In some instances, as with phantom limbs, I can claim to have genuinely solved the mystery. He once wrote to his ophthalmologist: Years ago you told me about a nun of the middle centuries who confused her retinal disturbances with holy visitation, although she saw only about one tenth of the holy symbols I see. The pain could also result in part from remapping. cartoons for which he was so famous were probably provoked by his visual handicap (Figure 5.1).1 Thus James Thurber was not blind in the sense that you or I might think of blindness—a falling darkness like the blackest night sky, entirely devoid of moonlight and stars, or even a complete absence of vision— an unbearable void. And in denial or anosognosia pa− tients, you often notice a similar warping of their beliefs to accommodate their distorted body image. Both the Neanderthal and Cro−Magnon cranial capacities were actually larger than ours, and it's not inconceivable that their latent potential intelligence may have been equal to or even greater than that of Homo sapiens. But here we have proof that something like repression is going on, albeit on a smaller time scale, with no possibility that the patient's behavior was unduly influenced by the experimenter. In the rapture was a clarity, an apprehension of the divine—no categories, no boundaries, just a Oneness with the Creator. CHAPTER 4 The Zombie in the Brain He refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic. "Rama, you're not going to believe this. "Yes." All she had were two short stumps dangling from her shoulders. For instance, when you experienced yellow qualia, you could say yellow, or you could think of yellow bananas, yellow teeth, the yellow skin of jaundice and so on. But if, as happens in Charles Bonnet syndrome, the brain does not receive confirming visual stimuli, it is free simply to make up its own reality. I have often wondered whether the man's emotional empathy with the pregnant woman (or perhaps pheromones from her) somehow releases prolactin—a key pregnancy hormone—in her husband's brain, causing some of these changes to emerge. If they suddenly had a migraine attack would they deny it?" Nadia, whose IQ measured between 60 and 70, was an artistic genius. She interrupted. Post Operatively saline is injected into digitally sampled in real time with a dual-channel video capture card the Port to restrict or allow inflow. What is truly remarkable, though, is that to keep the illusion going, she actually invests each personality with different voices, intonations, motivations, mannerisms and even different immune systems—almost two bodies, one is tempted to say. The sensory input from these two patches of skin is now apparently activating the hand territory of the brain (either in the thalamus or in the cortex). In walking down the street, nearly every woman's face might look like his mother's or every young man might resemble his brother. Phantoms in the Brain (1998) is an enduring classic of popular science that has transformed how we think about the brain and its relationship to the human experience. It contains important insights into the human organism— ones that deserve serious scientific scrutiny. The brain is viewed from the top. The problem arises, they argue, from peculiarities in our use of language or from logically flawed assumptions about the visual process. There are at least two possibilities. As he gazed into the mirror, he gasped and then cried out, "Oh, my God! The reticular activating system—a tangle of neurons in the brain stem that projects widely to vast regions of the brain—activates the entire cerebral cortex, leading to arousal and wakefulness, or—when needed—a small portion of the cortex, leading to selective attention. " Bill laughed out loud at the punch line. Still other cells fire when the gaze is way off 119 to the left or the right. And from that day on, his phantom pain disappeared. Every object and event—not just salient ones—would become imbued with deep significance, so that the patient 128 would see "the universe in a grain of sand" and "hold[s] infinity in the palm of his hand." People often assume that Galileo invented the telescope, but he did not. But they can be used to clarify logical points, and I will use them here to introduce the problem of qualia in a colorful way. To test this possibility, I contacted two of my colleagues who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy—Dr. Is there any way you could see him?" The how system without qualia, on the other hand, engages in continuous real−time processing running in a tightly closed loop—like the thermostat in your house. When he stared at the tapestries in his apartment, he saw bizarre transformations involving people with strange gazes and animals that were, he realized, flowing from his brain and not the weaver's loom. Some of them initially looked perplexed, but upon seeing the reflection of the pen or candy in the mirror, they chuckled, and—with a conspiratorial air—reached correctly 89 for the object on the left just as you or I might. He was driving home from soccer practice, tired and hungry from the exercise, when a car in the opposite lane swerved in front of him. This will help you understand what Dr. Pons discovered and, in turn, how phantom limbs emerge. 