may be influenced by direct stimulation of the brain. We must remember that our only way to be in touch with external reality is by transducing physical and chemical events of the surroundings into electrical and chemical sequences at the sensory receptor level. The brain is not in touch with the environmental reality but with its symbolic code transmitted by neuronal pathways. Within this frame of personal distortion, our lives evolve within a range of “normality.” Beyond this range, the distortion of perceptions qualifies as illusion. Illusions occur in a wide variety
of regressed mental states, during moments of keen anticipation, and as a primary manifestation in some epileptic discharges. An hallucination is a false perception in the absence of sensory inputs, while an illusion requires an external sensory source which is misinterpreted by the individual. This distinction is convenient, and it will be observed in our discussion, although in practice the terms often overlap.
The following phenomena have been observed in patients: (1) illusions (visual, auditory, labyrinthine, memory or déjà vu, sensation of remoteness or unreality, (2:) emotions (loneliness, fear, sadness), (3) psychical hallucinations (vivid memory or a dream as complex as life experience itself, and (4) forced thinking (stereotyped thoughts crowding into the mind). The first three groups of phenomena have been induced by different intracerebral stimulations. The most commonly reported effect has been the illusion of familiarity or déjà vu, which is characterized by surprise, interruption of conversation, and immediate spontaneous reporting that something unusual had just happened. For example, after a stimulation in the inferolateral part of the frontal lobe, one patient began to reply to the interviewer’s question but suddenly stopped and said, “I was thinkin’ – it felt like someone else was asking me that before.” Occasionally a previously initiated statement would be completed, but there was always an overt desire to express the perceived experience. The effect was clearly felt as intrusive although not disturbing. After several of these experiences, the patient recognized the special quality of the phenomena and said, for example, “Hey – I had another strike. I have a feeling that someone once told me that before.” The reliability of the response was remarkable, as was the consistency of its reporting, which was spontaneous and in most cases unsolicited. Each instance consisted usually of a reference to a remark made by the patient or the observer just before or during the moment of stimulation. The ideational content of the déjà vu was therefore dissimilar following each stimulation, but it always referred to the theme of the ongoing conversation,
The common feature was the sensation, expressed by the patient, that the words, ideas, or situation were similar to a previous experience. There was no new perception, only the interpretation of a novel input as one already known and familiar. There was no anxiety or fear in the perception of these illusions, and the apparent effect was one of interested surprise with a rather pleasant, amusing quality which made the patient more alert and communicative. He was eager to report that something similar had happened before, and the word “before” was used in reporting most of these incidents. No lasting traces could be detected, and after the sensation of familiarity had been expressed, the patient’s behavior continued in the same vein as before stimulation.
Knowledge of the cerebral mechanisms of psychic activities is so elemental that it would not be wise to speculate about the neuronal causality of illusions of familiarity. However, the fact that they may be elicited with reliability indicates the probable existence of interpretive functions in a determined area of the brain and opens the way for further experiments studies of how sensory inputs are processed by the individual. Penfield supposes that the cortex of the temporal lobe has a ganglionic mechanism which is utilized in the personal assessment of experiential reality regarding distance, sound, sight, intensity, strangeness, or familiarity of sensory inputs. This mechanism would be relatively independent from the mechanism utilized in the recording of contemporary experience and could be affected by epileptic abnormality or by direct brain stimulation. If we accept this hypothesis, we may assume that artificial influencing of electrical and chemical neuronal physiology could play a decisive role in the interpretation of reality with some independence from past experience and personal structure.
Chapter:16 Inhibitory Effects in Animals and Man
The existence of inhibitory functions in the central nervous system was described in the last century by Sechenov (198), Pavlov (171), and other founders of Russian psychology. Inhibition is a well-known phenomenon, and it has been the main theme of several recent symposiums (14, 63, 77). In spite of its importance, information about inhibitory mechanisms has not yet been integrated into the general body of scientific knowledge, and no chapter is devoted to this subject in most neurophysiological, psychological, and pharmacological textbooks. This lack of interest is surprising because as Morgan (158) wrote eighty years ago, “When physiologists have solved the problem of inhibition they will be in a position to consider that of volition,” and modern investigators maintain that inhibition and choice, rather than expression and learning, are the central problems of psychology (63). A shift in interest among scientists seems necessary to give inhibition its deserved importance, and the layman should also be aware of the decisive role of inhibition in the performance of most of our daily activities.
The sound of a theater crowd at intermission is a continuous roar without intelligible meaning. During the performance, however, noises and, individual conversations must be inhibited so that the voices of the actors can be heard. The brain is like a monumental theater with many millions of neurons capable of sending messages simultaneously and in many directions. Most of these neurons are firing nearly continuously, and their
sensitivity is like that of an enormous synaptic powder barrel which would explode in epileptic convulsions in the absence of inhibitory elements (122). During the organized performance of behavioral responses, most neurons and pathways must remain silent to allow meaningful orders to circulate toward specific goals. Inhibition is as important as excitation for the normal physiology of the brain, and some structures have specialized inhibitory functions. It should therefore be expected that, in addition to inducing the many types of activities described in previous sections, ESB can also block performance of such activities by exciting pools of neurons whose role is to inhibit these specific responses.
To behave is to choose one pattern among many. To think we must proceed in some orderly fashion repressing unrelated ideas; to talk we must select a sequence of appropriate words; and to listen we need to extract certain information from background noise. As stated by Ashby, we must “dispose once and for all of the idea…that the more communication there is within the brain the better” (6). As we know by personal experience, one of the problems of modern civilization is the confusion produced by a barrage of sensory inputs. We aye optically and acoustically assaulted by scientific literature, news media, propaganda, and advertisements. The defense is to inhibit the processing of sensory stimuli. Conscious and unconscious behavioral inhibition should not be considered passive processes but active restraints, like holding the reins of a powerful horse, which prevent the disorderly display of existing energies and potentialities.
