Phantoms in the Brain, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'Phantoms in The Brain' takes a revolutionary new approach to theories of the brain, from one of the world's leading experimental neurologists. 'Phantoms in The Brain', using a series of case histories, introduces strange and unexplored mental worlds.

Ramachandran, through his research into brain damage, has discovered that the brain is continually organising itself in response to change.

A woman maintains that her left arm is not paralysed, a young man loses his right arm in a motorcycle accident, yet he continues to feel a phantom arm with vivid sensation of movement.

In a series of experiments using nothing more than Q-tips and dribbles of warm water the young man helped Ramachandran discover how the brain is remapped after injury.

Ramachandran believes that cases such as these illustrate fundamental principles of how the human brain operates.

The brain 'needs to create a "script" or a story to make sense of the world, a unified and internally consistent belief system'.

Ramachandran's radical new approach will have far-reaching effects.




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Review by

Abnormal syndromes illustrate fundamental principles that govern the way human minds and brains work, shedding light on body image, language, laughter, dreams, depression and other aspects of our nature.

Review by

This book, written by neurologist V. S. Ramachandran, suggests that by looking at case studies of individuals with particular types of brain injuries we can learn a lot about the the human mind. He looks at examples of patients with phantom limb syndrome, vision problems, paralysis and other problems and uses his understanding of their neurological (physiological) causes to speculate on their implications about the structure and functioning of a "normal" human brain.I found this very interesting to read, with descriptions of both symptoms and anatomy being very clear and easy to follow, although it is a little repetitive in places. However, although I know very little about neurology myself, I found some of his theories hard to swallow - it was often unclear if he was neglecting to mention the evidence he had to back them or if there was no evidence at all. I am particularly skeptical of his explanations for foot-fetishes and anorexia.A quote which I think sums up Ramachandran's view of the brain well: "Freud's most valuable contribution was his discovery that your conscious mind is simply a facade and that you are completely unaware of 90 percent of what really goes on in your brain."