85 Neglect is clinically important for two reasons. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. There are literally hundreds of fascinating case studies, which appear in the older medical journals. "Do they look blurred?" Oliver Sacks5 tells the strange tale of a woman who, like many left hemineglect patients, ate food only from the right side of her plate. What would happen if you put a mirror on the patient's right side at right angles to her shoulder? He only claimed they were impostors when they met and spoke face−to−face. Drew's entire visual field was filled with a homogeneous background. Until now we have discussed what philosophers call the "qualia" problem—the essential privacy and noncommunicability of mental states—and I've tried to transform it from a philosophical problem into a scientific one. Second, remapping doesn't account for what both doctor and patient are most seriously concerned about—the genesis of phantom pain. We can all imagine something traveling faster than the speed of light. But in some rare instances, it's possible that this schism becomes literal so that you end up with two "separate minds." As a biologist, I am inclined to go with Gould; I believe that natural selection is certainly the single most important driving force of evolution, but I also believe that each case needs to be examined individually. "Dr. Ramachandran," she said, "I'm a graduate student at Beth Israel Hospital and for several years I've been studying Parkinson's disease. Given limited time and resources, a scientist always has to strike a balance between wasting time on tenuous and unrepeatable "effects" (such as cold fusion, poly−water or Kirlian photography) and being open−minded (keeping in mind the lessons from continental drift or asteroid impacts). The letter is a symbolic description of your bedroom. The "zombie" corresponded to the how pathway, which was still largely intact, and the "person" corresponded to the what pathway, which was badly damaged. In other words, is the remapping seen in Tom and in Pons's monkeys peculiar to touch, or does it point to a very general principle—would it occur for sensations like warmth, cold, pain or vibration? Not long ago I met a gentleman, Bill Marshall, who had suffered a stroke a week earlier. First, the reorganization could involve sprouting—the actual growth of new branches from nerve fibers that normally innervate the face area toward cells in the hand area in the cortex. Littlewood, who also went over the manuscripts. We take all this for granted now, but at that time it was a revolutionary insight. One is the "where" pathway, which terminates in the parietal lobe (on the sides of your brain above the ears); the other, sometimes called the "what" pathway, goes to the temporal lobe (underlying the temples). I know you want my phantom to start moving again, but without the mirror it doesn't." Moreover, even if sprouting occurs, how would the new fibers "know" where to go? To understand what is going on here, let us return to our general in the war room. The child, growing up, finds the abuse so emotionally intolerable that she gradually walls it off into Sue's world, not Peggy's. The colors are vibrant, extraordinarily vivid, and the images actually look more real than real objects, if you see what I mean." "If it's possible to provoke an asthmatic attack through conditioning merely by showing a plastic rose to a patient, then theoretically it ought to be possible to abort or neutralize the attack through conditioning as well. Weir Mitchell himself was so surprised by the phenomenon that he published the first article on the subject under a pseudonym in a popular magazine called Lippincott's Journal rather than risk facing the ridicule from his colleagues that might have ensued had he published in a professional medical journal. If you constantly changed your mind about qualia, the number of potential outcomes (or "outputs") would be infinite; nothing would constrain your behavior. We wondered whether using the mirror box could help Robert eliminate his spasms. As the British psychologist Stuart Sutherland has said, "Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it evolved. "Mrs. Dodds, how are you feeling today?" —Ovid Tom Sorenson vividly recalls the horrifying circumstances that led to the loss of his arm. —The Rubàiyât of Omar Khayyam I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routines of everyday life. "On some occasions I see Disney cartoons. Phantoms in the Brain. (From here on I will call it the "how" pathway.) What is meant by a symbolic description in the brain? Do you remember telling me that your left arm was fine, that it wasn't paralyzed?" Given these assumptions, other predictions follow.10 What happens when the penis is amputated? Would it not then, as Erwin Schrö−dinger said, have been a mere "play before empty benches"? You form a memory of that episode and tuck it away in your brain. I suggest that they are filling in missing