Within the central nervous system, the reticular formation seems to be especially differentiated to modulate or inhibit the reception of sensory impulses, and some other cerebral structures including the thalamus, septum, and caudate nucleus also possess important inhibitory properties which can be activated by ESB. Three types of inhibitory processes may be induced by electrical stimulation: (1) sleep, which usually starts slowly and can easily be interrupted by sensory stimuli; (2) general inhibition, which
affects the whole body, starts as soon as ESB is applied, and persists in spite of sensory stimulation; and (3) specific inhibition, which appears immediately, affects only a determined pattern of behavior such as aggression or food intake, and may or may not be modified by sensory impulses.
One example of sleep induced in a monkey by application of ESB is shown in Figure 18. After 30 seconds of stimulation in the septal area, the animal’s eyes started closing, his head lowered, his body relaxed, and he seemed to fall into a natural state of sleep. In response to noise or to being touched, the animal would slowly open his eyes and look around with a dull expression for a few seconds before falling asleep again. Similar results have been obtained in free-ranging monkeys stimulated by radio. In this situation there was a gradual diminution of spontaneous activity, and then the animals began to doze, closing their eyes and assuming a typical sleeping posture with heads down and bodies curved over the knees. Theoretically it should be possible to treat chronic insomnia by brain stimulation, or to establish an artificial biological clock of rest and activity by means of programed stimulation of inhibitory and excitatory areas of the brain, but these challenging possibilities still require further investigations.
Motor arrest is an impressive effect consisting of sudden immobilization of the experimental animal in the middle of ongoing activities, which continue as soon as stimulation is over. It is as if a motion picture projector had been stopped, freezing the subjects in the position in which they were caught. A cat lapping milk has been immobilized with its tongue out, and a cat climbing stairs has been stopped between two steps.
Other types of inhibitory effects are more specific and restricted to only one determined behavioral category. Typical examples are the inhibition of food intake, aggressiveness, territoriality, and maternal behavior. As these specific inhibitions influence general activities, they could pass unnoticed do not if the experimental situation was not properly arranged. Obviously inhibition of appetite cannot be demonstrated in the
Sleep induced by electrical stimulation of the brain is similar to spontaneous sleep. Above, control. Below, the monkey falls alseep under ESB.
absence of food, nor can changes in maternal behavior be investigated when no babies are present. One example of how a hungry monkey loses appetite under the influence of brain excitation is presented in Figure 19. At the sight of a banana, the animal usually shows great interest, leaning forward to take the fruit, which he eats voraciously and with evident pleasure. However, his appetite is immediately inhibited as soon as the caudate nucleus is electrically stimulated. Then the monkey looks with some interest at the banana without Teaching for it, and may even turn his face away, clearly expressing refusal. During stimulation the animal is well aware of his surroundings, Reacting normally to noises, moving objects, and threats, but he is just not interested in food. If a monkey is stimulated when his mouth is full of banana, he immediately stops chewing, takes the banana out of his mouth, and throws it away.
Close to the hunger inhibitory area there is a region which is involved in inhibition of aggressive behavior. When this part of the caudate nucleus is stimulated (Figure 2o), the normally ferocious macacus rhesus becomes tranquil, and instead of grabbing, scratching, and biting any approaching object, he sits peacefully and the investigator can safely touch his mouth and pet him. During this time the animal is aware of the environment but has simply lost his usual irritability, showing that violence can be inhibited without making the animal sleepy or depressed. Identification of the cerebral areas responsible for ferocity would make it possible to block their function and diminish undesirable aggressiveness without disturbing general behavioral reactivity.
Similar results have been obtained in chimpanzees, and one example is presented in Figure 19. Chimpanzee Carlos was an affectionate animal who enjoyed playing with the investigators and had learned a variety of tricks including throwing and catching a ball. Enticed by an expected food reward, he sat voluntarily in the restraining chair where recordings and experiments were conducted. Like most chimpanzees, Carlos was
The normal reaction of a monkey is to stretch its arms and body to take an offered banana (above left). Appetite is immediately inhibited by stimulation of the caudate nucleus (below left). The monkey is not interested in food (above) and even turns away from the fruit (53). Photo: Erick Schaal.
Rhesus monkies are usually ferocious and will often launch attacks, trying to catch and bite the observers (above). This ferocity is inhibited during stimulation of the claudate nucleus, and then (below) it is safe to touch the animal, which extends its arms to meet the observer’s hands without making any threatening gestures. (53).
Chimpanzee Carlos reacts with offensive-defensive manifestations when touched by a sranger (left). During claudate stimulation, the chimpanzee is inhibited and can be teased without evoking any response.
rather temperamental and was easily provoked into a tantrum by being punished, frustrated, or merely teased. He liked to be touched by people he knew but not by strangers. Figure 21 (left) shows his defensive, anxious reaction when approached by an unfamiliar investigator. His fear and aggressive manifestations were, however, completely inhibited during electrical stimulation of the caudate nucleus, as shown in Figure 21 (right). The animal displayed no emotion, appeared peaceful, and could be teased without any resulting disturbance.
