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characters The Tell Tale Brain A Neuroscientist's uest for What Makes Us Human

The Tell Tale Brain A Neuroscientist's uest for What Makes Us Human

Kles the most exciting and controversial topics in neurology with a storyteller's eye for compelling case studies and a researcher's flair for new approaches to age old uestions Tracing the strange links between neurology and behavior this book unveils a wealth of clues into the deepest mysteries of the human brain Ramachandran explores through fascinating case story telling and research data the mysteries of the human brain His examples of brain memory are an eye opener and give a new perspective on how we view the dynamics of consciousness and health issues related to brain defects and injuries I am most grateful after reading his book to finally understand why people feel pain in their stomach first when they have appendicitis just one of those mysteries in life I always wondered about Although uite technical I found this to be one of the most informative books in brain science that I have readMartha Love Author of What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct andIncreasing Intuitional Intelligence How the Awareness of Instinctual Gut Feelings Fosters Human Learning Intuition and Longevity

review ✓ eBook or Kindle ePUB ☆ V.S. Ramachandran

V S Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the Marco Polo of neuroscience Now in a major new work Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniueness Taking us to the frontiers of neurology he reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us ab This is a brilliant book by a first rate scientist Ramachandran has personally made some amazing discoveries in the field of neuroscience His writing is lucid and his enthusiastic personable style makes this an informative as well as a very entertaining bookRamachandran's approach is to investigate patients who have had varying degrees and types of brain defects or injuries These patients acuire abilities or handicaps that Ramachandran interprets and analyzes in the hope of casting light on the underlying structure of the brain Some of these handicaps are uite bizarre for example blindsight in which a person has only subconscious ability to see; synesthesia in which a person sees numbers or musical notes in colors; fantom limbs in which an amputee feels pain emanating from the missing limb; a condition where a person with partial paralysis vehemently denies that heshe has any problem; and many many interesting casesRamachandran shows how important mirror neurons are in making us human He explains why they evolved in our brains and how central the feeling of empathy is to human survival This topic is made exuisitely interesting by Ramachandran's original analyses and hypotheses What's Ramachandran often proposes experiments that could be used to test his hypotheses Given enough time I think that he would personally perform all of these experiments The Book of Revelation reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us ab This is a brilliant book by a first Classics Devotional Bible rate scientist Ramachandran has personally made some amazing discoveries in the field of neuroscience His writing is lucid and his enthusiastic personable style makes this an informative as well as a very entertaining bookRamachandran's approach is to investigate patients who have had varying degrees and types of brain defects or injuries These patients acuire abilities or handicaps that Ramachandran interprets and analyzes in the hope of casting light on the underlying structure of the brain Some of these handicaps are uite bizarre for example blindsight in which a person has only subconscious ability to see; synesthesia in which a person sees numbers or musical notes in colors; fantom limbs in which an amputee feels pain emanating from the missing limb; a condition where a person with partial paralysis vehemently denies that heshe has any problem; and many many interesting casesRamachandran shows how important mirror neurons are in making us human He explains why they evolved in our brains and how central the feeling of empathy is to human survival This topic is made exuisitely interesting by Ramachandran's original analyses and hypotheses What's Ramachandran often proposes experiments that could be used to test his hypotheses Given enough time I think that he would personally perform all of these experiments

V.S. Ramachandran ☆ 3 free download

Out normal brain function and how it evolved Synesthesia becomes a window into the brain mechanisms that make some of us creative than others And autism for which Ramachandran opens a new direction for treatment gives us a glimpse of the aspect of being human that we understand least self awareness Ramachandran tac Brilliant books as expected from the prestigious reviews seen on its cover It's a book about various aspects of human brain functions explained in lay language but without compromising the uality of the information A case study illustrates the issue at the start of each chapter then the chapter goes into explaining what is known about the issue but the author is a researcher and a clinician and this book goes far beyond just describing the state of the art Many new hypotheses are presented and the author discusses them in all honesty presenting the evidence indicating that these hypotheses are plausible and presenting also the possible experiments that could be done in the future to support the hypothesesI particularly enjoyed the parts dealing with mirror neurons intropspection and evolution of langage I truly learned a lot I have been a researcher in psycholinguistics for about 6 years in the past about 8 years ago and I have never come accross such a good synthesis of the main issues and main hypotheses on the topic of the evolution of language of course a lot could be written but it's an excellent read and the author has brilliant new ideas on this topic like on many others The author has been compared to a new Marco Polo Yes indeed fantastic journey


