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Since reading is done in the left hemisphere of the brain, does reading text in the left visual field train the corpus callosum? For instance, I am interested in knowing whether training may lead to an increased size of the corpus callosum (e.g. more fibers), and whether this translates into some cognitive benefit (e.g. faster response times or comprehension of text in the left visual field).

I think so because I recently saw a document where it was reported that a guy who had his corpus callosum damaged by a bolt couldn't read words on the left anymore. The reason for that is/was that words in the left visual field go to the right hemisphere of the brain. To be read the information is then transported via the corpus callosum to the left hemisphere.

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Small correction: a word presented in the left visual field, is seen by both eyes, not just the left eye (but the information is indeed carried to the right hemisphere only). –  Mien Mar 30 '13 at 22:07
    
@mien thanks, what do you think of my idea? –  draks ... Mar 30 '13 at 22:55
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@draks... can you elaborate on what you mean by 'train' the corpus callosum? the purpose of the CC is to transfer information between the two hemispheres. so that's a little like asking "can you train a pipe by having the water flow down one way?" i'm not exactly sure what that would mean. –  Jeff Mar 30 '13 at 23:38
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@jeff staying in your picture, I would like to know if it's possible to increase the amount of water? –  draks ... Apr 1 '13 at 10:35
    
@draks... I've edited your post to be a little more explicit. please feel free to rollback the changes if you feel they are inappropriate, or make changes yourself. –  Jeff Apr 1 '13 at 18:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's been known that Increased Corpus Callosum size was found in musicians who began music training before age 7 and that Training working memory leads to growth in Corpus Callosum. As for how to train working memory, that's a diverse subject. There have been a lot of experiments involving Training working memory for ADHD patients, however a meta-analysis has revealed that most of the training from these ADHD-centered programs only leads to short-term gains, not long-term or generalisable gains.

To speculate some, I think taking on new tasks and challenging yourself repeatedly in a wide context (as opposed to isolated tasks "designed" for working memory) is your best bet. Learn a new instrument, learn to program in a new language, learn new regions (spatial mapping is associated at least with hippocampal cell growth as long as you use spatial strategies, not procedural ones).

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Thanks for your suggestions, but this doesn't answer my original question if reading text in the left visual field train the corpus callosum... –  draks ... Apr 8 '13 at 7:41
    
As the first comment reply to your question implies, your visual field is not correlated to left-brain text-interpretation in that way. If the text is seen by the whole field, it goes through both occipital lobes (on both sides of the brain) and then from occipital lobes, goes to the left hemisphere. It would be the same if you used only used a single field. It doesn't matter what visual field it enters through, it still goes to the left cortex for interpretation. –  Keegan Keplinger Apr 8 '13 at 12:15
    
What if you close your right eye? –  draks ... Apr 8 '13 at 21:26
    
there's a left and right field in each eye. but regardless, the point is that it all goes through left hemisphere for interpretation, after being visually encoded –  Keegan Keplinger Apr 8 '13 at 21:48
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have a look at the wiring –  Keegan Keplinger Apr 9 '13 at 4:42

From split brain studies I find it might be possible that the right and left hemisphere differences are caused from reading top down left to right. So perhaps learning a written language that reads right to left would prove beneficial. But from what I found walking also increases the corpus callosum. But walking is found to benefit the brain density in general. Also Einstein did have an enlarged corpus callosum and did take violin lessons when he was young, which reconfirms the idea previously mentioned. I think perhaps the sports tennis ping pong and golf might help as well. Along with compassion meditation. My reason for this is because they have the fastest brain waves of any other activities excluding drugs, but needs to take 15 years to build up from practice. People who lived very long have also played tennis, although it is just one person who comes to mind, it might still be pertinent. The longest lived American woman.

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Welcome to CogSci. You may want to read the meta-question, "What level of citing references or sources should be required for answers?" Certain answers are fine to offer without citations, but yours makes several claims that seem very questionable or unclear without references. For instance, "From what I found walking also increases the corpus callosum." –  Nick Stauner Apr 16 at 2:35

I don't know if it's possible to train the corpus callosum, but aside from that, I don't think you can read text in the left visual field for longer than a fraction of a second.

To be able to read or see something in your left visual field, your eyes must be focused on something to the right of that (Imagine a fixation cross in the middle of a PC screen where your eyes are focused on and a word appearing to the left of that). First of all, you will have the reflex doing a saccade towards that word, so your eyes will be focused on that word and the word will be in both visual half fields.

Even if you can suppress that reflex, the word will not be projected onto the fovea, so the vision will not be sharp. The word will be blurry if it hasn't a huge font. If it has a huge font, there's a possibility that part of the word will be in the right visual field as well, because it is so big.

I think reading one word this way is rather difficult, I cannot imagine reading a whole text this way. Certainly because a whole text exists of multiple lines, which will be blurry and perhaps difficult to distinguish. A whole text is also wider than one word, which would be or presented partially in both visual half fields again, or even more to the left, where the vision would be even blurrier.

If you assume that you can read a text this way, I don't think it is possible to have more fibers, but it might be possible that you will have thicker fibers, or at least stronger connections between hemispheres, which could result in a shorter interhemispheric transmission time. The brain is pretty plastic. Who knows.

Please note that all of this isn't scientific, but more or less my opinion.

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+1 thanks for your opinion... –  draks ... May 17 '13 at 12:51

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