Other experiments in monkeys have also confirmed the pacifying possibilities of ESB. In the autocratic social structure of a monkey colony the boss enjoys a variety of privileges such as choosing female partners, feeding first, displacing other animals, and occupying most of the cage while the other monkeys avoid his proximity and crowd together in a far comer (s ee Figure 22). This hierarchical position is maintained by subtle communication of gestures and postures: a boss may look directly at a submissive member of the group who will glance only furtively at his superior, and the boss may paw the floor and threaten by opening his mouth or uttering a warning cry if any low-ranking animal does not keep a suitable distance. This social dominance has been abolished by stimulation applied for 5 seconds once a minute for one hour to the caudate nucleus in the boss monkey. During this period the anirnal’s facial expression appeared more peaceful both to the investigator and to the other animals, who started to circulate freely around the cage without observing their usual respect. They actually ignored the boss, crowding around him without fear. During the stimulation hour, the boss’s territoriality completely disappeared, his walking time diminished, and he performed no threatening or aggressive acts against other monkeys in the colony. It was evident that this change in behavior had been determined by brain stimulation because about ten minutes after ESB was discontinued, the boss had reasserted his authority and the other animals feared him as before. His territoriality was as well established as during control periods, and he enjoyed his customary privileges.
Monkey colonies from autocratic societies in which the territorially of the boss is clearly shown. He occupies more than half of the cage (above). Radio stimulation of an inhibitory area of the brain (below) modifies the boss’s facial expressions, and the other monkeys crowd fearlessly around the former boss in his own corner.
The old dream of an individual overpowering the strength of a dictator by remote control has been fulfilled, at least in our monkey colonies, by a combination of neurosurgery and electronics, demonstrating the possibility of intraspecies instrumental manipulation of hierarchical organization. As shown in Figure 23, a monkey named Ali, who was the powerful and ill-tempered chief of a colony, often expressed his hostility symbolically by biting his hand or by threatening other members of the group. Radio stimulation in Ali’s caudate nucleus blocked his usual aggressiveness so effectively that the animal could be caught inside the cage without danger or difficulty. During stimulation he might walk a few steps, but lie never attempted to attack another animal. Then a lever was attached to the cage wall, and if it was pressed, it automatically triggered a five seconds’ radio stimulation of Ali. Front time to time some of the submissive monkeys touched the lever, which was located close to the feeding tray, triggering the stimulation of Ali. A female monkey named Elsa soon discovered that Ali’s aggressiveness could be inhibited by pressing the lever, and when Ali threatened her, it was repeatedly observed that Elsa responded by lever pressing. Her attitude of looking straight at the boss was highly significant because a submissive monkey would not dare to do so, for fear of immediate retaliation. The total number of Ali’s aggressive acts diminished on the days when the lever was available, and although Elsa did not become the dominant animal, she was responsible for blocking many attacks against herself and for maintaining a peaceful coexistence within the whole colony.
Appeasement of instinctive aggressiveness has also been demonstrated in an animal species which for generations has been bred to increase its ferocious behavior: the brave bull. Some races of bulls have been genetically selected for their aggressive behavior just as others have been bred for farm work or meat supply. Brave bulls are stronger and more agile than their tamer relatives, and these differences in appearance and behavior must be supported at the neurophysiological level by different
Above, Ali, the boss of the colony, expresses his ill temper by biting his own hand. Below, a submissive monkey, Elsa, has learned to press a lever which triggers radio stimulation of Ali, inhibiting his aggressive behavior (51).
mechanisms of responses. The sight of a person, which is neutral for a tame bull, will trigger a deadly attack in a brave one. If we could detect functional differences in the brains of these two breeds we could discover some clues about the neurological basis of aggression. This was the reason for implanting electrodes in the brains of several bulls. After surgery, different cerebral points were explored by radio stimulation while the animal was free in a small farm ring. Motor effects similar to those observed in cats and monkeys were evoked, including head turning, lifting of one leg, and circling. Vocalizations were often elicited, and in one experiment to test the reliability of results, a point was stimulated too times and too consecutive “moo’s” were evoked.
It was also repeatedly demonstrated that cerebral stimulation produced inhibition of aggressive behavior, and a bull in full charge could be abruptly stopped, as shown in Figure 24. The result seemed to be a combination of motor effect, forcing the bull to stop and to turn to one side, plus behavioral inhibition of the aggressive drive. Upon repeated stimulation, these animals were rendered less dangerous than usual, and for a period of several minutes would tolerate the presence of investigators in the ring without launching any attack.
Maternal behavior is one of the instincts most widely shared by mammals, and a baby rhesus monkey enjoys the first months of his life resting in the arms of the mother, who spends most of her time hugging, nursing, grooming, and taking care of him. If the pair are forcibly separated, the mother becomes very disturbed and expresses her anxiety by prowling about restlessly, threatening observers, and calling to her baby with a special cooing sound. It is promptly reciprocated by the little one, who is also extremely anxious to return to the protective maternal embrace. This strong bond can be inhibited by ESB, as demonstrated in one of our colonies, consisting of Rose and Olga with their respective babies, Roo and Ole, plus a male monkey. Maternal affection was expressed as usual without being handicapped by the presence of electrodes implanted in
both females (Figure 25). Several simple motor effects evoked by ESB (such as head turning or flexion of the arm) did not disrupt mother-infant relations, but when a 10-second radio stimulation was applied to the mesencephalon of Rose, an aggressive attitude was evoked with rapid circling around the cage and self-biting of the hand, leg, or flank. For the next eight to ten minutes, maternal instinct was disrupted, and Rose completely lost interest in her baby, ignoring his tender calls and rejecting his attempts to approach her. Little Roo looked rather disoriented and sought refuge and warmth with the other mother, Olga, who accepted both babies without hesitation. About ten minutes after ESB, Rose regained her natural maternal behavior and accepted Roo in her arms. This experiment was repeated several times on different days with similar disruptive results for the mother-infant relation. It should be concluded, therefore, that maternal behavior is somehow dependent on the proper functioning of rnesencephalic structures and that short ESB applied in this area is able to block the maternal instinct for a period of several minutes.
