Switched on

Switched on

A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening

Book - 2015
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"When John Elder Robison published Look Me in the Eye, his darkly funny bestselling memoir about growing up with Asperger's Syndrome, he was launched into international prominence as an autism expert. But in spite of his success, he still struggled to decode the secret language of social interactions, and often felt like a misfit who understood car engines better than people. So when a group of Harvard neuroscientists told John about TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), an experimental brain therapy that promised to remediate the disabilities of autism and unlock his emotional intelligence, he jumped at the chance to join their study. Switched On recounts the adventure that followed, as John became a guinea pig to the world's top brain researchers in an effort to understand the social and emotional deficits that lie at the heart of autism, with electrifying results. As Robison describes his transformation: "For the first time in my life, I learned what it was like to truly 'know' other people's feelings. It was as if I'd been experiencing the world in black and white all my life, and suddenly I could see everything--and particularly other people--in brilliant beautiful color."--
Publisher: New York :, Spiegel & Grau,, 2015.
ISBN: 9780812996890
Branch Call Number: 616.858832 R6626R
Characteristics: 1 volume


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Jan 03, 2017

What a fascinating book. I listened to this book which was read by the author. At first it put me off because his narration seemed a bit stilted and when listening to an audiobook the narrator can really make it or break it for me. However, I realized that this book was unique in that it was giving me a glimpse into this man's experience as someone with aspergers and his manner of speaking seeming somewhat off putting to people is something he is aware of and has to deal with every day. Was I listening to this just to be entertained or did I want to learn something? So I kept on with it and soon the narration was just fine and his style was part of his story. And what a story he has. This is not his first book although it is the first one I have read. He has written before about what living with Aspergers is like and has become a popular and much in demand speaker at conferences and on boards etc. He has had several different successful careers, mostly entrepreneurial and is looked up to by many. He is extremely self aware and can write about his experiences clearly.
This book focuses on his involvement in a research study to see if sending electromagnetic energy into precise locations in the brains of people with Aspergers would increase their emotional intelligence, turn on those parts of the brain that help us interpret other's meaning through facial expressions, tone of voice etc. Robison was enthusiastic to try the experimental therapy even when his family members were apprehensive. You're going to try and change your brain? What if you're not you anymore? Would this change his relationships to others? What if turning up his emotions turned down the amazing mechanical abilities he had which he had used his whole life in various careers? It's not really a spoiler to say things do change for him or there wouldn't be a book. It's so intriguing to read about his experiences, both wonderful and sad as a result of the therapy and brings many more questions about how all of our brains work and make each of us who we are.


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