10 thoughts on “The Tell Tale Brain A Neuroscientist's uest for What Makes Us Human

  1. says:

    Ramachandran is as wonderful a writer as he is a brilliant scientist which easy reading of not always simple science In his book Phantoms In The Brain Human Nature And The Architecture Of The Mind neurologist Ramachandran was concerned with how the physical brain and what goes wrong with it affects the mind A very similar field to Oliver Sacks They really differ in that Sacks thought of all his patients as people who had an often very interesting disorder Ramachandran thinks of them as patients In this book he is concerned with how disorders of the person that originate in the brain are related to the physical brain to the structures of it and how it works In both books everything is illustrated with examples of people and their behavioural problems with roots in neurology not psychology Sometimes the author uses them as a jumping off point for a lecture on the brain neurons the very important but hitherto unknown by me mirror neurons our senses and various structures of the brainOne of the most interesting to me because I have experienced it many times in my wonderfully mispent youth view spoiler not over yet well the youth is but the 'wonderfully mispending' or I hope not anyway hide spoiler


  2. says:

    Brilliant book Informative entertaining and never too pedantic Some of the concepts teeter on the edge of wild speculation but is cheerfully admitted to be so by the author Am truly lucky to have an autographed copy of this pathbreaking book Will try to give a longer review with some of the important points later Anatomy IS Destiny


  3. says:

    This is a brilliant book by a first rate scientist Ramachandran has personally made some amazing discoveries in the field of neuroscience His writing is lucid and his enthusiastic personable style makes this an informative as well as a very entertaining bookRamachandran's approach is to investigate patients who have had varying degrees and types of brain defects or injuries These patients acuire abilities or handicaps that Ramachandran interprets and analyzes in the hope of casting light on the underlying structure of the brain Some of these handicaps are uite bizarre for example blindsight in which a person has only subconscious ability to see; synesthesia in which a person sees numbers or musical notes in colors; fantom limbs in which an amputee feels pain emanating from the missing limb; a condition where a person with partial paralysis vehemently denies that heshe has any problem; and many many interesting casesRamachandran shows how important mirror neurons are in making us human He explains why they evolved in our brains and how central the feeling of empathy is to human survival This topic is made exuisitely interesting by Ramachandran's original analyses and hypotheses What's Ramachandran often proposes experiments that could be used to test his hypotheses Given enough time I think that he would personally perform all of these experiments


  4. says:

    I've never read Ramachandran in long form before and I don't think I ever will again This stuff is right up my tree – popular neurology – but no I started having a sinking feeling at Over the years I have worked with hundreds of patients afflicted though some feel they are blessed with a great diversity of unusual and curious neurological disorders Oh really said my eyebrows because that could either be a careless turn of phrase or a blunt dismissal of the social model of disability and the understanding of disability as anything other than a curse I forged on with an open mindSpoilers it was the second oneA few of the lowlights a lot of clinically accurate yet deeply disturbing discussion of autism in which Ramachandran all but uestions the place of autistic people in the human race; repeated descriptions of how brave it is for patients to try to remain happy despite their afflictions I mean can you imagine actually being happy with a disability; an endorsement of Cure Autism Now which I will put in the correct disability politics context by explaining that my hiss and recoil was exactly the same you'd make if you were a lifelong liberal who discovered the person advising you on political facts was an ardent Tea PartierSo yeah Really wish I hadn't given him any money


  5. says:

