Biology

Playlist: All kinds of minds

Posted by: Ben Lillie

(TED is on its annual two-week vacation. During the break, we’re posting playlists from the TEDTalks archive. We’ll be back with new talks on August 29th.)

“If you could only see the world the way I see it …” Four TEDTalks from non-neurotypical thinkers, people whose minds work in extraordinary and unusual ways.

1) Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

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2) At TED’s Full Spectrum Auditions, comedian Joshua Walters, who’s bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental “skillness.” In this funny, thought-provoking talk, he asks: What’s the right balance between medicating craziness away and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive?

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3) Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia — meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of “Born on a Blue Day,” Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind.

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4) Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.

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Playlist by Emily McManus.

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