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The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better Paperback – September 9, 2008
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The central theme of this book is that the brain maps the body. In fact, different areas of the brain contain different kinds of body maps with different functions. These body maps in the brain determine such things as how you perceive reality and how you respond to that perception. One of the most fascinating aspects is the plasticity of these maps.
For example, have you ever noticed that you can "feel" with the end of a tool? You put a wrench on a nut, and you suddenly have several important bits of information about that nut. This is because your body map extends to include the tool. And it's why mechanics can accurately work without actually seeing what their hands or tools are touching. Body maps extend from the rider to include the horse and from the horse to include the rider. Lovers share body maps, and the book explores what goes on there also.
This book explores the effects of dysfunctional body maps, too, shedding light on such things as eating disorders and out of body experiences. And it looks at the interplay between body maps and culture, language, music, emotions, pain, and even parenting.
The brain and the body are not separate entities, but are intertwined, interdependent, and interfunctional. Understanding this fact is essential to understanding how and why body maps work. This book explains that lucidly.Read more ›
The book is a fascinating summary of current research on how the brain and body interact, well-written and enjoyable.
It starts with the brain map that processes incoming touch signals and the motor map that sends out signals to your muscles. We all have much larger areas for our fingers, lips and tongue relative to the rest of our bodies, because accurate input from these areas is so important.
These maps change dynamically with use, so that pianists have much larger area for all their fingers, violinists have a much larger area for just their left hand. When two fingers are taped together, their maps merge; when they are untaped the maps revert to normal. Improper overlapping of these sensory/motor maps can cause performance problems, such as the "yips" that some golfers develop that make them jerk erratically on some strokes.
Mental practice can be as good as physical practice in some circumstances. When you have something down, and know how to do it, mental practice has the same effect on your mental body maps as physical practice. So at a certain level, you can cut down on wear-and-tear on your body and continue to improve by phasing in some mental rehersal.
Your brain has a tremendous degree of flexibility in how it integrates what it sees into your sense of reality. In a virtual-reality world, you can be given longer arms, or lobster arms, or a tentacle in the middle of your stomach, and your brain will accept what it sees and you will feel as if these changes are "natural".Read more ›
Penfield's technique seems harshly cruel today, but the patients suffered far more from the disability than from the probing, as the brain has no nerves that transmit pain. The mapping became a guide for better understanding of how the brain and body interact. Some of this work was covered in Sandra Blakeslee's earlier collaboration with V. S. Ramachandran: "Phantoms In the Brain". That study pointed out how amputees can still sense the presence of a missing limb, even feeling "pain" that can have no discernible cause. This work carries the implications of Ramachandran's findings forward, expanding it to address other, less extreme examples. The body-brain links are many, varied and subject to constant change. The authors refer to this as "The Body Mandala", a graphic representation of a detailed, intensely interwoven network. In this mandala, however, change is constant and varying.
The hands and fingers play a large role in this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating and very accessible to those with no background in brain sciences.Published 4 months ago by codi
Clear, entertaining and informative. I have the e-book of this but I hate reading on those. Well worth buying twicePublished 12 months ago by Josh Vogel
I am a sports coach/instructor. This book has really given me good insight and changed my teaching methods. I bought several copies to share with fellow coachesPublished 13 months ago by Robin
It is an art to make science both fun and easy to digest. The authors do an amazing job of telling the brains complicated story; together they create an entertaining and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by linda m stanley
I love this book! I've purchased many copies as gifts for friends, or after giving my copy away, purchased a replacement. Read morePublished 24 months ago by HarmonizedMotion
This review is intended to give a thorough summary of the book for those who are interested in learning about the brain and its connection with the human body, whether that be for... Read morePublished on September 29, 2013 by Arnab Chakraborty
Fun and fascinating...then there's all the good information I was hoping to get...and did!
My only argument with the book - and I totally get why they did it - and,,,it... Read more