This is Your Brain on Brain Science

Nancy Kanwisher ’80, PhD ’86—Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and a founding member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research—specializes in the imaging method called fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to study what goes on inside our heads. But for the series of brief educational videos she has created for her website, Kanwisher chose a simpler imaging technique to get her point across: the Sharpie. In the name of science education, Kanwisher shaved her head and called on graduate student Rosa Lafer-Sousa to ink the landscape of the brain directly onto her own scalp.

In “The Neuroanatomy Lesson (Director’s Cut),” Kanwisher and Sousa map the location of specific regions that activate when we look at faces and bodies, wonder what other people are thinking, process language, and carry out other specialized functions.

Photo: Cary Wolinsky, Trillium Studios