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

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Harper Collins, Aug 18, 1999 - Medical - 352 pages

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.


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PHANTOMS IN THE BRAIN: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

User Review  - Kirkus

Insights and intriguing speculations from a neurologist whose patients provide him with unusual opportunities to explore the brain. Ramachandran's present volume began as a Decade of the Brain lecture ... Read full review


User Review  - Amber - Borders

This is a really good book for anyone interested in neurology! I read this book in college for a neurology class as a text book and it was, and still is the best book I've EVER read in college!! I would highly recommend this book. Read full review


The Phantom Within
Knowing Where to Scratch
Chasing the Phantom
The Zombie in the Brain
The Secret Life of James Thurber
Through the Looking Glass
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
The Unbearable Likeness of Being
The Woman Who thed Laughing
You Forgot to Deliver the Twin
Do Martians See Red?
Bibliography and Suggested Reading

God and the Limbic System

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