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Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind Paperback – August 18, 1999
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The writings of Oliver Sacks and others have shown us that we can learn much about ourselves by looking closely at the deficits shown by people with neurological problems. V.S. Ramachandran has seen countless patients suffering from anosognosia, phantom limb pain, blindsight, and other disorders, and he brings a remarkable mixture of clinical intuition and research savvy to bear on their problems. He is one of the few scientists who are able and willing to explore the personal, subjective ramifications of his work; he rehumanizes an often too-sterile field and captures the spirit of wonder so essential for true discovery. Phantoms in the Brain is equal parts medical mystery, scientific adventure, and philosophical speculation; Ramachandran's writing is smart, caring, and very, very funny.
Whether you're curious about the workings of the brain, interested in alternatives to expensive, high-tech science (much of Ramachandran's research is done with materials found around the home), or simply want a fresh perspective on the nature of human consciousness, you'll find satisfaction with Phantoms in the Brain. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But this book was 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 book with some very helpful illustrations. It demonstrates the brain's functions by showing its quirks. It is well written and easy (and surprisingly FUN) to read.
There is also a helpful bibliography and suggested reading list at the end of the book for those who wish to delve more deeply into the subject. But it is important to know that you don't need any background at all in the brain to enjoy this book.
I had no understanding of brain structure beyond what the doctors told me in describing the locations of my father's tumor. This book helped me understand the changes in my fathers abilities and behavior as the tumor destroyed different portions of his brain until it finally ended his life.
Honestly, this is a very good book and I think you will get a great deal from it.
Many, many neuroscientists pick "safe" topics and stick with variants upon a theme all their lives. The work is often valuable, but it is not exactly akin to a spectator sport. Ramachandran, in contrast, chooses "sexy" topics to study.
Most neuroscientists write primarily for their scientific peers. Ramachandran (with Blakesee) has written a book that is at once valuable to his peers and fascinating to everyone. And if you've ever seen Ramachandran speak (either to scientists or the general public), you know what I'm talking about, and you know that the book is not a fluke.
Ramachandran does not think like other neuroscientists. Most neuroscientists pick a topic or area of the brain, and then do systematic, parametric, sensible experiments to map and test the minute details of their theory. There's usually lots of data collection and data analysis. But Ramachandran has a knack for creating "breakthrough" experiments routinely. In these experiments, the answer to a sexy question comes instantly, dramatically, and powerfully. Such creative, intuitive genius is extremely rare. Trust me, we'd all like to do science this way.
I hope that we can appreciate that Ramachandran incorporates a wide variety of worldviews as he creates gem after gem.Read more ›
In the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, written in the 1970 and reprinted a number of times since, Oliver Sacks illustrates peculiar neurological deficits arising from various insults to the brain, from tumors to strokes and seizures. Although he can pinpoint the areas of brain compromise that cause the patient's problems and, like Freud, give the reader some theory as to what aspect of the "self" is effected, he does little beyond this. In Phantoms of the Brain, Ramachandran recounts numerous colorful stories, but develops a theory of what level of brain function is the cause of the observed deficits, then proceeds to test his theory with further study, making the "self" a topic of research. In the true spirit of scientific research he publishes his findings and elicits input from fellows in the field. Where there is a discrepancy, he and others conduct further research to illuminate the findings and integrate the data into the overall theory. While he freely admits that a true science of the mind is in its infancy, he also points at the major advances made since Freud's work.
One of the things I found most unique about the author's style is that he points out the pertinent contributions in the works of other, often earlier researchers, particularly Freud.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative and understandable about specific functions in the brain. The use of techniques to limit phantom limb pain etc was extremely fascinating.Published 4 months ago by Bob
HE HAS A SPT ON YOUTUBE CALLED THE SECRETS OF OUR MINDS AND IT IS VERY DOOD. I HAD TO WRITE A PAPER ON HIM IN PSYCH AND HIS FINDINGS IT'S WORTH A WATCHPublished 4 months ago by tanya nicole cook
I'm a behavioral neuroscientist and recommend this book to all my students in my neuroscience-related classes.Published 5 months ago by Moss Parker
I love reading these stories and the interactions that Dr. Ramachandran has with his patients. The book is written in a way that is informative but still easy to read for the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stefany
Very interesting when it comes to phantom limbs study although not much into other studies of brain functionPublished 5 months ago by María del Carmen Yáñez López