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Learning a unimanual motor skill by partial commissurotomy patients.
  1. Y P Chen,
  2. R Campbell,
  3. J C Marshall,
  4. D W Zaidel
  1. Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


    A series of motor tests on four Chinese partial commissurotomy patients is reported. The single-stage commissurotomy in all four patients included the anterior commissures and two-thirds or four-fifths section of the corpus callosum with sparing of the splenium. There was no demonstrable ability to transfer hand posture in these patients. This was the major evidence for functional deconnexion. A newly learned task of one-hand knotting revealed right hand impairment in all four patients. There was no dyspraxia in the right hand for over-learned object-handling tasks in these patients. It is suggested that there might be right hemisphere specialisation for the initial acquisition of unimanual object-handling skills and that the spared callosal fibres in the splenium alone are insufficient to mediate task control under these conditions. This is supported by the finding that one of these patients, who was the only one who had a right parietal lesion, was unable to perform the newly learned task with either hand.

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