The Minds Eye

The mind’s eye

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If an eBook is available, you'll see the option to purchase it on the book page. View more FAQ's about Ebooks. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. The archer stands and pulls back the bow, visualizing the path of the arrow to the target. Does this mental exercise enhance performance? Can we all use such techniques to improve performance in our daily lives? In the Mind's Eye addresses these and other intriguing questions.

In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance | The National Academies Press

This volume considers basic issues of performance, exploring how techniques for quick learning affect long-term retention, whether an expert's behavior can serve as a model for beginners, if team performance is the sum of individual members' performances, and whether subliminal learning has a basis in science. The book also considers meditation and some other pain control techniques. Sacks had no idea who this was This problem can be so significant that some patients can't even identify their spouse or children in an 'out of context' situation.

Prosopagnosia apparently affects a significant proportion of the population, and sufferers must develop coping mechanisms as best they can. The actor, Brad Pitt, said he suffers from this condition. In the most personal part of the book Sacks relates his own experience with an eye tumor, his radiation and laser treatments, and the eventual loss of almost all vision in his right eye. This resulted in a diminution of both stereoscopic and peripheral vision.

Again, in his humorous self-deprecating style, Sacks relates incidents of missing stairs, bumping into and tripping over furniture and dogs, and not seeing things around him. He relates the discomfiture of having people or objects 'disappear' from his right side, then suddenly appear again. Sacks goes on to relate the stories of several people who either gained or lost stereoscopic vision. One woman who obtained stereoscopic vision after seeing everything in only two dimensions was mesmerized by seeing, for the first time, her steering wheel projecting from the dashboard and her rear-view mirror sticking out from the windshield.

Overall, for me these sections are the weakest part of the book, being too long and repetitive. Along with the various stories in the book Sacks discusses parts of the brain that are specialized for specific 'visual' functions, how these brain areas interact, and how malfunction or damage in these areas affects people's vision, reading, object recognition, and so on.

All in all, an interesting and informative book. You can follow my reviews at https: Jun 25, Trevor rated it really liked it Shelves: I listened to this one as a talking book. There were many, many times when I nearly stopped listening to it. By far the best parts of this talking book were when he was doing the reading.

You would nearly think that the producers of this audio book picked the person to read the other bits of the book as a way to convince Sacks he should just do the whole damn thing himself I listened to this one as a talking book. You would nearly think that the producers of this audio book picked the person to read the other bits of the book as a way to convince Sacks he should just do the whole damn thing himself.

Think of that smug, too-clever-by-half voice of his and that is nearly exactly the voice this guy used the whole way through. Often it nearly completely distracted me from the meaning of what I was listening to. It is part of the reason I know what it means to learn to read, whereas so many other people I know have no memory of ever learning to read — my astigmatism and my going to seven different primary schools made learning to read increasingly difficult and seemingly unlikely for me as things went along. I wonder now why an optometrist might think to tell an adolescent boy they have an astigmatism and yet not go on to explain what that defect actually amounts to — effectively a misshapen lens.

No matter how good your eyes there will always be a chart in which you can only see to the fifth line eventually. But I took this to mean that even with glasses I would always have less than perfect vision. I actually had to ask the optometrist to repeat that to me. So her telling me that was not and had not been the case completely threw me.

To find out that I am, in fact, Mr Normal came as quite a surprise. This book is about seeing. For those of us who can see there seems to be nothing more normal in the world. And those of us who can see generally can think of nothing worse than not being able to see. The choice between being dead and being blind seems, in so many ways, quite a difficult choice to make in theory.

A lot of this book is about people with degenerative disorders — strokes and such — that stop them being able to read. Cases where they can see the letters and even see the words, but are no longer able to make any sense of them. These are the kinds of stories that make you think someone is taking the piss.

The problem is that the complexity of the task involved in reading is such that highly particular dysfunctions in one part of the brain can lead to highly peculiar behaviours in the person suffering from that dysfunction. Sacks even has a chapter on his own problem with sight — brought about by a cancer growth in his eye. This is a particularly interesting chapter for a great number of reasons, but not least because he talks about a curious stereo vision thing happening when he was smoking cannabis one night.

You might like to google an image of Mr Sacks now for the full implications of this little confession to take effect. Needing to wear glasses has always made sight seem something of infinite value to me. There was a real sense that I had never really seen his face before. Or the time I first wore contact lenses and how sharp and clear my focus was looking over the Alexandra Gardens in a 64 tram down St Kilda Road — but the pain of them proved too much for me to bother with despite the manifest improvement in sight they gave.

Anyway, I look naked without glasses on, and, oddly enough, generally I am. There is an article here about a women who got stereo vision quite late on in life. There is some evidence that many artists did not have stereo vision they can tell by looking at photos of them and making measurements of their eyes and so they saw the world as a flat two-dimensional plane.

