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What Do Hallucinations Reveal About Our Minds?

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Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Unquiet Mind. Watch Oliver Sacks' full talk — What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds — on

About Oliver Sacks' TEDTalk

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — in which visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail, and walks us through the biology of this underreported phenomenon.

About Oliver Sacks

Since Awakenings first stormed the best-seller lists (and the silver screen), Oliver Sacks has become an unlikely household name, single-handedly inventing the genre of neurological anthropology. Sacks is a groundbreaking neurologist — and a gifted storyteller — who has enriched our knowledge of the infinite variations of human psychology. After his pioneering work with "sleepy sickness" patients (who were, in fact, survivors of an early 20th century pandemic), Sacks went on to study the connections between music and the brain, as well as disorders such as Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's disease and many other little-understood disorders that often count Sacks as one of their first chroniclers.

Sacks is well known as a writer of such best-selling case histories as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars, and his memoir of his early work, Awakenings, all of which have breathed new life into the dusty 19th century tradition of the clinical anecdote. Sacks' writing, compassion and wide-ranging knowledge catapult the genre into the 21st century and bring the far frontiers of neurological experience into the view of millions of readers worldwide. His latest book is Hallucinations. He maintains a small practice in New York City.

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