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Scratching an itch through the scalp to the brain


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author
Atul Gawande
link
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/30/the-itch
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journal
NewYorker.com
year
2012
month
May 9

excerpt

New scientific understanding of perception has emerged in the past few decades, and it has overturned classical, centuries-long beliefs about how our brains work—though it has apparently not penetrated the medical world yet. The old understanding of perception is what neuroscientists call “the naïve view,” and it is the view that most people, in or out of medicine, still have. We’re inclined to think that people normally perceive things in the world directly. We believe that the hardness of a rock, the coldness of an ice cube, the itchiness of a sweater are picked up by our nerve endings, transmitted through the spinal cord like a message through a wire, and decoded by the brain.