V. S. Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field - so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the "Marco Polo of neuroscience". Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness.
Taking us to the frontiers of neurology, he reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us about normal brain function and how it evolved. Synesthesia becomes a window into the brain mechanisms that make some of us more creative than others. And autism - for which Ramachandran opens a new direction for treatment - gives us a glimpse of the aspect of being human that we understand least: self-awareness.
Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in neurology with a storyteller's eye for compelling case studies and a researcher's flair for new approaches to age-old questions. Tracing the strange links between neurology and behavior, this book unveils a wealth of clues into the deepest mysteries of the human brain.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2011 V.S. Ramachandran (P)2011 Tantor
"Ramachandran produces an exhilarating and at times funny text that invites discussion and experimentation." (Kirkus)
I loved how differently this made me look at my own mind. It was informative, it was written in a way the lay-person could understand, and it was fun to listen to. I would recommend this book to people interested in the brain, in psychology, or anyone involved with childhood development or caregiving. I will be listening again.
Illuminating, Explanatory, Psycho-Physics
Hearing of the detailed experiments devised to tease out information away from the variables. Singling out what you want to look at is difficult in every area of science, but such a tall task in the sometimes seemingly chaotic soup of the brain's many processes.
I have not before. I was very impressed. Initially upon downloading I was disappointed to find it was not read by Ramachandran himself as I've grown fond of his endearing accent from many hours of lecture online. This proved not to bother me no more than a minute or two into the recording. Mr. Drummond does an outstanding job being clear while still managing to exude some of the boundless enjoyment and fascination that should come from any pop science offering.
You, the you behind your eyes, are a vivid hallucination pieced together by many subtle seemingly disconnected processes. Whenever any of these processes fail, you change radically. Follow us as we discover some of the myriad pillars of consciousness. As we discover who you really are.
Highly recommend a fairly firm grasp of evolutionary theory. Though it can likely be enjoyed without a university level grasp, much subtlety (read elegant beauty) would be lost.
This book is very entertaining, and high quality neuroscience. it is fairly easy to follow, considering its topic. i would put it in the top five books of its type. i think in some ways it is better than David Eaglemen's Incognito, but would put it slightly behind Steven Pinker or Leonard Mlodniow. My only reason for giving four starts, instead of 5, is because the book feels a little light or incomplete, like Dr. R has stopped short, perhaps there is still science to be made. All that said, i would definitely buy his next book.
I absolutely love the way the author explains the brain, the most dynamic description. For someone who loves neurobiology but has never officially studied it, this was a very new way of thinking about the brain, so fluid versus static and compartmentalized. The portions on his actual research are much more entrancing then those on his speculations.
An engaging probe into the recesses of the brain with extremely interesting findings. A quirky recounting of his brilliant research.
Dr Ramachandran delivers a very interesting book with several provoking ideas on exactly how we think, from a physical and neurological viewpoint.
I found the concept and explanatory powers of "mirror neurons" quite fascinating, and would very much be interested in seeing where future research leads in that area.
I also appreciated the Oliver Sacks-like case studies, where strange and weird mental phenomena and behavior was examined and (at least theoretical) explanations were offered.
The production quality is top-notch, save I think the narrator mispronounced two words -- very minor complaint, I know. The reading is otherwise flawless, and captures well both the excitement and thoroughness of Ramachandran's thoughts, as well as the bewilderment, confusion, and personality of the case subjects.
If you are interested in the inner workings of the brain, and what that might tells us in terms of examining mind and consciousness, I highly recommend this book!
? just what exactly do we know about how the brain works
? if we did know more, could we then understand ourselves better
? who'd be bright enough to both understand and explain all this
v.s. ramachandran is more than up to this monumental task
the explosion of new detailed brain studies provides his raw material
his near mythic status in the medical community provides his authority
years ago using only a mirror and a q-tip he unraveled "phantom pain"
this sad, untreatable condition had been recognized for centuries
it took someone of ramachandran's blazing insight to solve its' riddle
he clearly sees himself as flying at an altitude that others only dream of
a lack of confidence doesn't seem to be a problem he has ever had
but it takes that sort of hubris to tackle an issue this vast and significant
the anatomical nomenclature will probably over whelm some readers
the rapid pace of new discoveries means he'll need a new edition in a few years
this is a very exciting time in history to be an investigational neuroscientist
the most exciting sections of the book dealt with neuro-plasticity
? can nerves and nerve signals be repaired or rerouted
? can we contemplate therapy for diseases we once thought were untreatable
recent advances in neuro-imaging and function studies rival the discovery of DNA
we now have a window into that most human and complex of all organs
this book is a compelling first step in understanding this bold, new world
A really fascinating book, combining cognitive science with speculation about the nature of consciousness (and clearly differentiating between the two). The tone is rather pompous (and the reader doesn't help) but the real problem is that sentences and phrases get repeated verbatim throughout the book, making you wonder if you hit the wrong button on your iPod.
This is a very interesting book, however, it relys heavily on pictures, even devoting 2 chapters to visual esthetics and the brain. Difficult to follow without easy access to the pictures. I'm on a kindle, which I guess doesn't support pictures in audible, although I get pictures in my text books.
I think it's sort of a rip-off to get the audio without the pictures. I've tried looking around in 'My Library' for the 'accompanying reference material' but I can't find it. I do like the content of the book and would recommend it as a text book. The narration is good.
Having heard of Ramachandran's work before reading this book, I had high expectations. Some of those were fulfilled, in hearing about synaesthesia and mirror neurons. However there is also a huge amount of plain discussion and even sheer speculation about art, beauty, and the evolution of human preferences. For example, he invents a list of principles of aesthetics, without reference to any artists or prior thinking on the subject. Overall there was enough science to make it interesting. The narration is a bit breathless, like listening to 777-FILM.
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