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by Richard E. Cytowic


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Richard Cytowic's dinner host apologized, "There aren't enough points on the chicken!" He felt flavor also as a physical .

Richard Cytowic's dinner host apologized, "There aren't enough points on the chicken!" He felt flavor also as a physical shape in his hands, and the chicken had come out "too round. I have to admit, this is not the type of book I would normally be drawn to. 'The Man Who Tasted Shapes' is a good title - because if I had seen this book on a shelf with the title 'Synaesthesia: An Introduction,' or 'Understanding Synaesthesia,' I would probably have lightly fingered the book and then my dainty little fingers would've found something else to finger it was a really interesting book, an introduction to a condition that I didn't even know existed.

The Man Who Tasted Shapes is a book by neurologist Richard Cytowic about synesthesia. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, Cytowic describes his chance encounter during a dinner party on February 10, 1980 with MW, the "Man Who Tasted Shapes. He is one of the few world authorities on the subject. Sharing a root with anesthesia ("no sensation"), synesthesia means "joined sensation," whereby a voice, for example, is not only heard but also seen, felt, or tasted

800) 405-1619 Books, US and Canada. Richard E. Cytowic, . He is the author of Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses, The Man Who Tasted Shapes, The Neurological Side.

800) 405-1619 Books, US and Canada. 401) 658-4226 Books, South America and Asia. 800) 405-1619 Customer Service. 617)-253-5646 General Inquiries. He is the author of Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses, The Man Who Tasted Shapes, The Neurological Side of Neuropsychology and (with David M. Eagleman) the Montaigne Medal–winner Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, all published by the MIT Press.

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Richard E. Cytowic is an American neurologist and author who rekindled interest in. .Cytowic is a Professor of. Cytowic, Richard (2003). The man who tasted shapes (MIT Press ed. with new afterword, 2003 e. Cytowic is an American neurologist and author who rekindled interest in synesthesia in the 1980s and returned it to mainstream science Cytowic is a Professor of Neurology at George Washington University Medical Center, a Mentor at the Point Foundation, and a member of the Advisory Board for Williams Institute at the UCLA School of La. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

In 1980, Richard Cytowic was having dinner at a friend's house, when his host exclaimed, "Oh, dear, there aren't enough points on the chicken. The ten people in one million who are synesthetes are born into a world where one sensation (such as sound) conjures up one or more others (such as taste or color). Although scientists have known about synesthesia for two hundred years, until now the condition has remained a mystery.

A Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam book. Includes bibliographical references (pages 242-244) and index. Pt. 1. A Medical Mystery Tale. Ch. February 10, 1980: Not Enough Points on the Chicken. 2. The World Turned Inside Out. 3. 1957 - Down in the Basement: The Making of a Neurologist. 4. How the Brain Works: The Standard View.

Here, Cytowic divides his report on synesthesia into two sections. Michael, the author tells us, cooperated in countless tedious tests and eventually even agreed to an angiogram to determine the pattern of blood flow in his brain.

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Comments: (7)

