The Tell-Tale Brain

The Tell-Tale Brain
Author: V. S. Ramachandran
Publisher: Random House
Total Pages: 386
Release: 2012
Genre: Affective neuroscience
ISBN: 0099537591

This fascinating book reveals what we learn about human nature when the brain goes wrong. It looks at why the human brain is so unique and examines how it became so complex.

Phantoms in the Brain

Phantoms in the Brain
Author: V. S. Ramachandran
Publisher: Harper Collins
Total Pages: 353
Release: 1999-08-18
Genre: Medical
ISBN: 0688172172

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.

Braintrust

Braintrust
Author: Patricia S. Churchland
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Total Pages: 296
Release: 2018-05-22
Genre: Philosophy
ISBN: 0691180970

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality. Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality. A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

The Neuroscience of You

The Neuroscience of You
Author: Chantel Prat
Publisher: Penguin
Total Pages: 385
Release: 2022-08-02
Genre: Science
ISBN: 1524746614

From University of Washington professor Chantel Prat comes The Neuroscience of You, a rollicking adventure into the human brain that reveals the surprising truth about neuroscience, shifting our focus from what’s average to an understanding of how every brain is different, exactly why our quirks are important, and what this means for each of us. With style and wit, Chantel Prat takes us on a tour of the meaningful ways that our brains are dissimilar from one another. Using real-world examples, along with take-them-yourself tests and quizzes, she shows you how to identify the strengths and weakness of your own brain, while learning what might be going on in the brains of those who are unlike you. With sections like “Focus,” “Navigate,” and “Connect,” The Neuroscience of You helps us see how brains that are engineered differently ultimately take diverse paths when it comes time to prioritize information, use what they’ve learned from experience, relate to other people, and so much more. While other scientists focus on how “the” brain works “on average,” Prat argues that our obsession with commonalities has slowed our progress toward understanding the very things that make each of us unique and interesting. Her field-leading research, employing cutting-edge technology, reveals the truth: Complicated as it may be, no two brains are alike. And individual differences in brain functioning are as pervasive as they are fundamental to defining what “normal” looks like. Adages such as, “I’m not wired that way” intuitively point to the fact that the brains we’re piloting, educating, and parenting are wonderfully distinct, explaining a whole host of phenomena, from how easily a person might learn a second language in adulthood to whether someone feels curious or threatened when faced with new information. This book invites the reader to understand themselves and others by zooming in so close that we all look gray and squishy.

The Ravenous Brain

The Ravenous Brain
Author: Daniel Bor
Publisher: Basic Books
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2012-08-28
Genre: Science
ISBN: 0465032966

Consciousness is our gateway to experience: it enables us to recognize Van Gogh’s starry skies, be enraptured by Beethoven’s Fifth, and stand in awe of a snowcapped mountain. Yet consciousness is subjective, personal, and famously difficult to examine: philosophers have for centuries declared this mental entity so mysterious as to be impenetrable to science. In The Ravenous Brain, neuroscientist Daniel Bor departs sharply from this historical view, and builds on the latest research to propose a new model for how consciousness works. Bor argues that this brain-based faculty evolved as an accelerated knowledge gathering tool. Consciousness is effectively an idea factory—that choice mental space dedicated to innovation, a key component of which is the discovery of deep structures within the contents of our awareness. This model explains our brains’ ravenous appetite for information—and in particular, its constant search for patterns. Why, for instance, after all our physical needs have been met, do we recreationally solve crossword or Sudoku puzzles? Such behavior may appear biologically wasteful, but, according to Bor, this search for structure can yield immense evolutionary benefits—it led our ancestors to discover fire and farming, pushed modern society to forge ahead in science and technology, and guides each one of us to understand and control the world around us. But the sheer innovative power of human consciousness carries with it the heavy cost of mental fragility. Bor discusses the medical implications of his theory of consciousness, and what it means for the origins and treatment of psychiatric ailments, including attention-deficit disorder, schizophrenia, manic depression, and autism. All mental illnesses, he argues, can be reformulated as disorders of consciousness—a perspective that opens up new avenues of treatment for alleviating mental suffering. A controversial view of consciousness, The Ravenous Brain links cognition to creativity in an ingenious solution to one of science’s biggest mysteries.

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness
Author: V. S. Ramachandran
Publisher: Dutton Books
Total Pages: 218
Release: 2004
Genre: Medical
ISBN:

"How can people come to believe that their poodle is an impostor? Or see colors in numbers? Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, said of V. S. Ramachandran's first book, "The patients he describes are fascinating, and his experiments on them are both simple and ingenious." With his unique energy and style Ramachandran now shares his insights into the mind from such everyday human experiences as pain, sight, and the appreciation of beauty to the ultimate philosophical conundrums of consciousness."--BOOK JACKET.

The Making of the Mind

The Making of the Mind
Author: Ronald T. Kellogg
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Total Pages: 296
Release: 2013-07-16
Genre: Psychology
ISBN: 1616147342

Using the findings of recent neuroscience, a psychologist reveals what sets humans apart from all other species, offering a fascinating exploration of our marvelous and sometimes frightening cognitive abilities and potentials. According to human genome research, there is a remarkable degree of overlap in the DNA of humans and chimpanzees. So what accounts for the rapid development of human culture throughout history and the extraordinary creative and destructive aspects of human behavior that make us so different from our primate cousins? Kellogg explores in detail five distinctive parts of human cognition. These are the executive functions of working memory; a social intelligence with "mind-reading" abilities; a capacity for symbolic thought and language; an inner voice that interprets conscious experiences by making causal inferences; and a means for mental time travel to past events and imagined futures. He argues that it is the interaction of these five components that results in our uniquely human mind. This is especially true for three quintessentially human endeavors-morality, spirituality, and literacy, which can be understood only in light of the whole ensemble's interactive effects. Kellogg recaps the story of the human mind and speculates on its future. How might the Internet, 24/7 television, and smart phones affect the way the mind functions?

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain (Enhanced Edition)

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain (Enhanced Edition)
Author: Michael S. Gazzaniga
Publisher: HarperCollins
Total Pages: 448
Release: 2015-02-24
Genre: Science
ISBN: 0062390368

With extensive video footage of his trailblazing cognitive experiments, Michael Gazzaniga—the “father of cognitive neuroscience”—illuminates the discoveries behind his groundbreaking work in this enhanced digital edition of Tales from Both Sides of the Brain. Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker. In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths. In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Gazzaniga tells the impassioned story of his life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas. By turns humorous and moving, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain interweaves Gazzaniga’s scientific achievements with his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades in arms—the many patients, friends, and family who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.

The Tell

The Tell
Author: V S Ramachandran
Publisher: Random House India
Total Pages: 538
Release: 2012-05-17
Genre: Literary Collections
ISBN: 8184002432

The brain remains a mystery to us. How can a three-pound mass of jelly that can fit in our palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos? Renowned neuroscientist Prof. V.S. Ramachandran takes us on a fascinating journey into the human brain by studying patients who exhibit bizarre symptoms and using them to understand the functions of a normal brain. Along the way he asks big questions: How did abstract thinking evolve? What is art? Why do we laugh? How are these hardwired into the neural mechanisms of the human brain, and why did they evolve? Brilliant, lucid, and utterly compelling, The Tell-Tale Brain is a path-breaking book from one of the leading neuroscientists.