[FUN_Mail] new neuroscience book, Coming to Our Senses

Karen Gunther guntherk at wabash.edu
Sat Mar 12 19:35:48 UTC 2022

Sue -

I am interested in your book!  A decade ago now I switched from using a standard textbook in Sensation & Perception to using what I call “non-fiction novels”.  I considered your book Fixing My Gaze, but ended up not covering depth perception (there just isn’t time to cover everything).  Here’s my JUNE article that came out of my changeover:  https://www.funjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/gunther_10_1_a14_a23.pdf?x36670  I do use Michael Chorost’s book Rebuilt, so the portion of your book with Zohra and her cochlear implant would fit in nicely.  For vision we use Oliver Sacks’ The Island of the Colorblind, but because the people in that book are full rod monochromats, they have visual problems beyond just colorblindness, so Liam’s story might also fit in well.

Thank you for letting us know about your new book.

- Karen

Dr. Karen L. Gunther, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Chair, Institutional Review Board
Chair, Psychology Division, Council on Undergraduate Research
Wabash College
Baxter 322
301 W. Wabash Ave.
Crawfordsville, IN  47933
Preferred pronouns:  she, her

On Mar 12, 2022, at 1:37 PM, Susan Barry <sbarry at mtholyoke.edu<mailto:sbarry at mtholyoke.edu>> wrote:

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Dear FUN members,
I'm a retired biology and neuroscience professor at Mount Holyoke College.
I've recently published a second book called Coming to Our Senses (Basic Books, 2021).  My first book, Fixing My Gaze, described my experience of gaining stereopsis in midlife, a story that was first told by Oliver Sacks in a New Yorker article titled "Stereo Sue."  (See stereosue.com<http://stereosue.com/>)

In Coming to Our Senses, I tell the stories of two young people I got to know well over a ten year period. Liam McCoy was 15 when a surgical procedure addressed several conditions that had left him nearly blind since early childhood. But instead of seeing his family, friends, and everyday objects within a three-dimensional landscape, he saw a hodgepodge of lines and colors on one flat plane. Zohra Damji was 12 when a cochlear implant enabled her to hear for the first time. But all sounds—voices, a car motor, the rain—merged into one unintelligible cacophony.

Many people who gain sight or hearing after childhood are overwhelmed by the onslaught of novel sensations and ultimately reject their new sense.  But Liam and Zohra not only adapted to but embraced their sight and hearing.  Coming to Our Senses describes how they reconstructed and reorganized their perceptual world, reshaped their identity, and rewired the neural circuits in their brain. Their stories are a testament to human resilience and neuroplasticity.

If you are interested in the book, please let me know.  I should be able to send you a copy.
All best,
Sue Barry
Susan R. Barry, PhD
Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences
Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience and Behavior
Mount Holyoke College

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