Information about inhibitory effects induced by electrical stimulation of the human brain is more limited than our knowledge about inhibition in animals. The subject has great importance, however, because one of the primary aims of human therapy is to inhibit undesirable sensations or excessive neuronal activities. Some patients experience a type of “intractable pain” which cannot be alleviated by the usual analgesic drugs, and their unbearable suffering could be blocked by direct intervention in brain structures where sensations reach the perceptual level of consciousness. Illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and chorea are characterized by continuous involuntary movements maintained by neuronal discharges originating in specific cerebral structures which could be inhibited by suitable therapy. Assaultive behavior constitutes one of the most disturbing symptoms of a group of mental illnesses and is probably related to the abnormal reactivity of limbic and reticular areas of the brain. Epilepsy is caused by explosive bursts of electrical dis-
Brave bulls are dangerous animals which will attack any intruder into the arena. The animal in full charge can be abruptly stopped (above) by radio stimulation of the brain. After several stimulations, there is a lasting inhibition of aggressive behavior.
Above, maternal behavior is tenderly expressed by both mother monkeys, Rose and Olga, who hug, groom, and nurse their babies, Roo and Ole. Below, radio stimulation of Rose for ten seconds in the mesencephalon
evoked a rage response expressed by self-biting and abandoning her baby, Roo. For the next ten minutes Rose has lost all her maternal interest (above), ignoring the appealing calls of Roo who seeks refuge with the other mother.
Below, Rose is sucking her foot and still ignoring her baby.
charges which might be inhibited at their original source. Anxiety poses very difficult therapeutic problems, and its basic mechanism might be traced to the increased reactivity of specific areas of the brain. All these disturbances could be cured, or at least diminished, if we had a better knowledge of their anatomical and functional bases and could inhibit the activity of neurons responsible for the phenomena.
in the near future, important advances may be expected in this field, and already we have some initial clinical information demonstrating that ESB can induce inhibitory effects in man. For example, ESB applied to the supplementary motor cortex has slowed down or completely arrested voluntary motor activity without producing pain or any concomitant loss of consciousness (174). In other cases, stimulation of the frontotemporal region has caused an “arrest response characterized by sudden cessation of voluntary movements which may be followed by confusion, inappropriate or garbled speech, and overt changes of mood (128, 186). More interesting from the therapeutic point of view is the fact that abnormal hyperkinetic movements have been inhibited for the duration of the applied ESB, allowing patients to perform skilled acts which were otherwise impossible. In these cases, a small portable instrument could perhaps be used by the patient to stimulate his own brain in order to inhibit abnormal motility temporarily and restore useful skills (160).
Somnolence with inexpressive faces, tendency to lower the eyelids, and spontaneous complaint of sleepiness, but without impairment of consciousness, has been produced in some patients by stimulation of the fornix and thalamus (7, 199). In some cases, sleep with pleasant dreams has been induced, and occasionally sleep or awakening could be obtained from the same cerebral point by using a slow or high frequency of stimulation (96, 229). Diminished awareness, lack of normal insight, and impairment of ability to think have been observed by several investigators during excitation of different points of the limbic system (74, 120). Often the patients performed automatisms such . as undressing or fumbling, without remembering the incidents
afterward. Some of our patients said they felt as if their minds were blank or as if they had been drinking a lot of beer. These results indicate that Consciousness may be related to specific mechanisms located in determined areas of the brain. They contrast with the full awareness preserved when other areas of the brain were stimulated.
Arrest of speech has been most common of all inhibitory effects observed during electrical stimulation of the human brain (8), and this fact is probably due to the extensive representation of the speech areas in the temporal lobe, and also to the facility of exploring verbal expression just by conversing with the patients. The most typical effect is cessation of counting. For example, one of our female patients was asked to count numbers, starting from one. When she had counted to fourteen, ESB was applied, and speech was immediately interrupted, without changes in respiration or in facial expression, and without producing fear or anxiety. When stimulation ceased seconds later, the patient immediately resumed counting. She said that she did not know why she had stopped; although she had heard the interviewer encouraging her to continue, she had been unable to speak, If the same stimulation was applied while the patient was silent, no effect could be detected by the observer or by the patient herself. In other cases, patients have been able to read and comprehend or to write messages that they were temporarily unable to verbalize (200).
It is known that ESB activation of pleasurable areas of the brain can inhibit pain Perception in animals (42, 146), and similar results have also been reported in man, with an immediate relief of pain following septal stimulation (98). Because of the multiplicity of pathways in the nervous system which can transmit disagreeable sensations, it is often not possible to block all of them, and to alleviate unbearable suffering it may be easier to inhibit the cerebral structures involved in the psychological evaluation of pain, blocking the components of anxiety and diminishing the subjective sensation of unpleasantness.
There are also a few reports indicating that abnormal violence may be reduced by ESB: Heath has a movie showing a patient who self-stimulated his own brain in order to suppress an aggressive mood as it developed, and we have described a case in whom crises of antisocial conduct during which the patient attacked members of his own family were considerably diminished by repeated stimulations of the amygdaloid nucleus (60).
We are only at the beginning of our experimental understanding of the inhibitory mechanisms of behavior in animals and man, but their existence has already been well substantiated. It is clear that manifestations as important as aggressive responses depend not only on environmental circumstances but also on their interpretation by the central nervous system where they can be enhanced or totally inhibited by manipulating the reactivity of specific intracerebral structures.