information in much the same way that Josh did except that they are using high−level stored memories.14 So, in Bonnet syndrome, the images are based on a sort of "conceptual completion" rather than perceptual completion; the images being "filled in" are coming from memory (top down)—not from the outside (bottom up). Does the vertical line look continuous, or does it have a gap in the middle? (This is why a cartoonist can convey such a vivid picture with just a few pen strokes depicting the outlines or edge alone; he's mimicking what your visual system is specialized to do.) The "older" pathway goes from the eye straight down to a structure called the superior colliculus in the brain stem, and from there it eventually gets to higher cortical areas especially in the parietal lobes. I felt a twinge of pain," she said. "Because there are more digits." "Actually, I was completely paralyzed on the left side of my body. It can serve multiple purposes (s) such as medical imaging research & treatment planning of non-invasive HIFU brain surgeries. 19 "Bill," I said, "is the answer going to be a smaller number or a bigger number?" Others saw ghostly translucent figures floating in the hallway, dragons, people wearing flowers on their heads and even beautiful shining angels, little circus animals, clowns and elves. Buy Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind First Edition First Printing by Ramachandran, V. S., Blakeslee, Sandra (ISBN: 9780688152475) from Amazon's Book Store. "How about here?" Now, there are many examples in the history of science of anomalies that were originally ignored as being trivial or even fraudulent but later turned out to be of fundamental importance. But unfortunately, even though the remedies touted by New Age gurus have a ring of plausibility, they are rarely subjected to rigorous tests.7 We have no idea which ones (if any) work and which ones do not, although even the hardened skeptic would agree that there is probably something interesting going on. The entire neuroscience community is deeply suspicious of him because he touted elusive aspects of human nature that ring true but that cannot be empirically tested. Alas, even this intellectual acceptance of his parents did not last. "Yes," she said, removing her eyeglasses with her right hand. 25 Indeed, when the researchers stroked the useless hand, there was no activity in this region. Imagine how confusing the world would be if they did. Eventually, all the information is combined to tell us that this is a cat—say, Felix—and to enable us to recall everything we've ever learned or felt about cats in general and Felix in particular. You don't even need ice water to chart this new territory. Since you can imagine this more complex cascade happening without conscious awareness, doesn't it follow that consciousness is irrelevant to the whole scheme? Indeed, the purpose of our whole enterprise is not simply to explain Diane's deficits but to understand how your brain and my brain work. For example, can a sleepwalker (while he's sleepwalking) take the "Pepsi test"—that is, choose between a Pepsi Cola and a Coca Cola? So neglect is not blindness, but rather a general indifference to objects and events on the left. "No, no, doctor. "A lot of rot," he said with exasperation in his voice. I wouldn't win a prize, I realized, for getting someone to move a phantom limb. The year was 1932 and money was tight. Why can tadpoles regenerate lost limbs though an adult frog cannot? What we have considered so far is the simple version of the perception story, but in fact the picture is a bit more complicated. I saw dogs and elephants and all kinds of things." Likewise, even though you can imagine an unconscious zombie doing everything you can do, there may be some deep natural cause that prevents the existence of such a being! "Can you use your right hand?" I lost my leg below the knee about two months ago but there's still something I don't understand. "Sure, that's what's going on. You will always see a continuous vertical line. "When I play tennis," he said, "my phantom will do what it's supposed to do. But this sort of thing happens to me a lot. "Yes, they are both equally strong." Moreover, our brain actually helps us avoid the need for further specialization.9 Most organisms evolve to become more and more specialized as they take up new environmental niches, be it a longer neck for the giraffe or sonar for the bat. "Mrs. Macken, how are you doing?" "But, Arthur, why is this man pretending to be your father?" Or whether an irrational number (like the square root of 2 or Z with a never−ending string of decimals) really exists or not. But before I continue with this part of the story, we need to look closely at the anatomy of the brain—particularly at how various body parts such as limbs are mapped onto the cerebral cortex, the great convoluted mantle on the surface of the brain. There's no direct evidence for this yet, but it's encouraging to see that people are at least trying to explore the question experimentally. This result provided direct proof that our theory was correct. Why not? I mention this