Booklist: Man Who Tasted Shapes (Review)

Richard E. Cytowic MD p00907 at
Mon Oct 18 11:16:24 EST 1993

Review: "The Man Who Tasted Shapes"
         by William Beatty, Booklist

TI:  "The Man Who Tasted Shapes: A Neurologist Reveals the 
     illusion of the Rational Mind."
AU:  Richard E. Cytowic, MD
PUB: Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam Publishing, 256pp, illustrations,
     hardback, release date Aug '93. Generally available or
     direct at 800-788-6262
#    0-87477-738-0   $21.95/$28.95

	Cytowic has an open-minded and imaginative way of looking at
neurology, hie patients, and society. During more than a decade,
he has studied 42 people with synesthesia, a rare condition that
haphazardly blends the five senses, and Michael, his first
patient, plays a major role in the book's first part, "A Medical
Mystery Tale."
     Cytowic graphically describes his growing knowledge of the
condition and his gradually changing beliefs about the ways the
brain functions, study of which has shifted its emphasis from
spot localization of functions to functional pathways at the same
time that the general emphasis in brain study has shifted from
the cortex to the limbic system. The major theme throughout is
that the brain runs more on emotion than on reason, but Cytowic
also shows how artificial intelligence has gotten into a blind
     The brief essays that make up the book's second part contain
expansions of some of Cytowic's lines of thought. "The Man Who
Tasted Shapes" will appeal to all medical detective fans; indeed,
to any reader who likes an intriguing story and is not afraid to
think. --William Beatty

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