Violence, including its extreme manifestation of war, is determined by a variety of economic and ideological factors; but we must realize that the elite who make the decisions, and even the individual who obeys orders and holds a rifle, require for their behavioral performance the existence of a series of intracerebral electrical signals which could be inhibited by other conflicting signals generating in areas such as the caudate nucleus. Inhibitory areas of the central nervous system can be activated by electrical stimulation as well as by the physiological impact of sensory inputs which carry messages, ideas, and patterned behavior. Reception of information from the environment causes electrical and chemical changes in the brain substance, and the stimuli shape the functional characteristics of individual interpretation and integration, determining the degree and quality of his reactions. Human relations are not going to be governed by electrodes, but they could be better understood if we considered not only environmental factors but also the intracerebral mechanisms responsible for their reception and elaboration.
Chapter 21: Ethical Considerations [MY Comment: Ha What a Joke!]
Electrical Manipulation of the Psyche
The most alarming aspect of ESB is that psychological reactivity can be influenced by applying a few volts to a determined area of the brain. This fact has been interpreted by many people
as a disturbing threat to human integrity. In the past, the individual could face risks and pressures with preservation of his own identity. His body could be tortured, his thoughts and desires could be challenged by bribes, by emotions, and by public opinion, and his behavior could be influenced by environmental circumstances, but he always had the privilege of deciding his own fate, of dying for an ideal without changing his mind. Fidelity to our emotional and intellectual past gives each of us a feeling of transcendental stability-and perhaps of immortality-which is more precious than life itself.
New neurological technology, however, has a refined efficiency. The individual is defenseless against direct manipulation of the brain because he is deprived of his most intimate mechanisms of biological reactivity. In experiments, electrical stimulation of appropriate intensity always prevailed over free will; and, for example, flexion of the hand evoked by stimulation of the motor cortex cannot be voluntarily avoided. Destruction of the frontal lobes produced changes in effectiveness which are beyond any personal control.
The possibility of scientific annihilation of personal identity, or even worse, its purposeful control, has sometimes been considered a future threat more awful than atomic holocaust. Even physicians have expressed doubts about the propriety of physical tampering with the psyche, maintaining that personal identity should be inviolable, that any attempt to modify individual behavior is unethical, and that method and related research -which can influence the human brain should be banned. The prospect of any degree of physical control of the mind provokes a variety of objections: theological objections because it affects free will, moral objections because it affects individual responsibility, ethical objections because it may block self-defense mechanisms, philosophical objections because it threatens personal identity.
These objections, however, are debatable. A prohibition of scientific advance is obviously naive and unrealistic. It could not be universally imposed, and, more important, it is not
knowledge itself but its improper use which should be regulated. A knife is neither good nor bad; but it may be used by either a surgeon or an assassin. Science should be neutral, but scientists should take sides (242). The mind is not a static, inborn entity owned by the individual and self-sufficient, but the dynamic organization of sensory perceptions of the external world, correlated and reshaped through the internal anatomical and functional structure of the brain. Personality is not an intangible, immutable way of reacting, but a flexible process in continuous evolution, affected by its medium. Culture and education are meant to shape patterns of reaction which are not innate in the human organism; they are meant to impose limits on freedom of choice. Moral codes may vary completely from civilization to civilization. Polygamy was acceptable in biblical times, and it is still practiced among Moslems, but it is rejected by many other civilizations with strong social, legal, religious, and educational pressures to make behavior monogamous. Of course there is no physical impediment to the acquisition of half a dozen wives – at least until the law or the ladies catch up – but then we enter into a play of forces, into the dynamic equilibrium among all of the elements which determine behavioral choice. If there are very strong reasons to react in a particular way (for example, to have only one wife), the chance of living by a different custom is so slim as to be negligible.
This is precisely the role of electrical stimulation of the brain: to add a new factor to the constellation of behavioral determinants. The result as shown experimentally in animals is an algebraic summation, with cerebral stimulation usually prepotent over spontaneous react ions. It is accepted medical practice to try and modify the antisocial or abnormal reactions of mental patients. Psychoanalysis, the use of drugs such as energizers and tranquilizers, the application of insulin or electroshock, and other varieties of psychiatric treatment are all aimed at influencing the abnormal personality of the patient in order to change his undesirable mental characteristics. The possible use, therefore, of implanted electrodes in mental patients should not
pose unusual ethical complications if the accepted medical rules are followed. Perhaps the limited efficiency of standard psychiatric procedures is one reason that they have not caused alarm among scientists or laymen. Psychoanalysis requires a long time, and a person can easily withdraw his cooperation and refuse to express intimate thoughts. Electroshock is a crude method of doubtful efficacy in normal people. Although electrical stimulation of the brain is still in the initial stage of Its development, it is in contrast far more selective and powerful; it may delay a heart beat, move a finger, bring a word to memory, or set a determined behavioral tone.
When medical indications are clear and the standard therapeutic procedures have failed, most patients and doctors are willing to test a new method, provided that the possibility of success outweighs the risk of worsening the situation. The crucial decision to start applying a new therapeutic method to human patients requires a combination of intelligent evaluation of data, knowledge of comparative neurophysiology, foresight, moral integrity, and Courage. Excessive aggressiveness in a doctor may cause irreparable damage, but too much caution may deprive patients of needed help. The surgical procedure of lobotomy was perhaps applied to many mental patients too quickly, before its dangers and limitations were understood; but pallidectomy and thalamotomy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease encountered formidable initial opposition before attaining their present recognition and respected status.