Thetalen
I thought this would be a good book to understand synethesia for other people. The amount of the book spent describing the synethethe's experience was miniscule in comparison to the incredibly technical information that is really only of interest to neurologists. Without a strong background in science I wouldn't have made it through this book at all. I'm very glad to know the biological underpinnings of my synethesia...but I would have preferred to read how other people live with it.
fetish
The Man Who Tasted Shapes is an extraordinary work of research into the human mind that was, to me, only superficially about synesthesia. The information and perspective shared are much bigger than the title would imply. I believe that you'll find it to be fabulously interesting, even if you have zero interest in synesthesia.
Most doctors are afraid to write what they truly believe in their hearts lest it be challenged and scorned by their peers. Rarely do scientists allow you to "see the man behind the curtain," preferring to hide instead behind that mysterious veil we called "objective data." In this, Dr. Cytowic is far braver than most, and certainly more honest.
Here is just such an example from the book: "My innate analytic personality had been reinforced by twenty years of training in science and medicine. I reflexively analyzed whatever passed my way and firmly believed that the intellect could conquer everything through reason. 'You need an antidote to your incessant intellectualizing,' Clark suggested, 'something to put you in touch with the irrational side of your mind.'... I had never considered that there might be more to the human mind than the rational part that I was familiar with. It had never once occurred to me that a force to balance rationality existed, let alone that it might be a normal part of the human psyche."
In another chapter, Cytowic asserts, "Not everything we are capable of knowing and doing is accessible to or expressible in language. This means that some of our personal knowledge is off limits even to our own inner thoughts. Perhaps this is why humans are so often at odds with themselves, because there is more going on in our minds than we can ever consciously know."
If you read a lot of medical texts, as I do, you will find Dr. Cytowic to be far more broadminded and much less linear in his thinking than his peers. This makes Cytowic interesting, instead of boring like the others.
One final quote: "Neuroscientists have just lately come to realize how important emotion is. Placing reason and the (intellectual) cortex first and foremost is like the Wizard of Oz shouting, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." Reason, and an accomplice called self-awareness have deluded us into believing that they have been pulling the strings, but emotion and mentation not normally accessible to self-awareness have been in charge all along."
The Man Who Tasted Shapes is a delightful bridge between the hard science of neurology and the mystery that is man.
Buy the book. You won't regret it.
betelgeuze
I love this book. If you've ever noticed that some of your senses mingle - for instance, a food tastes jagged or sharp (and I don't mean something you could photograph), or sounds produce movement and shape and color in your mind's eye - then you will find much to fascinate you in these pages. I suspect that highly creative people have a greater degree of synesthesia than average, because it allows their perceptions to cross-reference and produce new possibilities and insights.
Drelalak
"The Man Who Tasted Shapes" by Richard E. Cytowic is a very informative introduction to the topic of synesthesia and for readers who are interested in learning about the relationship between neurology and neuropsychology. It is a great book for readers, who want to obtain a better understanding of the field of clinical neuropsychology, as well as those who would like to see some human experiences of synesthesia as a reference. This point of this review is to help inform readers about the ideas that are portrayed in "The Man Who Tasted Shapes" and present my opinions, as an introductory neuroscience student, about the book and the Richard E. Cytowic's writing style.

Through his book, Cytowic tells the story of his scientific pursuit in order to understand synesthesia. I really enjoyed learning about how Cytowic helped bring the idea of synesthesia into the open and gain acceptance. As the chapters went on, they uncovered Cytowic's investigation on synesthesia and how it allowed people living with the condition to finally accept what they had and get rid of any confusion they had about the state of their senses. The book was easy to follow Cytowic's fascinating journey to solve the scientific mystery of synesthesia and discover more about synesthesia allowed me to track and understand his findings.

Cytowic's book is about the condition known as synesthesia which means joined sensation. This is a condition where someone has the rare capacity to see or hear colors in playing music, taste shapes, or have a combination of sight and smell. The book initially focuses on a character that sparked Cytowic's interest in synesthesia--Michael Watson. Cytowic attended a dinner hosted by Michael at his house, which was where both the author and realized Michael had synesthesia after he stated, "There aren't enough points on the chicken!" Michael was able to literally taste the physical shape of the flavor of the foods he ate. This situation struck the author's interest and is where Cytowic got the title of the book.

"The Man Who Tasted Shapes" Format

Cytowic described his growing knowledge about the condition of synesthesia and his gradually changing beliefs of how the brain functioned through his book "The Man Who Tasted Shapes." He reported his findings in his book which was divided into two parts.

The first part shows Cytowic's imaginative and open-minded way of looking at neurology. It starts of describing Cytowic's chance encounter with a man with synesthesia--Micheal Watson--during a dinner party on February 10, 1980. Micheal's statement "There aren't enough points on the chicken" is what began Cytowic's curious journey into the world of synesthesia. The early chapters showed how Cytowic took interest in his first encounter with synesthesia and gave us a good history of the condition. Not only did we gain insight of the author's research on the topic, but this part talked about Cytowic's past and showed how he was always curious about why rather than just accepting what was written like his other colleagues did. This is also where we see the author's opinion to the technological advances that are being introduced to the medical field. Cytowic states, "We seem to have forgotten the factual knowledge and technical competence are not the foundations of patient satisfaction in many situations" and he continues throughout the book to explain how artificial intelligence has gotten in the way of proper diagnoses and patient encounters.

