DOI: 10.14704/nq.2011.9.3.447


Karl H. Pribram


When I began my research there were large portions of the brain's cortex whose functions were unknown. True, we knew that injury to the back of the brain produced cognitive difficulties whereas injuries to the front of the brain were followed by changes in personality. But we did not know which brain systems were involved in producing these changes, nor how these changes were produced. I set to work, first at the Yerkes Laboratory of Primate Biology directed by Karl Lashley, and then at Yale University in John Fulton's laboratory to find answers to these questions. I brought non-human monkey research that had been developed for human neurosurgery. This was important: for instance all of Pavlov's surgically operated animals died either of epilepsy or infection. I found that the posterior brain regions that were not directly connected to sensory receptors nor muscle effectors, harbored systems that were sensory specific and when injured, impaired monkeys' ability to make choices. I use recently developed chemical and electrical stimulations to show that the prefrontal cortex served as the executor for the limbic medio-basal systems of the brain. But these results needed to be supplemented by a fuller understanding than we had at the time, of the operations of the primary sensory and motor systems. In turn, to reach such fuller understandings of the input to the sensory systems and what does the output of the motor systems actually work on. Thus I came to work with quantum physicist such as David Bohm. The results of these explorations, some 8 books and 800 pier reviewed papers and commentaries, can be found on the Karl H Pribram website. This paper provides a brief overview of some of this research.


Frontolimbic Systems; Images of Achievement; Visual systems of the Inferior Temporal Cortex; The Holographic Aspects of the Universe; Quantum Physics; Self-organizing Systems

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