Elements of Perception

Nancy Kanwisher’s group studies the functional organization of the human brain as a window into the architecture of the mind. Over the last 20 years her lab has played a central role in the identification of several dozen regions of the cortex in humans that are engaged in particular components of perception and cognition. Many of these regions are very specifically engaged in a single mental function, such as perceiving faces, places, bodies, or words, or understanding the meanings of sentences or the mental states of others. Other regions bring together unexpected combinations of functions that may ultimately provide the strongest constraints on the computations conducted in those regions. Each of these regions is present in approximately the same location in virtually every normal person.