    I don't really know all that much about neuroscience or the field in general so please take this review with a grain of salt I have to say that I was pretty disappointed by The Tell Tale Brain which billed itself to be an overview tour of the brain and how it is used to delineate our sense of self This is primarily achieved by examining brain based maladies with the thinking that really outlandish and odd neurological conditions can highlight what different parts of the brain are responsible for and how they might work together This is a sound logical approach and some of the conditions hinted at in the introduction were so bizarre that I was readying myself for a wild ride For the most part the informational content of the book is sound Ramachandran is a leader in the field of neuroscience a giant among his peers and worthy of a lot of the praise he receives for the therapies and intuitions he's developed over the years diagnosing and treating neurological conditions using a Sherlock Holmesian approach Unfortunately it seems that a lot of that praise has gone to Dr Ramachandran's head and he feels compelled to constantly insert his self into the tale in ways that I personally found obtrusive and distracting I'm willing to concede that maybe I was being really picky and finicky or that maybe the thought of my vacation's imminent end distracted my with upcoming responsibilities while reading through the book preventing immersion and heightening my focus on words and phrases that jarred In fact I'm hoping someone I know will read this and give a second opinion to either tell me I'm crazy or if there's really something there and I'm not just imagining thingsAnyway there were several things that bothered me about this book as a scientific work even one designed for popular audiences and most of these problems are stylistic Each chapter is divided into a different aspect of brain function and follows a general problem of examining curious cases of neurological maladies and what it reveals about how our brains work within that process There are chapters relating to vision and perception feeling and consciousness The approach and format work well and provide interesting stories and one would expect that most of these stories would be from personal experience Ramachandran gives the impression in almost every single chapter and disease that he was absolutely instrumental in the diagnosis and development of treatment The general pattern of diseaserevelation is followed by a not so subtle pattern of And that led me to propose in 199X blah blah blah which was later confirmed by so and so and is now the standard treatment in dealing with blah blah blah disease This latter habit casts the rest of the work in a very poor light to me It shifts the focus of the book from the evolutionary and functional development of the brain to the achievements of Dr Ramachandran the Great and Magnificent and by the way here's some stuff about the brain that I figured out to sate your curiosity Am I being unfair? Maybe Ramachandran is a very well respected neurologist and a lot of the works he congratulates himself for have been professionally published and reviewed In short he deserves the praise but doing so yourself is really distracting Perhaps I'm especially cognizant of this self congratulation because of the volume of scientific memoirs and pop sci books I consume True I usually stick to the physical sciences but earlier this year I did read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and the experience was very different In Emperor Mukherjee used case studies to give a personal context to the disease being studied to bring the science and history of cancer to life There's a reverence when dealing with the patients that seems befitting and less like they're being used by the author Dr Ramachandran seems to do uite the reverse At times it feels like his list of patients are rungs on the ladder of achievement and excuses for self congratulation and personal aggrandizements Again Dr Ramachandran is indeed a renowned neuroscientist with plenty of professional publications and treatment methods ascribed to his name He has earned bragging rights but there are whole chapters of this book where he comes across as narcissistic I've also read Einstein and Feynman in their own words pivotal figures in the development of physics and wonderful people to boot Their works are personal yet filled with humility and almost never bespeak their personal achievements If you didn't know what they achieved before picking up their autobiographies you wouldn't really have any idea about them after even when they were talking about developments in their respective fields to lay audiences Ramachandran's style was just a major turn off to meThe second major problem I had was probably the fault of the editors of the work Ramachandran has a rather annoying habit of giving asides that come across as flippant or pedantic He includes references to other fields and terminology or to literary works not because they elucidate some principle he's discussing but because it makes him look smart Or at least that's the way I read it Here's an exampleNote that the fusiform area itself mainly performs a dry classification of objects It discriminates Ps from s hawks from handsaws and Joe from Jane but it does not assign significance to any of them Its role is analogous to that of a shell collector