Sandra Blakeslee is a regular contributor to The New York
Times who specializes in the brain sciences. She has co-written
many books, including Phantoms in the Brain with V. S.
Ramachandran, On Intelligence with Jeff Hawkins, and
Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After
Divorce with Judith S. Wallerstein. She is the third generation
in a family of science writers.
Matthew Blakeslee is a freelance science writer in Los Angeles. He represents the fourth generation of Blakeslee science writers. This is his first book.
The authors, who bill themselves as "the world's first mother-son neuroscience writing team," here explore the "body mandala"-the sets of cells scattered throughout the brain that register touch perception and allow us to construct a sense of our body and its movement through space. This sounds pretty straightforward, but in fact malfunctions of this body-mapping system have been implicated in such esoteric conditions as "golfer's yips," out-of-body experiences, and autism. It also appears that body maps can expand, as when people act as if their hat is part of their head and duck in low doorways or when we flinch when a loved one is hurt. Engaging without being simplistic, this is the only title devoted to body mapping for a nonspecialist audience (other books touch on the topic in their discussions of broader subjects). An excellent choice for most public and undergraduate libraries.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
What do "golfer's yips," the ability to see auras and the hypnotic appeal of video games all have in common? Each arises from the brain's body map. New York Times science contributor Sandra Blakeslee and her son, science writer Matthew Blakeslee, begin with a quick overview of the sense of touch. According to the Blakeslees, body maps are created by the brain, using touch, to spell out the brain's experience of the body and the space around it. These maps expand and contract to include objects such as clothing, tools or even your car. Some of the more interesting subjects the Blakeslees cover include muscle tone disorders, phantom limb sensations in amputees and the inaccurate body images associated with anorexia. Sketches and sidebars explore topics in more detail, while a glossary explains technical terms. With its breezy "this is so cool" style, this entertaining book will appeal to readers who prefer their science lighthearted and low-key. (Sept. 11) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.