Filling in

This woman would sit for hours fascinated by the sense of depth, of how things jumped out at her into the third dimension she had never known existed before. I really could identify with this woman in my own small way.

Pay attention

The phrase mind's eye refers to the human ability for visualization. Mind's eye may also refer to: Contents. 1 Film, television and radio; 2 Games; 3 Literature. The Mind's Eye is a American science fiction horror film written and directed by Joe Begos. The film stars Graham Skipper, Lauren Ashley Carter, John.

Sacks does some name dropping in this book, but not of the boring sort of thick actress or member of the royal family others do — but people I would give my right arm to have known. He mentions writing to the Russian psychologist Luria at one point someone who has become a bit of a hero to me , he also mentions a tall guy called Jonathan Miller who I assume is THE Jonathan Miller and who has always been one of my heroes and then in passing mentions that he wrote to Simon Winchester to congratulate him on one of his talking books.

He talks of a blind woman in this book who finds her eyes get tired when she listens to them. She visually constructs the text in her head that she is listening to and effectively reads along with the voice. I listen to talking books for hours of every day — while I drive, while I cook, while I walk to the station. They are my constant companions. People have mentioned to me that they are only meant for the blind or the illiterate — something that makes we feel very sorry for them. Sacks talks about visualisation and how this might well be the third great cognitive ability, he says he is following Colin McGinn the philosopher in this.

I was thinking of other things when this was mentioned in the book and so missed what the other two were — though I think one of them was making sense of sensual data and maybe the other was linguistic ability — but I could be wrong.

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It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out it was called "The Mind's Eye". One woman who obtained stereoscopic vision after seeing everything in only two dimensions was mesmerized by seeing, for the first time, her steering wheel projecting from the dashboard and her rear-view mirror sticking out from the windshield. Nov 14, Charlene rated it liked it. This is Sack's 11th book, most of which are filled with case studies of his patients or correspondents, as he seeks to "show us what is often concealed in health: This time they were loosely based around the theme of the Mind's Eye - or how our perceptions of the world translate to imagery in the mind. I like all Sacks' books about the neurological problems and adjustments of the people whose stories he tells. Later, there is Pat, who after years of isolation, reinvents herself as an outgoing and highly social member of her community, despite the fact that she has aphasia and cannot utter a sentence.

Anyway, this got me thinking about visualisation. My ex-wife once told me that I could improve my spelling always hopeless until my late twenties by doing what she did. She would just visualise the word in her mind and then copy it onto the paper. Marx says somewhere that the difference between a bee making a hive and a person making a house is that even the worst builder making a house has an image in their mind of the final product — the bee does not.

Unfortunately, I am that bee. Sight has more to do with the mind than we might like to imagine — and this is a fascinating look at when things go wrong that might just get you wondering about your own visual life. View all 25 comments. I like all Sacks' books about the neurological problems and adjustments of the people whose stories he tells. However, when he comes to relating his own problems, that's another matter. He goes into far too much detail as though he had confused his audience - most of us are neither personal fans of Oliver Sacks himself rather than his work nor are we neurologists ourselves.

We just got sucked into neurology-as-a-popular-science by the brilliant Awakenings, or the film of that book starring Rob I like all Sacks' books about the neurological problems and adjustments of the people whose stories he tells. We just got sucked into neurology-as-a-popular-science by the brilliant Awakenings, or the film of that book starring Robin Williams, who will forever personify Sacks, at least in my mind.

If you enjoy Sacks, you might also enjoy another writer-neurologist, Dr. View all 10 comments. Nov 03, Megan rated it really liked it Shelves: I just wrote a blog post about my school memories and how deafness affected my school experience, and one paragraph seemed particularly relevant to this book, so I'll repost it here: My favorite part of these school trips was the ride [to the audiologist].

The car we rode in was large, at least to my mind, and the back seat faced backwards. Even as a kid I enjoyed other perspectives; I would hang upside down off the jungle gym to see what everything looked like upside down, and purposefully choos I just wrote a blog post about my school memories and how deafness affected my school experience, and one paragraph seemed particularly relevant to this book, so I'll repost it here: Even as a kid I enjoyed other perspectives; I would hang upside down off the jungle gym to see what everything looked like upside down, and purposefully choose other seats on the opposite side of my classroom every once in awhile to see what small things were different over there.

So, riding backwards in a car going forwards was absolutely fascinating to me. I soak up visual stuff, I really do. A lot of deaf people tend to do that, particularly if they were deafened prelingually I fall right on the cusp; I likely had mild hearing loss as I learned to comprehend speech, but not the profound loss I have now. I love photography and the way computer editing can transform a photo from what the subject looks like in real life. I love different perspectives, as I mentioned above. I absolutely cannot stand when I can only hear something and not look at it, and television programs or college lectures that simply feature one person sitting there talking easily put me to sleep.

