December 27, 2003

Fun with your Brain

David was articulate, he was intelligent, not obviously psychotic or emotionally disturbed. He could read a newspaper. Everything seemed fine except he had one profound delusion. He would look at his mother and he would say, "This woman, Doctor, she looks exactly like my mother but in fact she's not my mother. She's an imposter. She's some other woman pretending to be my mother."

David had suffered a brain injury that had brought on a very rare condition called the Capgras Delusion. Neuroscientists study people with brain damage to learn how the brain works. Today I stumbled across The Reith Lectures on the BBC's website. This year's lecturer was neuroscientist Vilayanur S Ramachandran who gives a absolutely fascinating series of talks on The Emerging Mind. The series is available as text and as a RealAudio stream. It includes more details on the effects of David's injury as well as an explaination that will remind you how lucky you are next time you recognize someone you love.

If you enjoy the lecture then you might want to check out one of my favorite books: The User Illusion.

Posted by thom at December 27, 2003 12:00 AM | TrackBack
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