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THE TELL-TALE BRAIN

ALSO BY

  V. S. RAMACHANDRAN

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness

Phantoms in the Brain

The

TELL-TALE BRAIN

A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human

  V. S. RAMACHANDRAN

W. W. NORTON & COMPANY

NEW YORK LONDON

Copyright © 2011 by V. S. Ramachandran

All rights reserved

Figure 7.1: Illustration from Animal Architecture by Karl von Frisch and Otto von Frisch, illustrations copyright © 1974 by Turid Holldobler, reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Ramachandran, V. S.

The tell-tale brain: a neuroscientist’s quest for what makes us human/

V. S. Ramachandran.—1st ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN: 978-0-393-08058-2

1. Neurosciences—Popular works. 2. Neurology—Popular works. 3. Brain—Popular works. I. Title.

RC351.A45 2011

616.8—dc22

2010044913

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110

www.wwnorton.com

W. W. Norton & Company Ltd.

Castle House, 75/76 Wells Street, London W1T 3QT

For my mother, V. S. Meenakshi, and

my father, V. M. Subramanian

For Jaya Krishnan, Mani, and Diane

And for my ancestral sage Bharadhwaja,

who brought medicine down from the gods to mortals

CONTENTS

PREFACE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INTRODUCTION NO MERE APE

CHAPTER 1 PHANTOM LIMBS AND PLASTIC BRAINS

CHAPTER 2 SEEING AND KNOWING

CHAPTER 3 LOUD COLORS AND HOT BABES: SYNESTHESIA

CHAPTER 4 THE NEURONS THAT SHAPED CIVILIZATION

CHAPTER 5 WHERE IS STEVEN? THE RIDDLE OF AUTISM

CHAPTER 6 THE POWER OF BABBLE: THE EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE

CHAPTER 7 BEAUTY AND THE BRAIN: THE EMERGENCE OF AESTHETICS

CHAPTER 8 THE ARTFUL BRAIN: UNIVERSAL LAWS

CHAPTER 9 AN APE WITH A SOUL: HOW INTROSPECTION EVOLVED

EPILOGUE

GLOSSARY

NOTES

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