This book made me panicky. Oliver Sacks has a chapter in here about how he grappled with the possibility of total blindness, and has to deal with monoscopic vision. The last chapter is about how blind people create a world of sight within them, drawing on previous experiences and what they can touch.

The rest of the book follows the same theme of how the brain interprets what we see and how it can fail. Oh, man, I did not want to be thinking about the possibility of not being able to see. Since the book evoked a strong reaction in me, I liked it; I don't care what the reaction was. At times it could get a bit dry. One paragraph would be easily readable and relatable and the next would be filled with scientific terminology and buzzwords.

I appreciate that Sacks has a large collection of correspondence people have sent to him, telling them their own experiences with various neurological occurences. At times, though, I think the people who write to him are prone to exaggerate, to try to sound interesting. I hope he doesn't take everything at face value, but it doesn't seem like he does.

I didn't realize that Sacks was as old as he is. He's in his seventies, at the time of this writing. I do hope he is able to share many more of his experiences. Sacks is both a gifted writer and a gifted clinician who brings a warmth, compassion and genuine interest to people who have various disabilities as the r Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales , The Mind's Eye is a collection of case studies by neurologist Oliver Sacks who is perhaps best known for his bringing Temple Grandin, an extremely successful woman with autism to the attention of the public and for the film with Robin Williams based on his book Awakenings.

Sacks is both a gifted writer and a gifted clinician who brings a warmth, compassion and genuine interest to people who have various disabilities as the result of illness or trauma to the brain. Each essay describes a person coping with some highly unusual ailment-a musician who can no longer read music, or words, but can still write, a woman who loses the ability to use or understand language, a writer who can't read, the loss of stereoscopic vision.

What Sacks brings to the studies, beyond his excellent prose and skill at accurately and vividly bringing these individuals and their families to life is an almost heart-breaking warmth and compassion. He is as interested in the ways in which people learn to cope, the skills they develop to compensate for their losses as he is in their disability. More so, in fact. Sacks' last essay is his most personal: And he writes particularly poignantly in this essay since the patient is himself. His respect for people is what comes through most strongly.

And as painful and frightening as I found some of these studies these people could be any one of us, including myself, including him , I was also heartened by the courage shown in impossibly difficult situations. One of the patients, a writer afflicted with alexia-the inabiity to read-said it beautifully: I just got cleverer at solving them.

View all 6 comments. Nov 17, Michelle rated it it was amazing Shelves: It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out it was called "The Mind's Eye". I loved the case studies in this book, and most of all how the people were portrayed as humans, not patients. My favorite chapter was probably the one on Lillian. The chapter on Oliver Sacks's eye cancer was really depressing, but it was still good. I definitely want to read more of this author. He could not, for instance, identify a glove by sight or feel despite being able to describe it in almost absurdly abstract terms, as 'a continuous surface infolded on itself [with] five outpouchings, if this is the word These latest fascinatingly annotated case histories from Sacks are as ever made wonderful by the rich and tenderly observed personal context of each patient.

Most poignantly, he writes of his own experiences of lifelong prosopagnosia poor facial recognition and sense of direction and the distressing loss of his stereoscopy due to cancer. Moving and at times painful, this book is as compulsively readable as Sacks' first publication, illustrating how endlessly wonderful and strange is the half-my These latest fascinatingly annotated case histories from Sacks are as ever made wonderful by the rich and tenderly observed personal context of each patient.

Moving and at times painful, this book is as compulsively readable as Sacks' first publication, illustrating how endlessly wonderful and strange is the half-mysterious country of the mind. In this work the theme of visual perception is mined, starting from alexia and proceeding to the surprisingly diverse visual experiences of blindness. Apr 14, Kirsti rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm always impressed by the author's compassion for his patients.

One of them has perfect vision but also has a brain disorder that means she can no longer recognize specific objects. She can see an apple, but she isn't sure if it's an apple or a tomato or a pepper. She can see a toy elephant, but it might be a toy dog or a toy giraffe. But she claims to do well in and around her neighborhood. To test this, Sacks takes her grocery shopping. Who else would think of this?

I also liked his account of the mystery novelist who had a stroke and lost the ability to read but not to write. The novelist relearned reading by tracing the letters in his mouth with his tongue! Because Sacks's eyesight is worsening, he's become drawn to cases that are related to vision. I know some reviewers didn't like this part of the book because so much of the focus is on him, but I didn't mind.

It makes sense to me that he's trying to understand how different people react to and experience blindness, since he may soon be blind himself. View all 3 comments. Mind's Eye is classic Sacks. It's a collection of essays with a focus on case studies. This time they were loosely based around the theme of the Mind's Eye - or how our perceptions of the world translate to imagery in the mind.

