Synopses & Reviews
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 such 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, and how we make decisions, deceive ourselves, and dream. 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.
A brilliant "Sherlock Holmes" of neuroscience reveals the strangest cases he has solved, uncovering bold insights into deep and quirky questions of human nature few scientists have dared to address.
About the Author
V. S. Ramachandran is the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and a professor with the psychology department and neurosciences program at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness and coauthor, with Sandra Blakeslee, of Phantoms in the Brain. He lives in San Diego. Sandra Blakeslee is a science correspondent at the New York Times who specializes in the brain sciences. She has witnessed firsthand the major developments and discoveries in neuroscience, both in the United States and abroad, for well over twenty years. She has cowritten many books, including the bestselling Second Chances with Judith Wallerstein. She is the third generation in a family of science writers. Neil Shah is an Audie Awardnominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded over twenty audiobooks, including I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran (Audie nomination), The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, The Good Son by Michael Gruber, The Black Banners by Ali H. Soufan, House of Stone by Anthony Shadid, and Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger. He is also a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe/University of San Diego program and has appeared on Off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television. Neil currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife.