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Jose Delgato of Yale University was as much a showman as a scientist, he dressed up as a matador when he did his bull stunt, but I have to admit it was an interesting show. He wrote a book "Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society", another old book that has a lot about him is "The Brain Changers" by Maya Pines. Both books are probably long out of print. Delgato did most of his work in the 50's and 60's and you don't hear much about him nowadays, his style of research is out of fashion and not politically correct.
He also did some work on humans. He approached several people about to undergo brain surgery for medical reasons, and asked them if he could implant some electrodes in their brain at the same time. Some agreed. In one case, when the electrode was fired the man would always turn his head to the left. The interesting thing was that the man said he felt free, he couldn't even tell when the electrode was turned on. The patient was always able to come up with good reasons for turning to the left. He would say "I'm looking for my slippers" or "I'm restless" or "I heard a noise" or "I was looking under the bed". This man was intelligent and rational, he never said I'm looking for Martians, and felt perfectly free. In all cases he thought turning his head was his own idea, he felt free because he was, he was doing what he wanted to do.
I think the man was perfectly correct when he said "I'm looking for my slippers" that's exactly what he was doing. Nobody could convince him that he didn't really want his slippers because he truly did, he just didn't understand why he wanted them.
Just this year in the journal Nature, I think it was in March, there was a related article by Itzhak Fried. Dr Fried was applying an electrical probe to various spots on the brain of a girl to find the source of her epileptic seizures, when they give a small jolt at one spot the girl smiled, when they gave a larger jolt she erupted into robust contagious laughter. It was no mere reflex either, she was in a grim looking operating room, she was fighting for her life, her head was cut open, and she found humor in the situation. At one point she looked at her masked surgeons and said "You guys are just so funny standing around".
John K Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
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