Download E-books Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind PDF

By V. S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is across the world popular for uncovering solutions to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to deal with. His daring insights concerning the mind are matched purely by means of the beautiful simplicity of his experiments -- utilizing such low-tech instruments as cotton swabs, glasses of water and dime-store mirrors. In Phantoms within the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran recounts how his paintings with sufferers who've extraordinary neurological issues has shed new mild at the deep structure of the mind, and what those findings let us know approximately who we're, how we build our physique snapshot, why we giggle or turn into depressed, why we could think in God, how we make judgements, lie to ourselves and dream, even perhaps why we are so smart at philosophy, tune and artwork. a few of his so much awesome cases:

  • A lady paralyzed at the left facet of her physique who believes she is lifting a tray of beverages with either arms bargains a special chance to check Freud's idea of denial.
  • a guy who insists he's conversing with God demanding situations us to invite: may perhaps we be "wired" for spiritual experience?
  • a lady who hallucinates sketch characters illustrates how, in a feeling, we're all hallucinating, the entire time.

Dr. Ramachandran's encouraged clinical detective paintings pushes the bounds of medicine's final nice frontier -- the human brain -- yielding new and provocative insights into the "big questions" approximately attention and the self.

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I frequently prove asking the prosthetist to lessen the size of my man made hands, yet he says that will glance brief and humorous. So we compromise. He offers me limbs which are shorter than so much yet now not so absurdly brief that they give the impression of being unusual. " She pointed to at least one of her prosthetic fingers mendacity at the table, so i may see. "They're a little shorter than basic fingers, yet most folks do not detect it. " To me this was once facts that Mirabelle's phantoms weren't wishful pondering. If she desired to be like folks, why may she wish shorter−than−normal palms? There has to be anything occurring within her mind that used to be giving upward thrust to the vibrant phantom adventure. Mirabelle had one other aspect. "When I stroll, healthcare professional, my phantom hands do not swing like basic hands, like your palms. They remain frozen at the facet, like this. " She stood up, letting her stumps drop instantly down on each side. "But while I talk," she acknowledged, "my phantoms gesticulate. in truth, they're relocating now as I converse. " this isn't as mysterious because it sounds. The mind sector chargeable for delicate, coordinated swinging of the palms after we stroll is kind of varied from the person who controls gesturing. maybe the neural circuitry for arm swinging can't live to tell the tale very lengthy with out non-stop nurturing suggestions from the limbs. It easily drops out or fails to boost while the fingers are lacking. however the neural circuitry for gesticulation— activated in the course of spoken language—might be laid out in genes in the course of improvement. (The proper circuitry most likely antedates spoken language. ) Remarkably, the neural circuitry that generates those instructions in Mirabelle's mind turns out to have survived intact, even though she has got no visible or kinesthetic suggestions from these "arms" at any aspect in her lifestyles. Her physique retains telling her, "There aren't any hands, there are not any arms," but she maintains to event gesticulation. this implies that the neural circuitry for Mirabelle's physique picture should have been laid down a minimum of partially by way of genes and isn't strictly depending on motor and tactile adventure. a few early scientific reviews declare that sufferers with limbs lacking from start don't event phantoms. What I observed in Mirabelle, although, means that each one people has an internally hard−wired photograph of the physique and limbs at birth—an picture that could continue to exist indefinitely, even within the face of contradictory details from the senses. 1 as well as those spontaneous gesticulations, Mirabelle may also generate voluntary pursuits in her phantom hands, and this is often additionally real of sufferers who lose hands in maturity. Like Mirabelle, each one of these sufferers can "reach out" and "grab" items, element, wave good−bye, shake palms, or practice problematic expert maneuvers with the phantom. They realize it sounds loopy for the reason that they discover that the arm is long gone, yet to them those sensory reviews are very actual. 35 i did not detect how compelling those felt events should be till I met John McGrath, an arm amputee who telephoned me after he had obvious a tv information tale on phantom limbs.

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