... "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human " by V.S. Ramachandran. This book has been a fascinating read. Ramachandran uses case studies to illustrate which areas, and which specific neurons, in our brains are responsible for the most basic, and most extraordinary qualities and functions that make human beings unique. He hypothesizes the interactions of neurons that may be responsible for everything from Autism to Schizophrenia as well as qualities like empathy and creativity.
I've been thinking about this book a lot lately, and you know when you learn about something and all of a sudden you hear about it everywhere? That is happening for me bug time with "mirror neurons." I first read about "mirror neurons" in this book. My take away was that they are the neurons of empathy. These little babies fire off in your brain even if you are watching someone experience something, and not experiencing it yourself. For instance, if someone smashes their thumb with a hammer, the same neurons that fire off in their brain will fire off, to a degree, in yours. I love this concept. It makes me feel like we are all truly connected. After reading about this, I have continued to hear about mirror neurons seemingly everywhere. There is a whole episode of Invisibilia (an NPR podcast that I've been loving lately) on the subject. The episode is called "Entanglement" and I highly recommend it and Ramachandran's book.
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