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Amy O’Hearn

During the Ted Talk “3 Clues
to Understanding your Brain,” Dr. Ramachandran discusses how understanding the
brain allows for predictions to be made that may assist one in understanding
human behavior. One way psychologists link the structure of the brain with specific
functions is through brain mapping, which is discussed briefly in the video. During
the Ted Talk, Dr. Ramachandran also discusses three phenomena that occur within
the brain. These include: Capgras syndrome, phantom limb pain, and synesthesia.
Through discussing his three phenomena, Dr. Ramachandran describes what occurs
in the brain structurally and how the structure correlates to the function of each
condition.  For example, in synesthesia,
it is said that structurally sections of the brain, such as the color area and
the number area, are crossed wired. In other words, there are extra neurons
connecting the color and number areas of the brain. According to Dr.
Ramachandra, the result or function of synesthesia is the association of particular
colors with numbers. He also states this connection is sometimes seen between musical
pitches and colors. The American Psychology Association offers a broader
definition of synesthesia, suggesting one may experience a sight (color, shape,
etc) when introduced to a sound, taste, smell or physical sensation (touch) (Carpenter, 2001). An article on the
American Psychology Association website entitled “Everyday Fantasia: The World
of Synesthesia” proposes a different explanation for the phenomenon. It suggests
everyone has the same connections linking these areas of sensation within their
brain, however, inhibition of the single sensory areas does not function
properly for those who have synesthesia, resulting in the senses to function intermixed
(Carpenter, 2001). Both the Ted Talk
by Dr. Ramachandran and the “Everyday Fantasia: The World of Synesthesia”
article agree this phenomenon is genetic. It is also proposed that having extra
communication between the senses results in creativity.

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