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Phantoms in the Brain

V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee (HaperCollins Publishers: September 1999), 352 pages.

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 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, how we make decisions, deceive ourselves and dream, perhaps even why we’re so clever at philosophy, music and art. 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 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. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Foreword
    • Preface
    • Ch. 1    The Phantom Within    1
    • Ch. 2    "Knowing Where to Scratch"    21
    • Ch. 3    Chasing the Phantom    39
    • Ch. 4    The Zombie in the Brain    63
    • Ch. 5    The Secret Life of James Thurber    85
    • Ch. 6    Through the Looking Glass    113
    • Ch. 7    The Sound of One Hand Clapping    127
    • Ch. 8    "The Unbearable Likeness of Being"    158
    • Ch. 9    God and the Limbic System    174
    • Ch. 10    The Woman Who Died Laughing    199
    • Ch. 11    "You Forgot to Deliver the Twin"    212
    • Ch. 12    Do Martians See Red?    227
    • Acknowledgments    259
    • Notes    263
    • Bibliography and Suggested Reading    299
    • Index    314