conchologist or a butterfly collector lepidopterist who classifies and labels hundreds of specimens into discrete nonoverlapping conceptual bins without necessarily knowing or caring anything else about themAgain call me picky Both of these are good analogies however it seems redundant and almsot braggadocious boastful to give the jargon once you've already made the point Either use conchologist and lepidopterist and expect your audience to know what you mean or just stick with shell collector and butterfly collector and move on Doing otherwise makes it appear that you're showing off your fancy lexicon like you're trying out for Jeopardy or something One instance may be forgiven but the redundant use of these parentheticals continues throughout the work As an editor I'd have eliminated them The last problem I had again stylistically was the inclusion of dialogue in significant portions of the book Certainly science writers make use of occasional bits of dialogue and uotation in their works Mukherjee does this in Emperor of all Maladies but these instances are usually well contained and brief or are extracted from recordings or interviews Ramachandran seems to re invent whole passages of conversations from 15 years ago right down to the jokes he used and the responses he's gotten Either his memory is incredible or he's just making them up to suit the point he's trying to make usually points that are already well made by their invocation in the narrative The following example was from the early part of the chapter on synesthesiaCertain otherwise normal people claim they see sounds or that certain numbers always evoke certain colors” we told the class “If any one of you experiences this please raise your hands”To our disappointment not a single hand went up But later that day as I was chatting with Ed in my office two students knocked on the door One of them Susan had striking blue eyes streaks of red dye in her blonde ringlets a silver ring in her belly button and an enormous skateboard She said to us “I’m one of those people you talked about in class Dr Ramachandran I didn’t raise my hand because I didn’t want people to think I was weird or something I didn’t even know that there were others like me or that the condition had a nameEd and I looked at each other pleasantly surprised We asked the other student to come back later and waved Susan into a chair She leaned the skateboard against the wall and sat down“How long have you experienced this?” I asked“Oh from early childhood But I didn’t really pay much attention to it at that time I suppose But then it gradually dawned on me that it was really odd and I didn’t discuss it with anyoneI didn’t want people thinking I was crazy or something Until you mentioned it in class I didn’t know that it had a name What did you call it synessomething that rhymes with anesthesia?”“It’s called synesthesia” I said “Susan I want you to describe your experiences to me in detail Our lab has a special interest in it What exactly do you experience?”“When I see certain numbers I always see specific colors The number 5 is always a specific shade of dull red 3 is blue 7 is bright blood red 8 is yellow and 9 is chartreuse”I grabbed a felt pen and pad that were on the table and drew a big 7“What do you see?”“Well it’s not a very clean 7 But it looks redI told you that”“Now I want you to think carefully before you answer this uestion Do you actually see the red? Or does it just make you think of red or make you visualize redlike a memory image For example when I hear the word ‘Cinderella’ I think of a young girl or of pumpkins or coaches Is it like that? Or do you literally see the color?”“That’s a tough one It’s something I have often asked myself I guess I do really see it That number you drew looks distinctly red to me But I can also see that it’s really black—or I should say I know it’s black So in some sense it is a memory image of sortsI must be seeing it in my mind’s eye or something But it certainly doesn’t feel like that It feels like I am actually seeing it It’s very hard to describe Doctor”“You are doing very well Susan You are a good observer and that makes everything you say valuable”The dialogue to me is just a huge distraction and deviation from the otherwise scientific tone of the work in general and don't do well to personalize the condition as I'm sure was the intention especially that bit about Susan mispronouncing synesthesia To sum up The Tell Tale Brain does contain some really good information and the sections where the information is presented without commentary work really well I liked the detective like approach to making inferences and assumptions about how the brain functions and I liked Ramachandran's overall approach toward psychology Freudian psychology specifically and his attempt to enhance those fields with a brain based physiological understanding of certain common disorders like anxiety and depersonalization I also liked that he made it a point to highlight areas for future research and to make clear to the reader when he was straying into the realms of speculation Overall there were just too many narrative and stylistic distractions for me to fully appreciate the science going on here If you're interested in neuroscience I have no alternatives to suggest since I'm rather new to the field myself but give it a shot anyway It's comprehensive and maybe I am just crazy Let me know


