Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind
Using fMRI imaging to watch the human brain at work, Nancy Kanwisher’s team has discovered cortical regions responsible for some surprisingly specific elements of cognition. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
control to the brain is local,
on that blood flow increase,
part of the brain for recognizing faces,
think there might be such a thing
pretty close to the world record
when I was looking at faces
something weird about my brain
necessary for a mental function,
that part of his brain.
to the patient first. So let's watch.
Neurologist: Nothing? Okay.
You're looking at my head this way.
this layout of space around me
does not respond strongly
are selectively responsive
different aspects of perception,
the meaning of a sentence,
experiments in my lab right now
that I've been describing,
purpose machinery in our heads
of these regions do exactly?
individual neurons in the brain,
cost of neuroscience research
ABOUT THE SPEAKERNancy Kanwisher - Brain researcher
Using fMRI imaging to watch the human brain at work, Nancy Kanwisher’s team has discovered cortical regions responsible for some surprisingly specific elements of cognition.
Why you should listen
Does the brain use specialized processors to solve complex problems, or does it rely instead on more general-purpose systems?
This question has been at the crux of brain research for centuries. MIT researcher Nancy Kanwisher seeks to answer this question by discovering a “parts list” for the human mind and brain. "Understanding the nature of the human mind," she says, "is arguably the greatest intellectual quest of all time."
Kanwisher and her colleagues have used fMRI to identify distinct sites in the brain for face recognition, knowing where you are, and thinking about other people’s thoughts. Yet these discoveries are a prelude to bigger questions: How do these brain regions develop and function? What are the actual computations that go on in each region, and how are these computations implemented in circuits of neurons? And how do these work together to produce human intelligence?
To learn more, see Kanwisher's collection of short talks on how scientists actually study the human mind and brain and what they have learned so far.
Nancy Kanwisher | Speaker | TED.com