I just read Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight”. It is short and quite interesting. In the end it veers off into ‘self help’ style, but with rare authority. The book caused me to change my unconventional opinions about where memories reside. It challenges theories on left-right brain split, with data. It is interesting that forming memories persisted through out the adventure. It is interesting to learn what is lost and what is retained.

About the earliest episode required phoning for help. She knew that the digits of a phone number were printed from left to right but had already lost the names of these digits. She knew that they had to be used sequentially from left to right and that the glyphs in the printed number matched the glyphs on the key-pad of the phone. The sense of continuity of purpose was degraded and extraordinary perseverance was required. She remembered to show a card to arriving help which indicated a hospital designated by her health insurance. Much was thus retained while linguistic abilities were damaged.

Her metaphors suggest that her professional learning was as if stored on a magnetic disk whose directory structure had been damaged. I judge that she regained her ability to use this information with remarkably less effort than was originally required to acquire it.

I suppose people with such experiences have submitted to MRI scans to see where in the brain recovered language abilities are located. I can imagine it moving to the right hemisphere, or to adjacent areas of the left hemisphere. Perhaps she will write another book.