THE TELL-TALE BRAIN: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

Ramachandran (Psychology and Neurosciences/Univ. of California, San Diego; A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, 2005, etc.) sets his sights on explaining the neuroscience that underlies characteristics he considers unique to humans beings.The author suggests that some 150,000 years ago, hominid brains underwent a "phase transition" (like water becoming ice), so that some brain centers expanded and ... Read full review

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Amazing book on many aspects of human's mind and self!

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An awesome book about why the brain does what it does
I am a total non biology guy who left biology at class 10 itself... Just picked up the book out of curiosity and never could put it down... Told in a story style even a non biologist like me also found it interesting. A must read for everyone

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17th May 2011
The Winner's Brain was a good starter. Dr. Ramachandran also talks about the developments in the last 15-20 years in 'Neuro---' departments. He engages readers with lucid style, though
the concepts he is unveiling are complex. Just finished the preface, can't wait to finish the book!
20th May 2011
Finished the first chapter. Dr Ramachandran takes the reader through the exciting world of phantom limbs, mirror neurons, mirror boxes, ... He concludes that human beings are endowed with special capabilities in their brains to leverage plasticity & neoteny to their advantage.
22nd May 2011
Dr. Ramachandran has employed a conversational style, not undermining the intellect of the reader. Brings the reader to his own intellectual level by self deprecating now & then.
He, not only quotes the experts in respective fields, to bring tongue-cheek-humor, he gets the quotes from others too. Sample this: Woody Allen said that the brain is 'the second most favorite organ!'
While talking about the mechanism of seeing & knowing; he explains a commonly held fallacy even amongst the learned, 'Homunculus Fallacy'. In the same chapter, explains about 'Capgras Syndrome' with illustrative case studies. And, ends the chapter with the implications of Capgras Syndrome, with respect to wife, may lead to 'Coolidge effect'. The explanation about how, medical students memorize about Amygdala's role is quite illuminating;) 'Amygdala plays role in feeding, fighting, fleeing & wooing' situations. The medical students remember it as 4Fs!
Amidst these pieces the author succeeds illuminating the reader's brain. Probably, while writing the author might be imagining the different specific areas of the reader's brain getting illuminated specifically!
Dr. Ramachandran offers elegance in prose and brilliance in content, in the book.
He introduces the readers to 'Synesthesia' through exciting case studies to establish link between our different senses and shows the anatomical links/proximity in the brain. The case studies include 'Synesthates' who can see martian colors in numbers, some can see colors in the musical notes they hear! He wonders whether the mystery behind creativity & metaphors can be solved through the knowledge. But, this is just the beginning!
Then he takes us on the journey through 'mirror Neurons' and how their advancement within human brains might have distinguished human beings from the other animals.
He takes us to the autists and wonders whether the solution lies in mirror neurons. He makes the readers, co-researchers in the journey through the 'Brain Atlas'! and tries to solve the riddle of 'autism'.
In the next chapter, he leverages the knowledge of synesthesis & mirror neurons to propose language evolution linkage with our brain's evolution. He also coins 'synekinesis' (mimic of facial & hand gestures for forming a word) as the basis for proto-language formation.
Mr. Dawkins has rightly called him 'Marco Polo of the Brain'. The author takes us through the exciting journey into the brain. In the process, he establishes that human brain's anatomical evolution set aside human beings from the other animals.
30th May 2011
Completed reading the book y'day. Dr. V S Ram explores universal laws of fine arts to explain how anatomy of human brain is uniquely endowed to create & enjoy (through 'hyper-excitation' of brain) fine arts.
In the last chapter, the author delineates the quest for understanding 'self' and 'qualia' by philosophers. The neuroscientists have started exploring the answers through the anatomy of brain. He explains this journey through exciting case studies of 'I'm with God', 'phantom twin', 'This-is not my arm', ... syndromes.
The book is highly enjoyable, intellectually stimulating. Looking forward to the

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New discovery of mirror and empathy was invented by Nietzsche long long ago.He wrote "Guilt simply meant that debt was owed and punishment was simply a form of securing repayment .As a human one cannot claim our actions are determined by forces exterior to self.This inner anguish over moral uncertainty is a central understanding them feeling guilt arise. I think Dostoevsky, Van Gaff also suffered from this guilt feeling. It arise when victim helpless to help to person whom he show empathy.Recently I wrote one essay on Hitler. Hitler`s father bit everyday to his mother empathy arise in Hitler`s mind to save her from his father`s tyranny but he was three year old so helpless.How he taken revenge on Jew is well known fact.  

Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Jody - Goodreads

Interesting ideas and info. Writing style needs editing. Read full review

Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Siri - Goodreads

Ramachandran is an accessible writer for a subject than can sometimes be inaccessible: science. Lots of his real life experiences humanize the subject matter. I learned some stuff about phantom limbs and the brain that i will likely never apply. It was all very interesting. Read full review

Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Tamarah - Goodreads

A lot of interesting information here -- mirror neurons, synesthesia. I learnt a lot. But I didn't enjoy it. As a previous reviewer said: "While the text is informative and suitable for a non-expert ... Read full review

Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

User Review  - John Crane - Goodreads

The first half was brilliant and engaging -but the second half was a slog as Ramachandran looks at hypothetical arguments for the evolution of language, aesthetics and consciousness. Not my thing. Read full review

Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

User Review  - Kathy - Goodreads

(Actually 2 1/2 stars) Dr. Ramachandran is obviously a brilliant neuroscientist, but in this book he shows himself also to be a very arrogant man, who dismisses as idiotic people whose views vary ... Read full review

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