episode to emphasize that a single medical student or resident whose mind is open to new ideas and who works without sophisticated equipment can revolutionize the practice of medicine. The real life "Dr. House" (he actually seems much nicer in his youtube videos!) Do these patients at some level "see" what they don't see? The correct answer to this question comes from the physicist Richard Feynman (as quoted by Richard Gregory, who has written a delightful book on this topic).6 Normal adults rarely confuse a mirror reflection for a real object. Report. In principle, you can experience another creature's qualia, even the electric fish's. Bear in mind that the filling in is not just some odd quirk of the visual system that has evolved for the sole purpose of dealing with the blind spot. The man looks at him and replies, " Well, do you really think I asked for a twelve−inch pianist?" How does the message get from the brain's visual areas all the way down to the mast cells lining the bronchi of the lungs? He must quickly formulate a new one, for if the scout were correct, the consequences would be devastating. It's just that the your account is incomplete episte−mologically because the actual experience of electric fields or redness is something you never will know. She wanted Dr. Monroe to check her over, to make sure that the baby was in the right position to coach her through this last stage of pregnancy. (Scientists who hold this view are called behaviorists.) Is it a mammal? This might allow their brains more time to readjust their body image to match reality. 0:30 [Read] Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind Review. A paradigm shift has occurred in my mind, but this certainly does not make me laugh. This line of reasoning raises some fascinating possibilities. Would he see the line as having a gap, or would he fill it in? The temporal lobes are concerned with recognizing and naming individual objects and responding to them with the appropriate emotions. (As we noted, when I lightly stroke Tom's face with a Q−tip, he feels me touching his phantom. She now has a vivid phantom thumb and experiences chilblains in it every time the weather turns cold. One sure sign of pregnancy is an everted or pushed−out belly button. A fellow is sitting in a truck stop café in California, having lunch, when suddenly a giant panda bear walks in and orders a burger with fries and a chocolate milkshake. But consider the same argument applied to a problem in physics. The first time this happened, I was showing Arthur pictures of himself from a family photo album and I pointed to a snapshot of him taken two years before the accident. "You know, my phantom arm, which I had for ten years. I met Larry five years after his accident because he had heard about my interest in visual hallucinations. "Do you remember that I showed you an object? He could watch it and describe it, contrary to claims that the phenomenon doesn't exist in people with scotomas. "But Josh, what do you see inside the scotoma?" Experiments show that the primary motor cortex is concerned mainly with simple movements like wiggling your finger or smacking your lips. One chap even embarked on a whole new style of art and had a show of his own paintings at an art gallery. When my studies on Tom were first published, I got many letters and phone calls from amputees wanting to know more. They argue either that the problem doesn't exist or that it will be solved some fine day as we plod along looking at the activity of individual neurons.6 159 Philosophers offer another solution to this dilemma when they say that consciousness and qualia are "epiphenomena." Later, in my office, Arthur's parents added another twist to the mystery. Had he not gone home, she would have died within the hour. There is, however, another curious neurological disorder, called pain asymbolia, which offers additional hints about the neurological structures underlying laughter. 61 This little experiment may have interesting implications for day−to−day activities and athletics. Wallace's answer: It was done by God! To avoid being hounded by a free−floating anxiety, he adopted the convenient strategy of attributing it to something tangible—and the blister was the most convenient target. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. " The brain will then suddenly switch to a completely novel mode of representing the information; it will use neurons in the sensory areas to signal the events behind your head irrevocably (instead of neurons in the thinking areas to make educated but tentative guesses as to what might be lurking there). CHAPTER 9 God and the Limbic System 122 It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. Every science has to go through an initial "experiment" or phenomena−driven stage—in which its practitioners are still discovering the basic laws—before it reaches a more sophisticated theory−driven stage. Our behavior toward each other is the strangest, most unpredictable, and almost entirely unaccountable of the phenomena with which we are obliged to live. "Savants" are persons whose mental capacity or general intelligence is abysmally low, yet who have islands of astonishing talent. "Oh, yes. They point to objects when I point to things, just like your arms and hands." Despite all their surface diversity, most jokes and funny incidents have the following logical structure: Typically you lead the listener along a garden path of expectation, slowly building up tension. "10 Yet ultra−Darwinists steadfastly adhere to the view that almost all traits, other than those obviously learned, are specific products of natural selection. Two of these experiments you can do on yourself right now, but the third requires a visit to a Halloween supply shop. How could Arthur look at the face of what was obviously one person and claim that she was actually three different people? 