The Tell-Tale Brain

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Physician and researcher Dr. V. S. Ramachandran draws on strange case studies to offer insight into the evolution of the uniquely human brain. In The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human, he reveals what these cases teach us about how language developed, what the origins of art are, what causes autism, and how we develop self-awareness.


Dr. V.S. Ramachandran

Comments [13]

Michae from East Marion

We have a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim heating and a.c. unit. it also has a dehumidification setting. When we select the dehumidification setting it also seem to cool (the compressor does not kick in) Is this normal? It is great during this warm weather.

Jul. 13 2011 01:56 PM
james from nyc

Dear Mr. Lopate

With all due respect please let your guests answer your questions resist the temptation to jump in and answer for them. You could learn a lot from terry gross in this area.

Feb. 28 2011 01:20 PM
karen from nyc

this was a phenomenal interview. I have always wondered how many people with synesthesia have ended up in psych hospitals.

Feb. 03 2011 09:04 PM
kenneth criss from jamaica ny

This was one of the all-time most informative shows. The questions brought forth the clearest explanations of some of the most complicated areas of biology.

Feb. 03 2011 04:40 PM
Tasting the Universe from NYC

Wonderful show! For more on this topic, please see my new book:

Feb. 03 2011 01:24 PM

Inuit had no words for beauty or ugly but they took pleasure in the process of sculpting and later drawing and were naturals at it till subject to western values

love the out of body question Leonard (Robert Monroe?)

Also Leonard there's one approach to autism I think you really might find helpful - energy - forgive the hokey presentation but give a listen to the content of biologist Bruce Lipton - good for another few days:
- I heard similar things in some ways from famous Chilean biologists Maturana and Varela at Naropa in Boulder in the late 70s and nobody thinks they are quacks.

Feb. 03 2011 12:50 PM

Have mirror neurons been studied in connection with the art of acting?

Feb. 03 2011 12:43 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Or you could describe the bison & how to hunt it. Which came 1st--pictorial representation or language?

Feb. 03 2011 12:41 PM
Bill from Brooklyn

Not only is the this subject fascinating but your guest has a way of making it easy to understand for "us" who are not educated on this subject. I must now read the book.

Feb. 03 2011 12:38 PM
Jane from the East Village from East Village

A friend of mine has synesthesia – hers is letter colors. She "sees" every word she says or hears spelled out completely and colored according to the color her brain has assigned to the first letter.

She does not remember what if anything she saw before she learned to read. Are you aware of how this has worked with other synesthetes?

Feb. 03 2011 12:33 PM
Sandra from Brooklyn

I think I have a mild form of synesthesia. But instead of colors and sounds being linked to numbers and letters, my alphabet and numbers 1-10 actually have family characteristics. For as long as I can remember each number or letter has a corresponding personality characteristic (for example 3 is a heavier cousin and 4 is a grandmother). I always thought I was nuts and perhaps may be, but synesthesia seems to be some sort of an answer. It isn't a very strong connection but the characters never change. Who knows maybe there was a sesame street episode where these were linked and it's just been stuck in my brain.

Feb. 03 2011 12:27 PM
HC from brooklyn

explaining what is it to be human in terms of mechanics and chemistry, as is typical among neurologists, is like explaining what a work of art is through defining the chemical make up of a painting, yet this only fails to see the painting as a work of art but instead sees it as a quantifiable matrix. i have heard nothing yet whatsoever about the question of being or the question of what a human is.

your guest, i assume has total faith in his methods ability tro explain everything.

Feb. 03 2011 12:18 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I used to think synapses were just spaces between the nerve cells, but I learned from editing medical articles that they're actually structures in themselves, where processes take place to transmit impulses.

Feb. 03 2011 12:13 PM

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