Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-04-09
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address. His bold insights about the brain are matched only by the stunning simplicity of his experiments -- using such low-tech tools as cotton swabs, glasses of water and dime-store mirrors.

In Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran recounts how his work with patients who have bizarre neurological disorders has shed new light on the deep architecture of the brain, and what these findings tell us about who we are, how we construct our body image, why we laugh or become depressed, why we may believe in God, how we make decisions, deceive ourselves and dream, perhaps even why we're so clever at philosophy, music and art. Some of his most notable cases:

-A woman paralyzed on the left side of her body who believes she is lifting a tray of drinks with both hands offers a unique opportunity to test Freud's theory of denial.

-A man who insists he is talking with God challenges us to ask: Could we be "wired" for religious experience?

-A woman who hallucinates cartoon characters illustrates how, in a sense, we are all hallucinating, all the time.

Dr. Ramachandran's inspired medical detective work pushes the boundaries of medicine's last great frontier -- the human mind -- yielding new and provocative insights into the "big questions" about consciousness and the self.

‘’Enthralling . . . eloquent.’’ - The New York Times Book Review

‘’This is a splendid book.’’ - Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate

Table of Contents

The Phantom Withinp. 1
"Knowing Where to Scratch"p. 21
Chasing the Phantomp. 39
The Zombie in the Brainp. 63
The Secret Life of James Thurberp. 85
Through the Looking Glassp. 113
The Sound of One Hand Clappingp. 127
"The Unbearable Likeness of Being"p. 158
God and the Limbic Systemp. 174
The Woman Who Died Laughingp. 199
"You Forgot to Deliver the Twin"p. 212
Do Martians See Red?p. 227
Acknowledgmentsp. 259
Notesp. 263
Bibliography and Suggested Readingp. 299
Indexp. 314
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Fascinating Read May 3, 2011
Anyone looking for a new paradigm for consciousness should read this text book, in particular anyone without any prior knowledge of neural science. A great help to me as I tried to learn more about the brain's structure and how it works. This is an easy to read text book with some very helpful illustrations. Read this rental text book. While it cannot and does not claim to contain all the answers, nevertheless you will be a whole lot closer to understanding the human condition after reading it than before.
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Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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