While pharmacological and surgical treatment of sufferers of mental illness is accepted as proper, people with other behavioral deviations pose a different type of ethical problem. They may be potentially dangerous to themselves and to society when their mental functions are maintained within normal limits and only one aspect of their personal conduct is socially unacceptable. The rights of an individual to obtain appropriate treatment must be weighed with a professional evaluation of his behavioral problems and their possible neurological basis-which necessitates a value judgment of the person’s behavior in comparison
with accepted norms. One example will illustrate these considerations.
In the early 1950s, a patient in a state mental hospital approached Dr. Hannibal Hamlin and me requesting help. She was an attractive 24-year-old woman of average intelligence and education who had a long record of arrests for disorderly conduct, She had been repeatedly involved in bar brawls in which she incited men to fight over her and had spent most of the preceding few years either in jail or in mental institutions. The patient expressed a strong desire as well as an inability to alter her conduct, and because psychiatric treatment had failed, she and her mother urgently requested that some kind of brain surgery be performed in order to control her disreputable, impulsive behavior. They asked specifically that electrodes be implanted to orient possible electrocoagulation of a limited cerebral area; and if that wasn’t possible, they wanted lobotomy.
Medical knowledge and experience at that time could not ascertain whether ESB or the application of cerebral lesions could help to solve this patient’s problem, and surgical intervention was therefore rejected. When this decision was explained, both the patient and her mother reacted with similar anxious comments, asking, “What is the future? Only jail or the hospital? Is there no hope?” This case revealed the limitations of therapy and the dilemma of possible behavioral control. Supposing that long-term stimulation of a determined brain structure could influence the tendencies of a patient to drink, flirt, and induce fights; would it be ethical to change her personal characteristics? People are changing their character by self-medication through hallucinogenic drugs, but do they have the right to demand that doctors administer treatment that will radically alter their behavior? What are the limits of individual rights and doctors’ obligations?
As science seems to be approaching the possibility of controlling many aspects of behavior electronically and chemically, these questions must be answered. If, as in the case of this patient, the deviation of behavior conflicts with society so seriously as
to deprive her of her personal freedom, medical intervention could be justified. The case of habitual criminal conduct is another example of this type of problem. Therapeutic decisions related to psychic manipulation require moral integrity and ethical education. Scientific training concentrates mainly in natural sciences and often neglects the study and assimilation of ethical codes, considering them beyond the realm of science. Perhaps it is often forgotten that the investigator needs a set of convictions and principles, not only to administrate grant money, to give proper credit to the work of others, and to be civilized with his colleagues, but especially to direct his life and his research, and to foresee the implications of his own discoveries.
There are functional differences between the right and left amygdala. In one study, electrical stimulations of the right amygdala induced negative emotions, especially fear and sadness. In contrast, stimulation of the left amygdala was able to induce either pleasant (happiness) or unpleasant (fear, anxiety, sadness) emotions. Other evidence suggests that the left amygdala plays a role in the brain’s reward system.
Each side holds a specific function in how we perceive and process emotion. The right and left portions of the amygdala have independent memory systems, but work together to store, encode, and interpret emotion.
The right hemisphere is associated with negative emotion. It plays a role in the expression of fear and in the processing of fear-inducing stimuli. Fear conditioning, which is when a neutral stimulus acquires aversive properties, occurs within the right hemisphere. When an individual is presented with a conditioned, aversive stimulus, it is processed within the right amygdala, producing an unpleasant or fearful response. This emotional response conditions the individual to avoid fear-inducing stimuli.
The right hemisphere is also linked to declarative memory, which consists of facts and information from previously experienced events and must be consciously recalled. It also plays a significant role in the retention of episodic memory. Episodic memory consists of the autobiographical aspects of memory, permitting you to recall your personal emotional and sensory experience of an event. This type of memory does not require conscious recall. The right amygdala plays a role in the association of time and places with emotional properties.
The amygdala is one of the best-understood brain regions with regard to differences between the sexes. The amygdala is larger in males than females in children ages 7–11, in adult humans, and in adult rats.
In addition to size, other differences between men and women exist with regards to the amygdala. Subjects’ amygdala activation was observed when watching a horror film and subliminal stimuli. The results of the study showed a different lateralization of the amygdala in men and women. Enhanced memory for the film was related to enhanced activity of the left, but not the right, amygdala in women, whereas it was related to enhanced activity of the right, but not the left, amygdala in men. One study found evidence that on average, women tend to retain stronger memories for emotional events than men.
The right amygdala is also linked with taking action as well as being linked to negative emotions, which may help explain why males tend to respond to emotionally stressful stimuli physically. The left amygdala allows for the recall of details, but it also results in more thought rather than action in response to emotionally stressful stimuli, which may explain the absence of physical response in women.
In complex vertebrates, including humans, the amygdalae perform primary roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events. Research indicates that, during fear conditioning, sensory stimuli reach the basolateral complexes of the amygdalae, particularly the lateral nuclei, where they form associations with memories of the stimuli. The association between stimuli and the aversive events they predict may be mediated by long-term potentiation, a sustained enhancement of signaling between affected neurons. There have been studies that show that damage to the amygdala can interfere with memory that is strengthened by emotion. One study examined a patient with bilateral degeneration of the amygdala. He was told a violent story accompanied by matching pictures and was observed based on how much he could recall from the story. The patient had less recollection of the story than patients with functional amygdala, showing that the amygdala has a strong connection with emotional learning.
