Julian Jaynes Society Discussion Forum: Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory since 1997

A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Matthew Warner [ Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?

I'm halfway through Julian Jaynes's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicamaral Mind, and I'm fascinated by the illustration on page 104 showing the two Wernicke's areas and their connecting anterior commissure between brain hemispheres.

Assuming that Jaynes is correct in that in ancient times the right-hemisphere's Wernicke's area (now dormant) transmitted across the anterior commissure to the left-hemisphere's Wernicke's area, where its communiques were perceived as auditory hallucinations, then here are my questions:

1. Is there any evidence that modern schizophrenia's auditory hallucinations have a similar cause?

2. And, if the answer to #1 is yes, then what is the effect of surgically severing or pharmacologically suppressing the anterior commissure?

Thanks for giving me a forum to pose this question. I've been wanting to read this book ever since I read a review of it 16 years ago! And I'm especially interested in it now that I have a novel out dramatizing the experience of schizophrenia.

Author:  Moderator [ Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:11 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Matthew,

To try to answer your questions...

For 1., see "Jaynes's Neurological Model Vindicated" on this forum under "The Bicameral Mind: Its Neurology and Evolution."
Although when it comes to the brain nothing is ever simple, and the corpus callosum is most likely also involved (in addition to the anterior commissure).

2. Opening someone's skull and performing brain surgery to sever these is very serious business and most likely not a practical solution. I think it's confined to patients with severe, life-threatening epilepsy.

But it's an interesting line of thinking. I wonder if there has ever been a documented case of a patient with severe epilepsy and schizophrenia that underwent the surgery and, if so, what the effect on the schizophrenia was.

P.S. I was just rereading Jaynes's chapter on schizophrenia and on page 430 he notes interesting cases of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy caused by lesions to the left temporal lobe, which result in schizophrenic-like symptoms in 90% of cases, presumably because the left hemisphere is no longer able to inhibit the right hemisphere.

Author:  Moderator [ Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Just to follow up on this, I recently read that (as I suspected), the commissurotomy or "split-brain" surgeries are no longer being performed, as they are now able to better control epileptic seizures with medication.

I also read that until age 4 or so, both hemispheres seem to be able to process language equally well. After that point the left hemisphere takes over.

Which got me to thinking:

1. Is it possible that prior to the advent of writing (and parental discouragement of auditory hallucinations) the right hemisphere retained a greater degree of language ability beyond childhood?

2. Does the right hemisphere in those that hallucinate show a greater language ability than those that don't? Would there even be a way to test this in those with an intact (i.e., non-split) brain? (Perhaps with the Wada Test?)

3. Do split brain patients ever experience hallucinations at all — or is this strictly a function of the left hemisphere 'hearing' the language areas of the right hemisphere?

Maybe someone will come across this at some point and shed some light on these issues.

Author:  Moderator [ Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Another thought came to me to follow-up on your idea. Using the "Wada test," the right hemisphere can be anestized. Does anyone know if this been attempted in patients with schizophrenia? It would be interesting to see the outcome. I'll have to look on Medline.

Author:  mrh [ Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Moderator wrote:
Does anyone know if this been attempted in patients with schizophrenia?

The problem with such research is that it cannot be valid because:
    *There is no agreed definition of schizophrenia;
    *There is no objective test for it;
    *All people perceived by doctors to be "schizophrenic" are drugged, so it is impossible to examine their brain in its original state.

Author:  Moderator [ Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:44 am ]
Post subject: 

I completely disagree on all counts.

1. The symptoms that constitute schizophrenia are widely agreed upon. Of course as with many things there are differing viewpoints, areas of disagreement, etc. But if no dissenting opinion whatsoever were the requirement for something to be considered "an agreed upon definition" then there would be no agreed definition for just about everything in science and medicine (you can always find some dissenting opinion), and certainly everything related to clinical psychology and mental health.

2. There are no objective tests (i.e. conclusive brain abnormality, blood test, etc.) for most mental illnesses. That doesn't invalidate their existence.

3. Many people with the symptoms commonly associated with schizophrenia (auditory verbal hallucinations, delusions, etc.) do not seek medical help because, unlike having a broken arm or the flu, the illness itself impairs rational judgment to the point that they often do not realize there is anything wrong with them (called "lack of insight"). So I think it would actually be relatively easy for interested researchers to find populations of unmedicated individuals with the symptoms commonly associated with schizophrenia — through an ad in the newspaper, contacting support groups, visiting homeless shelters, etc.

There are many people with schizophrenic symptoms there are living their daily lives completely unmedicated. A very close long time friend of mine is one example. She works and pays her bills and functions at a very high level. If you met her you would have no idea there was anything wrong with her. Yet she is hallucinating almost constantly and has persistent paranoid delusions which she has learned to keep to herself. I also know that if she were asked, she would gladly participate in a research study (if only because she may believe it would prove to others her delusions are real). Based on articles I have read, e-mails I receive, and people I have spoken with, I have no doubt there are many others like her.

In addition, there are doctors that I have read about (for example Abram Hoffer and others who advocate "othomolecular [vitamin-based] treatment for schizophrenia") and clinicians that I have met with that do not prescribe anti-psychotic medications for their patients. So while perhaps most patients are, to say that "all people perceived by doctors to be "schizophrenic" are drugged" is an exaggeration.

