The Interpretive Cortex

  title={The Interpretive Cortex},
  author={Wilder Penfield},
  pages={1719 - 1725}
The interpretive cortex has in it a mechanism for instant reactivation of the detailed record of the past. It has a mechanism also for the production of interpretive signals. Such signals could only be significant if past records are scanned and relevant experiences are selected for comparison with present experience. This is a subconscious process. But it may well be that this scanning of past experience and selection from it also renders the relevant past available for conscious consideration… 

Brain stimulation and elicited memories

Since the late 1930s, electric brain stimulation (EBS) in awake patients has been known to occasionally elicit patient descriptions of a form of memory flashbacks, known as experiential phenomena.

Pavlov, Penfield, and the physiology of the mind

The influence that Ivan Pavlov and the conditioned reflex had on Penfield's understanding of epileptogenesis, and on his concept of the acquisition of memories, language, and perception—what Penfield referred to as the physiology of the mind.

The White Paper: Wilder Penfield, the Stream of Consciousness, and the Physiology of Mind

  • R. Leblanc
  • Psychology
    Journal of the history of the neurosciences
  • 2019
Although Penfield ultimately felt that he had failed in his attempt to unify brain and mind, his work shed new light on the relationship of memory to the mesial temporal structures and to the temporal cortex; and his association of consciousness and the brainstem preceded the conceptualization of the reticular activating system by a generation.

Brain Stimulation in the Study of Neuronal Functions for Conscious Sensory Experiences

Substantial delays before achieving cerebral "neuronal adequacy" appear to be re­ quired for eliciting a sensory experience, including the demonstration that a cortical stimulus can retroactively modify a skin-induced sensation even when C stimulus begins up to 500 msec after S stimulus.

Brain stimulation in the study of neuronal functions for conscious sensory experiences.

  • B. Libet
  • Biology, Psychology
    Human neurobiology
  • 1982
Substantial delays before achieving cerebral "neuronal adequacy" appear to be required for eliciting a sensory experience, including the demonstration that a cortical stimulus can retroactively modify a skin-induced sensation even when C stimulus begins up to 500 msec after S stimulus.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: Its Possible Contribution to the Understanding of the Functional Significance of the Amygdala and of Its Interaction with Neocortical-Temporal Mechanisms

The amygdala and the temporal neocortex of higher mammals and man can be regarded as a functional system subserving complex motivated behavior patterns dependent upon highly differentiated perceptual and cognitive functions.

The Sensory Neocortex and Associative Memory.

It is argued that sensory cortical areas may play an important role for the memory-dependent categorical recognition of previously encountered sensory stimuli.

Consciousness and Neurosurgery

The contributions of neurosurgeons to the quest for consciousness are explored and some of the results that have already been achieved are outlined.

Distinctive mental contexts in long-term memory

Abstract This series of investigations began with the strikingly detailed recall, by a trained hypnotic S, of a dream experienced under hypnosis over 2 years before. The significance of distinctive

The neuropathology of amnesia




Memory deficit produced by bilateral lesions in the hippocampal zone.

The following study shows that the capacity to record the daily current of conscious experience may be lost when there is bilateral destruction of a man's hippocampus and hippocampal gyrus.

On the Instability of a Cortical Point

Slight and transient differences in the depth of narcosis, in the freedom of blood supply, and in the temperature of the preparation modify reactions obtained from stimulation of the motor area in


  • W. Penfield
  • Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1958
This great National Academy embraces many sciences-almost as many, in fact, as there are members-for this is the day of diversity of thought and specialization of technique. But, although there are

Illusions of comparative interpretation and emotion; production by epileptic discharge and by electrical stimulation in the temporal cortex.

These "psychical states" may appear in the onset of an epileptic seizure that originates in temporal regions of the brain, and they may, in fact, constitute the only clinical "psychological states" of epilepsy.

The twenty-ninth Maudsley lecture: the role of the temporal cortex in certain psychical phenomena.

The Founder of this lecture series was described with consummate skill by Professor Aubrey Lewis in the Twenty-fifth Maudsley Lecture, before this Association. Henry Maudsley was a clinician who

The Excitable Cortex in Conscious Man

Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain

Bilateral destruction of the hippocampus (cornu ammonis) in a case of dementia.

This case is reported in detail in W

  • Graschenkov and G. Smirnov) by the Soviet Academy of Sciences
  • 1954