Kitchen Knives and Face Blindness: An fMRI story


Nancy Kanwisher asks: is the brain like a kitchen knife, or is it like a Swiss Army knife?

That is: is it one big all-purpose instrument that we use to accomplish many different tasks? Or, is it made up of many distinct mini-tools, each one to be used in a special way under special circumstances?

And: what tool can we use to answer that question?

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Kanwisher starts hunting for a part of the brain that recognizes faces. Even more intriguing, she looks for the part of HER brain that recognizes faces.

The result: a fascinating exploration of our Swiss-Army-Knife brain, and the limits of our knowledge.

tags: category: L&B Blog

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