Phantoms in the brain: probing the mysteries of the human mind

Front Cover
Quill, Oct 14, 1999 - Medical - 328 pages
277 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 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 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Wonderful insight into psychology and easy to read. - Goodreads
Good overall introduction to neuroscience. - Goodreads
the writing isn't fabulous but the materials is great. - Goodreads
Fascinating insight to the oddities of the human brain. - Goodreads
Very easy to read and very interesting. - Goodreads

Review: Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

Fascinating bottom-up tour of the brain via studies of brain-damaged patients. Rama's now well-known classic studies are covered in some detail - phantom limbs, synesthesia, Capgras delusion ... Read full review

Review: Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

User Review  - Tusar Thakur - Goodreads

Phenomenal book to read. Read full review

Related books

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Judith S. Wallerstein is the author, with the award-winning science writer Sandra Blakeslee, of the national bestsellers The Good Marriage; The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce; and, most recently, What About the Kids? One of the nation's leading experts on divorce, Wallerstein has appeared on Oprah,The Today Show, and Good Morning America.