In order to explore biological components of synesthesia and to come up with an unambiguous definition of synesthesia, Cytowic ran experiments on Michael to see how reacted to familiar objects with his condition. In one fascinating chapter, Cytowic and Michael Watson discuss how cooking with his synesthesia enhances his creativity: "He never followed a recipe but liked to create a dish with an `interesting shape.' Sugar made things taste `rounder,' while citrus added `points.' Michael continued to say that the shape changes with each moment just as the flavor does." From this, Cytowic was able to understand that "Michaels shapes were not metaphor, and that they were tactile perceptions that he explained by analogy to familiar objects." Throughout the next few chapters, Cytowic aims to find a clear-cut formula for diagnosing synesthesia, which at the time was missing from his past research. Through his findings, Cytowic proposed five cardinal features for the diagnosis of synesthesia and he was able to have a clear idea of what synesthesia was and was not. He later goes on to show how he tried to isolate the region in the brain where synesthesia occurs.

In the second part of the book, Cytowic uses eleven short chapters to develop the theory of primacy and emotion and he clearly states that this part shows the trials or attempts to explore the themes of emotionality, rationality, and the conscious. These brief essays in the second part of the book show how Cytowic developed his theories and arguments. Moreover, the second part showed how Cytowic's view shifted to talk about the limbic system and his opinions on how technology has gotten in the way of scientific reasoning.

Through "The Man Who Tasted Shapes," we see Cytowic's approach and style at writing a scientific book. The book ends up being a double biography of not only the man who tasted shapes, Michael Watson, and his synesthesia, but we are also drawn into an intellectual autobiography of Richard Cytowic himself. The story helps us learn about Cytowic's thought processes as he reveals the story of a condition over a period of a decade or so. We also learn, along the way, the indifference and hostility of some doctors to his pursuing of the neuropsychological subject. This showed Cytowic's passion and enthusiasm about the subject of synesthesia and learning more about the understudied topic and how he thought and approached the field of neuropsychology differently from other medical professional.

Things that appealed to me in this book:

Some aspects of the book that was most appealing were the author's introduction. Cytowic being the "guru" of synesthesia, the introduction not only showed that he was interested in synesthesia, but his detailed explanations helped the readers understand the trait and its characteristics. I also enjoyed the manner in which Cytowic gave an overview of his career studying synesthesia. This gave us as readers a complete look at the author's interest in synesthesia and how he went about solving the medical mystery of such a rare condition. We had insight on the author's thoughts and feelings regarding the topic from the start. Moreover, Cytowic's material was well organized and helped bring a connection between neuroscience and neuropsychology, and his use of tables and figures was informative over all and I like how he integrated those with the text to enhance the reader's understanding about the topic.
Cytowic's autobiographical style helped keep me interested in the topic. It kept me curious to learn more about not only Michael Watson and the other experiment subjects, but I wanted to learn more about Richard Cytowic himself and his interesting medical journey from the very beginning and his encounters with various aspects of the field of medicine and psychology. The first part of the book had a good balance between Cytowic's observations and his scientific research and findings which helped connect the two without being too subjective.

Things that did NOT appeal to me in this book:

Some parts of "The Man Who Tasted Shapes" that did not appeal to me were the essays at the end of the book titled "Essays on the Primacy of Emotion," which showed Cytowic's scientific findings and gave and helped develop his theme. The essays revealed various neurological practices and were supposed to be "suggestive to the reader and to provoke both though and feeling on the subject." However, I did not find it enhancing my knowledge about synesthesia which was what I was hoping for. Changing the content of the book and turning to various aspects of the mind caused me to lose interest by the end which was why I ended up skimming through those last essays. I am sure they related to they were very insightful, but it just was not the conclusion I was looking for. This was another thing about Cytowic's book that I did not really enjoy. After following his medical journey with such interest, the conclusion lacked any real confirmation of his findings about synesthesia, but instead were just his various approach to the subject.

Overall, it was a good read to understand synesthesia and the way the human mind works with the condition. Cytwoic definitely proves to be an expert on how the brain works for people with synesthesia and I enjoyed reading his semi-academic approach to teaching more about the condition.

"The Man Who Tasted Shapes" is a about a very fascinating subject, synesthesia, and if you are looking for a good introduction to the topic, Cytowic's book is for you. Cytowic's writings about synesthesia have educated millions of people about the condition. It is clear that this book will help those suffering with the condition feel assured that they are not just imagining the different sensation feelings. I would recommend this book to readers who have just barely come across the topic of synesthesia and are looking for an expert's insight about the topic. This book should be an enjoyable read for anyone, even those with minimal knowledge about the world of neuropsychology.
The Man Who Tasted Shapes download epub
Medicine
Author: Richard E. Cytowic
ISBN: 0907845436
Category: Medical Books
Subcategory: Medicine
Language: English
Publisher: Imprint Academic (August 31, 2003)
Pages: 252 pages