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Questions for Ghosts in your head

SCIENCE

Before reading:

1. Have you ever felt, smelled, tasted, heard or seen something that wasn’t there? Describe your experience.

During reading:

1. What is a hallucination?

2. Why has our understanding of phantom senses improved in recent years?

3. What is a “phantom limb?”

4. Define fMRI and explain why the technology is useful.

5. How did Tamar R. Malkin and her colleagues discover the phantom pain some amputees feel is all too real? What evidence do they offer to support that?

6. What are scent receptors?

7. Who was Charles Bonnet?

8. Why would it be useful to recognize odd or misshapen faces?

After reading:

1. Provide an example or two of how the study of hallucinations has increased our general knowledge and understanding of the brain.

2. Based on your reading of this article, would someone cut off from sensory stimuli (say, an astronaut on a long space mission) be more or less likely to experience hallucinations? Explain your reasoning.

SOCIAL STUDIES

1. People are exceptionally good at reading faces. The brain supports that skill. A single glance can quickly tell us a person’s identity, mood, direction of attention and other important information. Explain how our ability to read faces might support our highly social nature. Support your argument by providing examples of how face-reading makes it easier in interacting with others.

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