The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales


Cover of the book “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”

Everybody knows the phenomena of  people becoming more attractive when you are drunk. That’s why it can happen that after a night of excessive drinking you wake up the next day next to someone who doesn’t quite follow your visual standards.What happened is that the brain made you look at someone in a different light, you mistook that person for an actor, a rockstar,..or maybe just for someone who you believed to be more attractive.

But what could possibly lead a man to believe that his wife is a hat?This question cannot be answered with alcohol, no matter how much you drink!The answer is visual agnosia, the impairment in recognition of visually presented objects. And more importantly, what type of hat did he confuse her with, a sombrero, a cap, a fisherhat?This and hopefully many more questions are getting answered in the book “the man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales” written by “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century” (The New York Times), Oliver Sacks. This book recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre world of neurological disorders and the title of the book is based on the most prominent one.

 

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