Phantoms in the brain book review

The book contains many illustrations of the brain and includes several interesting visual experiments that you can perform on yourself.

Phantoms in the brain book review

He is usually very clear in demarking where actual knowledge ends and his speculation starts. Other scientists such as Paul Maclean and Michael Persinger had also observed that spiritual sensations or a sensed presence results from probing or stimulating the temporal lobes. One is the language of nerve impulses-- the spatial and temporal patterns of neuronal activity that allow us to see red, for example. Ramachandran starts his dissection of evolutionary psychology here. Instead of discounting and ignoring them as most do, one single example is enough to at least start a theory. Ramachandran suggests the possibility that "perhaps we are hallucinating all the time and what we call perception is arrived at by simply determining which hallucination best conforms to the current sensory input. Your own body is a phantom, one that your brain has temporarily constructed purely for convenience. Ramachandran wonders if the foot fetish has something to do with the fact that the mental map of sexual orgasms and feet are spatially so nearby. One last word on Not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely something to keep in mind. Defense Mechanisms We all deploy defense mechanisms. Ramachandran sees it as a result of evolutionary and cultural pressure that interact, not only with the world around us, but with the people to whom we communicate.

Equally fascinating are Ramachandran's ""mirror tricks"" on amputees and paralyzed patients that begin to reveal how much the brain relies on context and comparison as well as on ""inside"" neural connectivity to form self.

At first I thought this would be a collection of heart-wrenching stories and bizarre peculiarities — nobody really doubts shit happens if an iron pole leaves a hole in your head. As the patient opened the non-amputated hand, the brain thought it was the amputated hand, and finally the pain was relieved.

Ramachandran suggests the possibility that "perhaps we are hallucinating all the time and what we call perception is arrived at by simply determining which hallucination best conforms to the current sensory input.

Phantom brain minecraft

He wonders whether our brain has some circuitry for religious experience, and if it exists where does it come from and how it evolved. The brain region for this is between the yawn-campus and the facebook-lobe. Ramachandran also often uses very simple techniques and technologies. It is however in places somewhat repetitive in that some patients reappear and one has to read through a summary. Pain is an opinion on the organism's state of health rather than a mere reflective response to an injury. He really captures the childlike wonder and openness to evidentiary trajectories and discovery that is an ideal in science. Ramachandran sees it as a result of evolutionary and cultural pressure that interact, not only with the world around us, but with the people to whom we communicate. He says that fiction and facts get easily blurred in evolutionary psychology. Studying The Exceptions Ramachandran has a different approach then most. Rather they lead us by the hand and compel us to believe that the animate is born, as I maintain, of the insentient. What would happen to the patient's personality-- especially his spiritual leanings-- if we removed a chunk of his temporal lobe? Every medical student is taught that patients with epileptic seizures originating in this part of the brain [temporal lobes] can have intense, spiritual experiences during the seizures and sometimes become preoccupied with religion and moral issues even during the seizure-free or interictal periods. There is some time spent arguing against old paradigms of psychology and psychiatry and cultural theory and sociology—even though he does give Freud credit where credit is due and shows us how Freud had seeds of wisdom, but that the seeds need to be fostered by all of the new knowledge and innovation and most importantly positive results brought about by the paradigm-shift of cognitive neuroscience when it comes to treating people with these strangest of mental states and behaviors. The writing by Blakeslee and Ramachandran gives us, not only clear descriptions of the complex workings of the brain, but it entertains us through humor and philosophical insights as to the meaning of self, consciousness, and the mechanisms of belief.

But most remarkable of all are those patients who have deeply moving spiritual experiences, including a feeling of divine presence and the sense that they are in direct communion with God. He makes the case that all the lies, excuses and rationalization patients use are nothing more than an extreme case of defense mechanisms we all engage in -be it the bills or denying our final destination, death.

Ramachandran then often discusses some experiments that he and his collaborators did to shed light on puzzles going along with the condition, sometimes leading to insights that could help the patient or at least provide a basis for the development of treatments.

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Phantoms in the Brain