Critique on Reflections on the mind. Scientific American

Category: Article Critique

Ramachandran, V.S., & Rogers-Ramachandran, D. (2011). Reflections on the Mind. Scientific American

In their article, Ramachandran and Rogers-Ramachandran try to reveal the work of the human brain through a simple setup comprising of a mirror. The description provided in this article brings out the concept of the quantity of information that is revealed about an individual through a simple look at their own reflection. Based on this, the authors show how the human brain coordinates information from various angles to give out the sum total of personality, why individuals respond, the way they react to different scenarios, and how interpersonal communication manifests within self. Similarly, the setup shows how this experiment can be used to demonstrate brain functionality and how information collected is translated to meaningful data about one’s personality. These are pertinent questions that are addressed by the mirror setup, which basically gives a reflection of one’s own image or the one placed before them. Essentially, this experiment comprises of specific and simplified body movements in front of the mirror that create awareness of the actions thereby revealing a lot about the functioning of the human brain.

The findings of this simple experiment reveal particular aspects about interpersonal communication especially messages sent by the brain. Certain actions perceived by the brain appear to be different. This aspect is described by the researchers as the brain abhorring discrepancies. Further experiments reveal a symmetry of aspects within the brain and even how various sensors such as sight and touch combine a number of information in the brain to build up an internal image of the body or a sense of it. In a nutshell, these researchers sought to reveal how a simple experiment such as the mirror test can create a sense of self-awareness and interpersonal communication. Essentially, the perception we create of ourselves in front of the mirror plays a key role in giving feedback of who we are from within. According to the authors of the article, it can have myriad implications especially when it comes to understanding the functioning of the human mind and communications within the body. It also denotes the fact that the mind takes center control of interpersonal communication and thereby harnessing this “power” would mean being in control of a number of things. These include understanding how to control emotions and one’s environment.

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From a generalized perspective, this article describes a number of sensations experienced by the human based on perceptions of the brain. A lot is determined in feelings by what the eye captures and what the brain perceives. What the brain perceives is so strong in its effect that it tends to override intellect and knowledge over the subject matter. Essentially, interpersonal communication is directly controlled by the brain and combines touch and sight senses to create its own standards of internal communication. For instance, in the setup where a second party introduces a hand in the mirror, either one of the following perceptions will be taken up by the brain. It is assumed to be the actor’s hand when the actual hand feels numb, or the brain completely ignores the “foreign” hand introduced in the mirror and perceives it as a dummy. The thing is, the brain does not settle for half perceptions or doubt in any sense. Messages being sent to the body take up the entire perception.

In the communication with the body, the brain acts basing on experience and data it has received, which is interpreted as patterns. In other words, instances and signals sent from the brain often are a combination of repeated actions done by the body as opposed to averaging the signals received at an instance. It explains why the brain sends full signals of perceptions to the body. Usually these are a combination of internal consistencies of messages and actions combined over time. Similarly, this trait of the brain where it learns patterns over time and uses them to create perceptions can be applied in healing pain. In this instance, the authors describe a scenario where the brain “unlearns” pain to which it was previously introduced. In one of the experiments, an optical illusion is created in which the brain perceives an itchiness being scratched. It, interestingly, works to counter the actual itchiness which remains unscratched. In this example, the process combines perception and repeated visual input that work together towards a common goal. These actions usually work to positively reduce the real pain being experienced by one part of the body. Clearly, the brain interprets scenarios based on its own understanding of the environment and it is this understanding that is then translated into communication to the body. Depending on how the environment is interpreted, self-awareness is created by the interpersonal communication orchestrated by the brain. The net effect of this is that functioning of the brain captures a number of aspects from the environment that are then used to determine how the body is given messages.

In conclusion, the aspects interpreted by the brain from this experiment define several aspects of self-awareness and interpersonal communication. It directly shows that a lot of the decisions and out of body experiences felt individually are as a result of perceptions by the brain. In addition to this, if such a simple setup can be used to provoke certain feelings and emotions within the body; then on a larger and more complex scale the mind and body can be trained to give predictable results such as self-healing. It can also be used to tame one’s personality and help improve on how individuals respond to unexpected situations.

The fact that the brain works with patterns of previous experiences can also be harnessed to yield a better response from individuals. One can learn to calmly approach situations and allow the brain to pick up the correct aspects of the scene. This way, the expected result then is that the solution realized in case of a problem will be accurate and reliable. The combination of vision and brain perception also can be used to direct the outcome of an activity as a calm response would need a clear understanding of the situation at hand. In other words, the experiments in this article show that one can control te response to the environment, which would work to their advantage.