Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reading Brain Rules at the moment. I'm still in the early pages but its given me some fascinating insight into how the brain works and the little that we actually do know about it. Very easy to read and digest with very little technical jargon.

Found it interesting, for instance, to read about how everyone's brain is wired differently when it comes to language. We all think there is a specific lobe of the brain that is dedicated to language rules - but there isn't.

The writer gives a fascinating example of a neurologist who was performing open brain surgery on a girl who was still awake but sedated. He would gently touch one part of the exposed brain with an electrode and she would respond - sometimes it could be a sensation she felt or an image that flashed across her consciousness etc. Her responses varied depending on where he touched.

The doctor was literally mapping her brain with tiny bits of white paper, tracing where certain functions are stored before actually going ahead with surgery. Apparently despite the many patients he has worked with like this, he has never really found 2 similar maps where language is found. Everyone stores language in different ways and in different parts of the brain. Which might explain why someone like Trin might be able to have a very good working memory, is able to hear and understand what we say but unable to join the dots and articulate her sentences correctly or coherently as the other average 3 to 4 year olds.

Anyway, I'm still pretty slow with the book since I am also balancing other books eg travel research, comfort reading (eg my trusty James Herriot and Georgette Heyer favourites that I would revisit whenever the right mood hit), non-fiction essays on Japan, cat psychology and other odds and ends.

The writer of Brain Rules has a website which also looks interesting so if you're not inclined to pick up his book, hop over to the website. There are fascinating small snippets of factoids there that you might find interesting.

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