5 stars Interesting memoir and tour through the history of split brain studies Gazzaniga has an engaging manner and appears to have been blessed with a career filled with willing patients subjects, high quality collaborators, and wonderful academic institutions His high praise sometimes feels excessive, but one could not call him ungracious nor accuse him of the hubris and egotism that sometimes feels prerequisite to high achievers in the medical sciences fairly or unfairly The book is at its best when describing the function of the brain and how quirks in those who have undergone split brain procedures illuminates the workings therein The vignettes about his life are fine, but don t add all that much especially when they have little to do with his actual work A few complaints in that he makes some statements that involve related fields animal cognition and theory of mind effectiveness of punishment that make clear he is not well versed in those areas some of his statements on animal cognition go counter to the most excellent Frans de Waal book, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are and his discussion of criminal punishment seems completely unaware of research into how early life trauma impacts decision making and brain wiring Nonetheless, while it is merely OK as a memoir, it is very good as a science book.
amazing insights into our brains will we ever learn everything about the brain probably not without Michaels life long learning where would we be I will be reading all his books everyone should read them.
A masterclass in how to drown what ought to be a fascinating topic in an ocean of self conscious name dropping, unfunny anecdotes that suggest a sense of humour that hasn t developed since undergraduate days, and a generally limp and dreary written style that recalls the Dear Diary side of blogging It doesn t seem to have occurred to the author that others may not be as interested in him as he is himself He may be brilliant at something, but it isn t writing, and whlle there may be some science in here, but I ve abandoned any further experiment designed to locate it.
The story of Mazzaniga s journey in neuroscience, specifically split brain results from the severing of the corpus collsum Definitely not a research paper but his working life history, I learned so much I am not an academic or scientist, no formal education in neuroscience only a than passing interest, and I could not put the book down, and still going back to reread parts to reinforce my understanding of the working of the brain.
A book that reveals the human side of physical brain research, that has led to many insights that drive current research.
Amazing Tales from Both Sides of the Brain is an autobiography of Michael Gazzaniga with an emphasis on his professional career exploring the properties of the two hemispheres of the brain The brain science is fascinating and I am inclined to go back and read his other popular science books but this book is a definite mixture of the science results intertwined with his life story.
Michael Gazzaniga has had a distinguished career in neuroscience both working with the pioneers of the subject as well as being a one himself He started out in graduate school in Caltech where he first did work on split brain subjects Split brain subjects had the left and right hemispheres severed from one another due to surgery in patients with extreme epilepsy Our anatomy is such that each hemisphere of the brain left,right controls the opposite eye, ear and limbs though there are remnants of control for things like limbs As a result a split brain patient can be forced to respond to stimuli while using only one side of the brain by carefully constructed experiments Tales from the brain explores the evolution of the author s career and the experiments and results that he did as a graduate student as well as while he was mentoring his countless graduate students The author discusses how the brain adapts to a split brain via queuing mechanisms and how there are aspects of brain plasticity as well He discusses later in the book the results of experiments with partially severed brain hemispheres The results of all the experiments are fascinating and the unfamiliar reader will consider their concept of self in a new light We learn that we are not really one person and our narrative of our own life can even be fabricated by our literary left half In addition to the scientific results are the author s personal stories about his first homes, his first and second families and his academic life in California and on the East Coast This is all good context and makes the book very personal but for me given the relative unfamiliarity with his career work, was less interestingTales from Both Sides of the Brain gets into some remarkable results from brain science that have been worked on over the last 50 years Our theory of mind has been modified due to results from neuroscience as well as biology and technology such that we have to look at ourselves in a new and eerie light Michael Gazzaniga has been at the forefront of this exploration and has the perfect vantage point to retell the story If one is interested in brain science then this is a gratifying read This is a very personal book and as such there are parts which will undoubtedly be less interesting to particular readers, such as myself, but all in all lots of interesting material alongside details of a remarkable career.
For an old counselor educator like myself who had not followed the split brain research for over thirty years this book was a real treat originally, when I saw it at I hoped it would be an update on the psychological implications of the left and right hemispheres in daily life, i.
, verbal reasoning vs spatial relations, analytical vs artistic, Eastern vs Western thought, etc However, it was pretty much all related to the physiological study of the brain initiated at Caltech those many years ago Still, it was an enjoyable read about the life and times of an exciting specialty area in psychology.