Furthermore, when these types of studies are done, obviously the researchers would want the participants in the study to experience their positive symptoms (in the case of this discussion, auditory hallucinations) so they would most likely be temporarily taken off of any medications they were taking for the duration of the study. For example, there are now hundreds articles that have been published over the past 10 years discussing research that involves the use of MRI, PET, and EEG to study schizophrenic hallucinations. Obviously those participants were hallucinating during those studies, or the results would be worthless. In the case of the MRI studies, researchers can see the areas of the brain light up that correspond to the patient's hallucinations (see B. Lennox, 1999, Lancet) — so there is also objective evidence to corroborate verbal reports. So it is not "impossible to examine their brain in its original state." It has been done and is being done on an ongoing basis.

You clearly have some strong opinions on the subject which you are certainly entitled to, and I am all for exploring alternative treatments for schizophrenic symptoms that don't involve anti-psychotic medication. But the idea that this type of research cannot be done is unfounded in my opinion.

Author:  mrh [ Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Moderator wrote:
Many people with the symptoms commonly associated with schizophrenia (auditory verbal hallucinations, delusions, etc.) do not seek medical help
True, and if also others do not seed medical intervention for (or against) them, they are not diagnosed.

Moderator wrote:
So I think it would actually be relatively easy for interested researchers to find populations of unmedicated individuals with the symptoms commonly associated with schizophrenia
As you know Marius Romme did do this by appealing directly to the public on national TV in his country, the Netherlands. I know of no other research in this area where the subjects were not recruited through the health system. Do you?

Moderator wrote:
so they would most likely be temporarily taken off of any medications
That is exactly how drug research is done. As these "medications" are in fact synthetic narcotics, the subjects go into withdrawal deliria that are labeled psychoses. If the new drug is sufficiently similar to the withdrawn drug to ameliorate the withdrawal deliria it is approved for the market.

Author:  Memento Mori [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?


Author:  mrh [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?

Memento Mori wrote:
My name is Matt
Hi Matt.
Memento Mori wrote:
No one has yet acknowledged that schizophrenia is not a single condition
No one? Perhaps no one that you have discovered already. But you are just at the beginning.

The term "schizophrenia" has been controversial from its first use, and has never stopped being controversial, except in the psychopharmaceutical industry. Even wikipedia states, "Eugen Bleuler termed the disease the schizophrenias (plural) when he coined the name."

Here is a list of book reviews that contains several titles about schizophrenia. There's also a review of "A Beautiful Mind."

The links page of this site will lead you to some more views on schizophrenia that "no one has yet acknowledged".

You might also want to check out the views of Szasz, Breggin, and many others.

Author:  Memento Mori [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?


Author:  Memento Mori [ Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?


Author:  rajah524 [ Fri May 01, 2009 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?

The only thing I think I can add here is to suggest that you look into the growing body of research on EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and the other bi-lateral (trans-hemispheric) trauma treatment protocols. These very widely used treatments combine alternating, multi-channel (not just visual anymore) stimulations of both hemispheres through three principle afferent channels to reach the affect centers in each hemisphere.

When combined with brief self-reports of past trauma (e.g.: severe sexual abuse, rape, battering, witness to murder, combat stress, etc.), it is evident that the discharges from these affect centers jump the corpus callosum from the hippocampal circuits, evidently because the amygdalar overloading of the hippocampi is somehow blocked or reduced or knocked out of sync. It's suggested that the alternating stimulations are what cause these brief combinations of amygdalar supression and hippocampal breakthrough.

The result for the trauma sufferer (which many, though not all schizophrenics are) is processing of the previously UN-processed affective memories by what appears to be "thicker" neuronal connection to verbal symbolic language -- or conceptual (and "sense-making") -- processing areas on the opposite hemisphere. For most people, preponderance of unprocessed affective memories are stored in the right hemisphere, while the processing areas tend to be in the left hemisphere.

Author:  rajah524 [ Fri May 01, 2009 1:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?

I'm having some difficulty with this w/p browser, so I'll continue on a new message blank:

Another treatment that's in development as both a stand-alone and follow-on for EMDR is SIQR (self-talk identification questioning and revision). It works on the same principles as EMDR in some respects, but more directly engages both the memory and symbolic language centers with the use of finger strikes on keyboards in a structured fashion. It also appears that SIQR produces the same sort of cognitive and affective restructuring by means of non-dominant handwriting, but we're not entirely sure how, as only one hemispheric motor center is in play... or so we think (referencing to and from the opposite side m/c is possible, of course).

In whatever event, the two-handed typing of a flawed belief (e.g.: one of Albert Ellis "ten completely crazy ideas everyone believes" or Aaron Beck's and Arthur Freeman's personality-disorder-organizing beliefs), followed by a series of sentences questioning the original ideas, then affirming and negating the belief, as well as a brief essay about whatever "discovery" the subject may have in the process, exceeded our expectations. Not only do most of the subjects work through their dysfunctional beliefs and values, they report improved mood vis anxiety and depression, and over long periods even report diminished stimulus-seeking and hypomania.

Author:  rajah524 [ Fri May 01, 2009 1:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Jaynes-Inspired Treatment for Schizophrenia?

We have not reached our population quota yet, so publication is still in the future on SIQR... but we have begun to use it with severe borderline and schizoaffective / schizotypal subjects, and it seems to produce beneficial results so long as we combine it with medication compliance and dialectical behavior therapy principles and techniques to keep the subjects capacious, motivated and focused.

Thus, Jaynes's ideas are having an impact upon the development of therapies for seriously thought-disordered people.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group