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

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HarperCollins, Aug 18, 1999 - Medical - 352 pages
504 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.

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Good overall introduction to neuroscience. - Goodreads
the writing isn't fabulous but the materials is great. - Goodreads
Very easy to read and very interesting. - Goodreads
Offers a nice insight into working of brain. - Goodreads
Exceptional writing. - Goodreads
Ramachandran is a great writer and my personal hero. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Rahul Radhakrishnan - Goodreads

My first non-fiction book. VS Ramachandran is clearly a genius. He does keep you interested with an investigative sort of style, though the scientist in him starts dwelling into more details on the ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Alex Curry - Goodreads

One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone that's interested in how the world spins. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

V. S. Ramachandran is the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of "A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness".

Sandra Blakeslee is a science correspondent at the "New York Times" who specializes in the brain sciences.

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