As usual, he looks at people who have some sort of injury, illness or deficit to tell us about the normal functioning processes. Sacks has never shied away from including his own illnesses and problems in his books. A Leg to Stand On and Migraine. This time felt Mind's Eye is classic Sacks. This time felt brutally personal as he shared both his life-long problem with prosopagnosia face blindness , and his recent battle with a melanoma tumor on his retina. The latter altered then robbed him of his sight, and we see the normally upbeat the resilient doctor become alarmed, depressed, anxious and doubting.

His Melanoma Diary is included verbatim, describing his thoughts as his vision changed day-to-day through the cancer treatments. However, it really brought together the deeper themes in the book: I suspect this chapter has been published elsewhere before inclusion in the book. One of the best things I took away from the book is the difference between people who are strong visual imagers and people who do a more abstract type of mental imagery. In that last chapter, he discusses quite a few cases of blind people who have either maintained a very strong sense of visual imagery despite their deficits.

He contrasts those with cases where the blind person has completely shifted their mental imagery towards aural, texture, and more abstract imagery. It turns out Sacks admits he has almost no capabilities to pull up mental visual images, and he attributes some of this to his prosopagnosia. It took me a long time to think about the differences, but I think there are strong parallels with my fellow physicists. At work, I have always been a very strong visual, "graph it" person -- I think best about a physical relationship or concept if I can imagine the graph or other physical representation.

My husband, at the other extreme, likes to think much more abstractly in equations, and rarely graphs things in his head. As I've chatted with other folks over the years, physicists tend to fall into one or the other category - and I think this is what Sacks is talking about in the last chapter. I read this after reading Trevor McCandless's review. I was fascinated from page one onwards.

Since then I have bored nearly everybody I know by talking about it, lent it to my daughter who found it just as interesting and ordered another copy for my mother. It is not just about eye-brain connections, though it is about that. It is about how different people respond in richly unique ways to sensory perception and sensory deprivation.

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But it is beautifully written, as simple as can be. Sacks is I read this after reading Trevor McCandless's review. Sacks is a natural story teller, but he is equally fascinated by people. He just talks about what they do and how they react. No great scientific theories or judgements. Just observation with humour and compassion. Beautiful piece of writing.

Aug 09, Barb rated it really liked it. Oliver Sacks passed away this week and it is a sad loss to those of us who have enjoyed his books as well as to his friends and family. The Mind's Eye, like several other of his popular books, relates stories of his patients with ingenious adaptations to unusual neurological impairments, such as the lack of depth perception, or face blindness inability to recognize faces. The second half of the book tells his own story in minute detail, of the melanoma tumor discovered behind his eye in a Oliver Sacks passed away this week and it is a sad loss to those of us who have enjoyed his books as well as to his friends and family.

The second half of the book tells his own story in minute detail, of the melanoma tumor discovered behind his eye in and his developing blindness in that eye. His intimate journal about the early symptoms, his coping mechanisms as well as his fears of loss show a man with deep curiosity about the world and the bravery to face his mortality yet continue to share his insights into the complexities of the brain. Jan 27, Courtney Johnston rated it really liked it Shelves: I have this little mental game I play with myself to pass the time - when I'm walking or driving by myself, usually.

If it had a name, it would probably be called something lame, like 'Choices'. In it, two or three options for a particular choice are available, and I have to justify to myself why I pick the option I do. It's like debating with myself, I gues, and it goes something like this: Palmerston North, Wanganui, or Hamilton? Hamilton Taller or thinner?

The Mind's Eye

Taller Live to 70 or live to 80? Prettier Amputation or paralysis? Amputation Paralysis or head injury?

Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye (Movie 1997)

Depends on the severity Oliver Sacks is a neurologist if you don't know that already - he's up there with Dawkins in the recognisable scientists list, and I don't believe Richard Dawkins has ever been played by Robin Williams. This is Sack's 11th book, most of which are filled with case studies of his patients or correspondents, as he seeks to "show us what is often concealed in health: Lose your stereoscopic or peripheral vision?

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It was the case studies of alexia that filled me with horror. I tried to imagine getting up one morning, flipping open the laptop, and not being able to read. Not just not able to piece together the letters of the alphabet, but not even recognising the alphabet. Having those 26 little shapes, so deeply engrained in my brain, appear as unfamiliar as Cyrillic script. Perhaps not only not being able to read, but suddenly, unable to write.

Or worse yet, total - global - aphasia: Sacks quotes the words of psychologist Scott Moss, who had a stroke at 43 and became aphasic: When I awoke next morning in the hospital, I was totally globally aphasic. I could understand vaguely what others said to me if it was spoken slowly and represented a very concrete form of action I had lost completely the ability to talk, to read and write.

I even lost for the first two months the ability to use words internally, that is, in my thinking I had also lost the ability to dream. So, for a matter of eight to nine weeks, I lived in a total vacuum of self-produced concepts.