Memories of emotional experiences imprinted in reactions of synapses in the lateral nuclei elicit fear behavior through neuronal connections with the central nucleus of the amygdalae and the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (BNST). The axon terminals from sensory neurons form synapses with dendritic spines on neurons from the central nucleus. The central nuclei are involved in the genesis of many fear responses such as defensive behavior (freezing or escape responses), autonomic nervous system responses (changes in blood pressure and heart rate/tachycardia), neuroendocrine responses (stress-hormone release), etc. Damage to the amygdalae impairs both the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning, a form of classical conditioning of emotional responses.
The amygdalae are also involved in appetitive (positive) conditioning. It seems that distinct neurons respond to positive and negative stimuli, but there is no clustering of these distinct neurons into clear anatomical nuclei. However, lesions of the central nucleus in the amygdala have been shown to reduce appetitive learning in rats. Lesions of the basolateral regions do not exhibit the same effect. Research like this indicates that different nuclei within the amygdala have different functions in appetitive conditioning.
The amygdala is also involved in the modulation of memory consolidation. Following any learning event, the long-term memory for the event is not formed instantaneously. Rather, information regarding the event is slowly assimilated into long-term (potentially lifelong) storage over time, possibly via long-term potentiation. Recent studies suggest that the amygdala regulates memory consolidation in other brain regions. Also, fear conditioning, a type of memory that is impaired following amygdala damage, is mediated in part by long-term potentiation.
During the consolidation period, the memory can be modulated. In particular, it appears that emotional arousal following the learning event influences the strength of the subsequent memory for that event. Greater emotional arousal following a learning event enhances a person’s retention of that event. Experiments have shown that administration of stress hormones to mice immediately after they learn something enhances their retention when they are tested two days later.
The amygdala, especially the basolateral nuclei, are involved in mediating the effects of emotional arousal on the strength of the memory for the event, as shown by many laboratories including that of James McGaugh. These laboratories have trained animals on a variety of learning tasks and found that drugs injected into the amygdala after training affect the animals’ subsequent retention of the task. These tasks include basic classical conditioning tasks such as inhibitory avoidance, where a rat learns to associate a mild footshock with a particular compartment of an apparatus, and more complex tasks such as spatial or cued water maze, where a rat learns to swim to a platform to escape the water. If a drug that activates the amygdalae is injected into the amygdalae, the animals had better memory for the training in the task. If a drug that inactivates the amygdalae is injected, the animals had impaired memory for the task.
Buddhist monks who do compassion meditation have been shown to modulate their amygdala, along with their temporoparietal junction and insula, during their practice. In an fMRI study, more intensive insula activity was found in expert meditators than in novices. Increased activity in the amygdala following compassion-oriented meditation may contribute to social connectedness.
Amygdala activity at the time of encoding information correlates with retention for that information. However, this correlation depends on the relative “emotionalness” of the information. More emotionally arousing information increases amygdalar activity, and that activity correlates with retention. Amygdala neurons show various types of oscillation during emotional arousal, such as theta activity. These synchronized neuronal events could promote synaptic plasticity (which is involved in memory retention) by increasing interactions between neocortical storage sites and temporal lobe structures involved in declarative memory.
Neuropsychological correlates of amygdala activity
Recent studies have suggested possible correlations between brain structure, including differences in hemispheric ratios and connection patterns in the amygdala, and sexual orientation. Homosexual men tend to exhibit more female-like patterns in the amygdala than heterosexual males do, just as homosexual females tend to show more male-like patterns in the amygdala than heterosexual women do. It was observed that amygdala connections were more widespread from the left amygdala in homosexual males, as is also found in heterosexual females. Amygdala connections were more widespread from the right amygdala in homosexual females, as in heterosexual males.
Amygdala volume correlates positively with both the size (the number of contacts a person has) and the complexity (the number of different groups to which a person belongs) of social networks. Individuals with larger amygdalae had larger and more complex social networks. They were also better able to make accurate social judgments about other persons’ faces. The amygdala’s role in the analysis of social situations stems specifically from its ability to identify and process changes in facial features. It does not, however, process the direction of the gaze of the person being perceived. (My comment: So for example a character might seem both recognizable and unrecognizable even within the same timeframe and at times may be determined to grab your attention by forcing you to face them so you recognize them in a certain way.)
The amygdala is also thought to be a determinant of the level of a person’s emotional intelligence. It is particularly hypothesized that larger amygdalae allow for greater emotional intelligence, enabling greater societal integration and cooperation with others.
The amygdala processes reactions to violations concerning personal space. These reactions are absent in persons in whom the amygdala is damaged bilaterally. Furthermore, the amygdala is found to be activated in fMRI when people observe that others are physically close to them, such as when a person being scanned knows that an experimenter is standing immediately next to the scanner, versus standing at a distance.
Animal studies have shown that stimulating the amygdala appears to increase both sexual and aggressive behavior. Likewise, studies using brain lesions have shown that harm to the amygdala may produce the opposite effect. Thus, it appears that this part of the brain may play a role in the display and modulation of aggression.
There are cases of human patients with focal bilateral amygdala lesions, due to the rare genetic condition Urbach-Wiethe disease. Such patients fail to exhibit fear-related behaviors, leading one, Patient S.M., to be dubbed the “woman with no fear”. This finding reinforces the conclusion that the amygdala “plays a pivotal role in triggering a state of fear”.
Alcoholism and binge drinking
The amygdala appears to play a role in binge drinking, being damaged by repeated episodes of intoxication and withdrawal. Alcoholism is associated with dampened activation in brain networks responsible for emotional processing[clarification needed], including the amygdala. Protein kinase C-epsilon in the amygdala is important for regulating behavioral responses to morphine, ethanol, and controlling anxiety-like behavior. The protein is involved in controlling the function of other proteins and plays a role in development of the ability to consume a large amount of ethanol.
