Smarty Pants Podcast

Wonderbrain

Inside the extraordinary minds of people who feel others’ emotions, hear hallucinations, and get lost in their own homes

By Stephanie Bastek | July 27, 2018
Courtesy Harper Collins

The most unusual brains are not the largest, nor the ones that can remember the most digits of the number pi. What fascinates Helen Thomson—a neuroscientist by training, a journalist by trade—are the brains that see auras, feel another’s pain, or play music around the clock. In her new book, Unthinkable, she travels the globe to find out what life is like for these people who perceive a completely different world than she does. How does a man who believes he’s a tiger live in a human community? How can a father who believes that he’s dead go to dinner with his kids? What’s it like to be lost in your own living room? The answers can teach you something about your own noggin.



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