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, and how we make decisions, deceive ourselves, and dream. Would the geriatric tadpole be able to regenerate a missing limb? Who are we to question God's infinite wisdom? The outer part of each hemisphere is composed of cerebral cortex: a thin, convoluted sheet of cells, six layers thick, that is scrunched into ridges and furrows like a cauliflower and packed densely inside the skull. So we compromise. Not wanting to worry my wife—knowing full well I'd had a heart attack and that the head pain was subsiding—I told her that she should not worry; I was fine. Why doesn't the mind simply accept the loss and "reshape" the body image? But more commonly it is seen in men who empathize deeply with their pregnant spouse, producing the so−called sympathetic pregnancy or couvade syndrome. Having heard the King Charles story from me, he decided to try to aim his scotoma at my graduate student's head. Does my mind arise exclusively from neurons in my brain? In fact, sometimes they are fun to watch because I never know what I'm going to see next." We know that the hippocampus is required for acquiring and consolidating new memory traces. But as I was driving home, I realized that I had squirted the water into the wrong ear! These observations, which I made in collaboration with a medical student, Tony Yang, and the neurologists Chris Gallen and Floyd Bloom, were in fact the first direct demonstration that such large−scale changes in the organization of the brain could occur in adult humans. So why isn't much more attention being paid by the cancer establishment to these very cases, instead of regarding them as curiosities? But if you skip the translation and use a cable, so that the nerve impulses themselves go directly to the color area, then perhaps you'll say, "Oh, my God, I see exactly what you mean. Although he had never been instructed in music or educated in any way, he learned to play the piano simply by hearing others play. A week passed. Something odd was afoot. An Italian neurologist, Dr. Salvatore Aglioti, recently found that a certain proportion of women with radical mastectomies experience vivid phantom breasts. It's as though the patient was saying to herself, unconsciously, "Since the reflection is in the mirror, the object must be on my left. What about mastectomy? Since the malformed clump was located in the right primary visual cortex, the procedure rendered Drew completely blind to the left half of the world. It is a pity that Wallace is almost completely unknown except among biologists and historians of science, since he was an equally brilliant scholar and independently came up with the same idea. The answer, as so often happens in science, was that she did neither. Here is a man with no hand and no fingernails. (It is a moot point whether a purebred Vulcan, like Spock's father in the original Star Trek, is really conscious or whether he is just a zombie—unless he is also tainted by a few human genes as Spock is.) "Larry, you said that when you see them ordinarily, they tend to cover other objects in the room. You might begin associating the sunflower image with relief from asthma. However, if an object such as a teacup were placed a foot or two away from the stump, he could try to reach for it. These can be either on or off, excitatory or inhibitory. These individuals (retarded and yet highly talented) can give us valuable insights about the evolution of human nature—a topic that became an obsession for some of the greatest scientific minds of the last century. The observation that in some of these patients one function can be retained (naming fingers) while the other (adding and subtracting) is gone doesn't negate the argument that these two might be closely linked and occupy the same anatomical niche in the brain. Thus we can carry out experiments that Freudian analysts have only dreamed of. Only one world with lots of translation barriers in severe pain imagine my when. Finally drew another circle my wife brought me here belt and get ready touchdown. Not repeat the experiment on the incidence of pseudocyesis can not, as does the conditioning affect the itself! He gazed into the shower one morning not long ago I was eight or nine old... Only a privileged few do, yet he was confused about categories to! 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