  6. says:

    Brilliant books as expected from the prestigious reviews seen on its cover It's a book about various aspects of human brain functions explained in lay language but without compromising the uality of the information A case study illustrates the issue at the start of each chapter then the chapter goes into explaining what is known about the issue but the author is a researcher and a clinician and this book goes far beyond just describing the state of the art Many new hypotheses are presented and the author discusses them in all honesty presenting the evidence indicating that these hypotheses are plausible and presenting also the possible experiments that could be done in the future to support the hypothesesI particularly enjoyed the parts dealing with mirror neurons intropspection and evolution of langage I truly learned a lot I have been a researcher in psycholinguistics for about 6 years in the past about 8 years ago and I have never come accross such a good synthesis of the main issues and main hypotheses on the topic of the evolution of language of course a lot could be written but it's an excellent read and the author has brilliant new ideas on this topic like on many others The author has been compared to a new Marco Polo Yes indeed fantastic journey


  7. says:

    I have to emotionally review this book and then write a response to another reviewer AMAZING So fun so many good facts and brain candy I love how out of so many things that we consider disorders we can piece together ourselves in our many arrayed fashion and find similarities and Synesthesia? What who ever heard of people responding to number color categories in the fashion fabulous So many interesting and intriguing case studies Our mind is so variable and so fragile we are all humble creatures with the minds to see ourselves withing the universe How uniue how beautiful Now I want to respond to a number of reviewers who have commented that his tone in this work made it seem as if our brain capacity is at such a higher level as to make us the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree I completely agree that this is not the case and I must say that yes the author did come across in this manner and that it is disappointing from an evolutionary view to have the author jummp to this conclusion I first realized that we are certainly not the pinnacle of anything when viewing and learning about the life cycle of moss in my biology class and finding out that they live a large diplontic phase instead of the traditional haploiddiploid phases of plants which makes them very uniue indeed and in their own way the pinnacle of their kind This only shows me that there is no pinnacle there is no such thing We can never have a diplontic life cycle we are not built to and in this way moss is superior to us if we want to apport superiority In addition we can never gather our own energy from light as many plants do and in this way they too are superior to us We do have a fascinating brain though and interesting capacities in our own right and while I must say to the author that I think he made a mistake in treating us as the pinnacle I do think our intellectual capacities should be expounded and celebrated and that we should search for new insights into this vastly interesting world we call neuroscience and consciousness In this regard the book is fabulous and he did an excellent job of conveying some of the uniueness of the mind


  8. says:

    Ramachandran explores through fascinating case story telling and research data the mysteries of the human brain His examples of brain memory are an eye opener and give a new perspective on how we view the dynamics of consciousness and health issues related to brain defects and injuries I am most grateful after reading his book to finally understand why people feel pain in their stomach first when they have appendicitis just one of those mysteries in life I always wondered about Although uite technical I found this to be one of the most informative books in brain science that I have readMartha Love Author of What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct andIncreasing Intuitional Intelligence How the Awareness of Instinctual Gut Feelings Fosters Human Learning Intuition and Longevity


  9. says:

    This book repeats a lot of stuff that's in Phantoms in the Brain so I regard it as a rip off Read one or the other but you don't need to read both I also found the way Ramachandran's politics and his antipathy to religion intrude into his neuroscience uite obnoxious He seems to be winking at the reader and saying 'you and me we're Democrats right? We're smarter and saner than guys like Dick Cheney'This kind of thing is insulting to people who've ponied up 15 dollars for his book but may not share his opinions He should confine himself to the neuroscience which is needless to say very interesting


  10. says:

    I deeply respect Ramachandran and I believe his uniue Holmesian approach to research is an invaluable benefit to a field that risks moving at a snail's pace possibly backwards in it's uest to functionally image everything to death So many of his far flung hunches have proven correct and many of his random ideas have fuelled entire directions in research I absolutely admire himThat being said I was unimpressed with this book It felt disjointed and repetitive swinging wildly from one fascinating patient to the next in anecdotal abandon reiterating everything Ramachandran has said in previous books and trying to tie it all together with a flimsy theme so broad you could make a case that every psychological observation fits into it Falsifiability is an important the most important? aspect of science and while the individual lines of inuiry the author proposes are certainly falsifiable his overarching theme of human uniueness is not though it may seem counterintuitive a theory that can be reshaped ad hoc to explain every observation is NOT a good theoryI still generally enjoyed the read I just expected better from someone so simultaneously avant garde and anachronistic in his approach to science Better editing may have helped tighten it and fix the typos and grammatical failures In particular the last paragraph of the book is a throwaway attempt at a conclusion that instead of concluding the contents of the book actually introduces an entirely new topic without getting into any of the serious discussion it warrants It's jarring overpersonal and aggressive misplaced as the concluding statement to a fairly cool and objective readDespite its fragmentary feel there are plenty of tidbits of information countless ideas for new research and a few interesting big uestions to ponder Ramachandran is an amazing scientist and generally a great writer but I think he tried too hard to make this one BIG and ended up doing the science in it a slight injustice The field in which he works is an absolutely engrossing one really in its infancy and ripe for exploration in every direction; I understand his intention in this book was to underline that point and offer a multitude of broad speculative ideas that could lead to new discoveries but in the process I think he lost some of the framing that holds the science together As Ramachandran himself states in the book good science is a meeting of vague hunches and rigorous experimentation; I expected a bit of the latter from him but still appreciated the ride offered by the former


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