Historian Anne Harrington discusses the public fascination with the lives of people with injured brains, recounted in books such as Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
Interviewed on ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind, Harrington considers how these detailed case studies have influenced neuroscience, from early description by Russian neuropsychologist A. R. Luria, to the variety of similar books available today.
These literary accounts have been christened ‘neuroanthropology’ by some, highlighting their focus on the effects of brain injury on day-to-day reality and human existence.
One of my favourites is a recent book by Paul Broks entitled Into the Silent Land (first chapter) that combines case studies, neuropsychology, philosophy of mind and a sometimes hallucinatory style.
Realaudio or transcript for All in the Mind interview with Ann Harrington.
Link to interview with Paul Broks from amercianscientist.org
Link to A.R. Luria archive, with audio and video.