Need more brains!!!

There's this subject that i find utterly fascinating lately - brain studies. The way neuroscientists study the jelly in our heads is by analyzing patients with very a specific kind of brain damage. They can then understand and locate which part of the brain is responsible for what behaviours.

One of the leading neurologists and my personal favourite in this field is Vilayanur Ramachandran. I've included a bunch of videos of him below. Some keywords of his work - phantom limbs, synesthesia, capgras delusion etc.

I'd like to point out one of these phenomenons - synesthesia. This is something that almost everyone of us possess but are unaware of until someone specifically mentions of its existance. When someone is any type of a synesthete (a person who has synesthesia), their brain has formed connections between seemingly unrelated subjects. For example - i have grapheme a.k.a color synesthesia for numbers and colors. The way this phenomenon manifests itself is when i think of a number i get a sensation of a specific color. Some numbers have very distinct colors while others have rather dull or faded, sometimes even undistinguishable tones.

On a more general term synesthesia allows us to engage in metaphorical thinking. Take for example a statement - "that's a blazin' car". Normal people wouldn't automatically assume that the car is on flames, rather that the car is nice looking. It'd be nice to hear from you, the readers, about your relationship with synesthesia, so feel free to leave a comment.

I've gathered together a portion of videos and articles that do quite well at explaining the peculiarities in our heads. The audio on "Phantoms In The Brain" is a bit off sync, no need to be put off by this.

I guess what i'm trying to achieve with this post is to create some interest in people in how the mysterious thing called brain functions. Far too often do we see people who carry symptoms of abnormal brain behaviour get ridiculed and called names by others who lack the knowledge of what's really going on in someone's head. So don't be too quick to judge and jump to conclusions - be open minded, learn and if possible offer some guidance and assistance.

Keeping my mind open,


Roman said...

Wow, I never knew you have synesthesia.
Watching documentaries about brain disorders, I have always had the impression that they are very rare.
In any case I think you are lucky to have such a "condition" - it gives you 1 extra sense to feel the world.

My favorite documentary about synesthesia was about a guy who could taste letters and words.
If you said you're name is Mihkel he would say that it tastes like french fries. LOL :)