Gazzaniga s autobiographical account was entertaining as well as intellectually stimulating And who could resist the gossipy references to the likes of Bill Buckley and Steve Allen I guess I was slightly put off by his habitual high praise for everyone and everything he ever saw it reminded me of Garrison Keillor s Lake Wobegon, where all the men are good looking and all the children are above average That said, his genuinely warm and enthusiastic demeanor must have been a valuable asset as he facilitated the talents of his many high powered colleagues and research assistants I was relieved that he stepped back from delving into his personal issues with Roger Sperry, and instead, included the wonderful tribute he gave to Sperry at the time of his Nobel Prize.
The light hearted travelogue aspect of this story is than compensated for by Dr Gazzaniga s serious and often profound discussion of the important research he devoted his life to This should be required reading for all who are interested in the modern history of psychology.
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B and the East Coast series P.
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P While some have died, others live and remain very special people They are the story and in many ways give the story its structure Even with their brains divided for medical reasons, they conquered life with singular purpose and will How they did this reveals secrets about how those of us without the operation accomplish this as well These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me in Parts 1 and 2 , also listed to suggest the scope of Gazzaniga s coverage o Discovering Caltech Pages 17 26 o Science Then and Now, and, Origin of Split Brain Research 40 46 o Dr Sperry, and, Discovery and Credit 46 54 o Establishing the Basics of scientific exploration , Pages 55 58o Wait How Does Sensory Motor Integration Work 67 75 o Brain Cueing Is Everywhere 79 83 o Leaving the Nest 91 96 o Sharing Resources The Art of Science 104 109 o The New York Lunch 119 125 o First Steps into the Neurologic Clinic 127 131 o Challenging the Idea of Two Minds 131 135 o Don t Quit Your Day Job 144 153 o The Joys of Mentoring and Friendship 161 169 o George A Miller and the Birth of Cognitive Neuroscience 179 186 o The Two Posners, One of a Kind 190 197 o Simplifying Our Lives 216 225 o Brain Mechanisms of Attention 225 232 o Only Partial Disconnections The Semi Split Mind 239 244 o The Allure of a Research University 246 248 Those who read this brilliant book will also experience a personal journey of their own I, for one, felt as if I were tagging along with Gazzaniga as he proceeds through his formal education and subsequent involvement in a series of breakthrough experiments He confides, As I look back on those early days, it may have been good for human split brain research to begin coming of age in the hands of the simplest researcher me I didn t know anything except that I was simply trying to figure it out using my own vocabulary and my own simple logic That is all I had, along with bundles of energy Over time, of course, Gazzaniga gained international renown for his achievements that also include important advances in our understanding of functional lateralization in the brain and how the cerebral hemispheres communicate with one another So, what we have is personal professional memoir of a pioneer in neuroscience research but also a wealth of information and insights provided by the treatment of six very special people who taught the world so much Gazzaniga dedicates this volume to them He duly acknowledges each breakthrough as a task made possible over the years by the generous cooperation of the patients themselves as well as countless associates with whom he collaborated, notably Roger W Sperry to whom he reported at CalTech It is no secret that Roger Sperry and I had some difficulties later in my careerWhile sharing credit was not his long suit, it also should be no secret that I never gad anything but the highest regard for him When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981 for split brain work, it was well deserved Thank you, Michael Gazzaniga, for all that I have learned from what you have learned and so generously shared There is so much for me to learn as my own journey continues You conclude with a key point Humans may have discovered some of the constraints on the thought processes, but we have not been able to tell the complete story No doubt you have several chapters to contribute Bon voyage Michael S Gazzaniga, One Of The Most Important Neuroscientists Of The Twentieth Century, Gives Us An Exciting Behind The Scenes Look At His Seminal Work On That Unlikely Couple, The Right And Left Brain Foreword By Steven PinkerIn The Mid Twentieth Century, Michael S Gazzaniga, The Father Of Cognitive Neuroscience, Was Part Of A Team Of Pioneering Neuroscientists Who Developed The Now Foundational Split Brain Brain Theory The Notion That The Right And Left Hemispheres Of The Brain Can Act Independently From One Another And Have Different StrengthsIn Tales From Both Sides Of The Brain, Gazzaniga Tells The Impassioned Story Of His Life In Science And His Decades Long Journey To Understand How The Separate Spheres Of Our Brains Communicate And Miscommunicate With Their Separate Agendas By Turns Humorous And Moving, Tales From Both Sides Of The Brain Interweaves Gazzanigas Scientific Achievements With His Reflections On The Challenges And Thrills Of Working As A Scientist In His Engaging And Accessible Style, He Paints A Vivid Portrait Not Only Of His Discovery Of Split Brain Theory, But Also Of His Comrades In Armsthe Many Patients, Friends, And Family Who Have Accompanied Him On This Wild Ride Of Intellectual Discovery