There may also be a link between the amygdala and anxiety. In particular, there is a higher prevalence of females that are affected by anxiety disorders. In an experiment, degu pups were removed from their mother but allowed to hear her call. In response, the males produced increased serotonin receptors in the amygdala but females lost them. This led to the males being less affected by the stressful situation.
The clusters of the amygdala are activated when an individual expresses feelings of fear or aggression. This occurs because the amygdala is the primary structure of the brain responsible for flight or fight response. Anxiety and panic attacks can occur when the amygdala senses environmental stressors that stimulate fight or flight response.
The amygdala is directly associated with conditioned fear. Conditioned fear is the framework used to explain the behavior produced when an originally neutral stimulus is consistently paired with a stimulus that evokes fear. The amygdala represents a core fear system in the human body, which is involved in the expression of conditioned fear. Fear is measured by changes in autonomic activity including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, as well as in simple reflexes such as flinching or blinking.
The central nucleus of the amygdala has direct correlations to the hypothalamus and brainstem – areas directly related to fear and anxiety. This connection is evident from studies of animals that have undergone amygdalae removal. Such studies suggest that animals lacking an amygdala have less fear expression and indulge in non-species-like behavior. Many projection areas of the amygdala are critically involved in specific signs that are used to measure fear and anxiety.
Mammals have very similar ways of processing and responding to danger. Scientists have observed similar areas in the brain – specifically in the amygdala – lighting up or becoming more active when a mammal is threatened or beginning to experience anxiety. Similar parts of the brain are activated when rodents and when humans observe a dangerous situation, the amygdala playing a crucial role in this assessment. By observing the amygdala’s functions, people can determine why one rodent may be much more anxious than another. There is a direct relationship between the activation of the amygdala and the level of anxiety the subject feels.
Feelings of anxiety start with a catalyst – an environmental stimulus that provokes stress. This can include various smells, sights, and internal feelings that result in anxiety. The amygdala reacts to this stimuli by preparing to either stand and fight or to turn and run. This response is triggered by the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Consequently, blood sugar rises, becoming immediately available to the muscles for quick energy. Shaking may occur in an attempt to return blood to the rest of the body. A better understanding of the amygdala and its various functions may lead to a new way of treating clinical anxiety.
Posttraumatic stress disorder
There seems to be a connection with the amygdalae and how the brain processes posttraumatic stress disorder. Multiple studies have found that the amygdalae may be responsible for the emotional reactions of PTSD patients. One study in particular found that when PTSD patients are shown pictures of faces with fearful expressions, their amygdalae tended to have a higher activation than someone without PTSD.
Amygdala dysfunction during face emotion processing is well-documented in bipolar disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder showed greater amygdala activity (especially the amygdala/medial-prefrontal-cortex circuit). 
Amygdala size has been correlated with cognitive styles with regard to political thinking. A study found that “greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala.”
Note: The above is based on ancient information, but taken to extremely excessive extremes in the name of the ‘greater/common good’ whereas the ancients and those in the mind/spirit/soul of the ancients focus on helping the collective by helping the individual, by hurting others you ultimately hurt yourself (but genuine people don’t often think of the ‘ultimate’/end, even have sight of it, they just want to help how they can in the here/now they are in).
There are exercises in Kundalini yoga that help relieve anxiety, stress, fear and tension – this has been repackaged as ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’ in recent years.
The hypothalamus is extremely important in Kundalini yoga and one of the reasons why some people in my life didn’t like me doing it at all.
Technology of Consciousness – As taught by Yogi Bhajan
Science of Mantra Meditation
3. The Benefit: It is Soothing
“The two most important things in your body are the upper palate, which
is the base of the hypothalamus, because the hypothalamus controls the
entire nervous system, and the tip of the tongue, which affects the central
nerve channel, shushumna. That controls your entire psyche.” Yogi Bhajan
5. The Benefit: Boosts Immunity
The Technology: It’s all about the hypothalamus. The control tower of the brain, it regulates communication between the nervous system and the endocrine system, taking in information from the entire body, before transmitting outward again, via chemical messengers. These couriers, such as serotonin and dopamine, are known as the “happiness hormones,” due to the impact they have on our moods. The hypothalamus is Office in Charge of many bodily functions we tend to think of as automatic, like temperature, metabolism and nervous system, as well as pituitary secretion, affecting everything from mood to appetite to sleep. It is perhaps the single most important link in the mind-body connection.
What common western manuals won’t tell you, is that it is the breath that turns the key to this super-circuit, this central hub, this brain of brains.
8. The Benefit: Opens Intuition
The Technology: Pronunciation: By enunciating the mantra, the tongue taps certain points along the roof of our mouths, sending signals to the hypothalamus, which in turn, regulates the chemical activity streaming into all parts of the brain and body. It might be likened to tapping the keys of a piano–inside the casing, a hammer bounces up and strikes the strings which are tuned to produce a specific and foreseeable note; behind the curtains a remarkable vibratory process is going on.
10. The Benefit: It is Empowering
Editor’s Note: During the practice of Mantra Meditation, the breathing cycle is altered to a greater or lesser extent during the chanting whereby one is able to influence the prana-apana balance and oxygen-blood ratios. And depending on the specific breath-mantra rhythm, the reflex meridians in the mouth experience a direct and perhaps even, for some people, noticeable stimulation of the pineal-pituitary-hypothalamus zones of the brain by virtue of the contact of the tongue with the palate. This action assists deep brain function and subsequent cranial-nervous system resonance along with heightened inter-glandular response. And subsequently and predictably a sense of peace, joy, and the expansion of awareness, i.e., heightened intuition and insightful thought.