Simon’s Foundation Lectures. Autism: Emerging Concepts (9/23 @ 5PM)

| August 29, 2014
The Social Brain: A Hypothesis Space for Understanding Autism
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Speaker: Nancy Kanwisher
4:15PM Tea; 5:00PM Lecture; 6:15PM Reception
Humans are a highly social species, allocating numerous brain regions to distinct aspects of social cognition. These regions and corresponding mental abilities serve as tools for understanding which functions are lost and which are preserved in autism.

Autism is characterized by a highly uneven cognitive profile in which some mental functions are preserved or enhanced, whereas others are disrupted. An important asset in the search to understand this complex disorder comes from the study of the typical human mind and brain. Behavioral, developmental and neural data from control subjects support a modular architecture, with distinct cognitive functions implemented in distinct cognitive and neural mechanisms. In this talk, Nancy Kanwisher will consider the functional architecture of the social brain in typical subjects as an avenue for considering which functions are affected and which are preserved in autism.

Nancy Kanwisher is a professor in the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an investigator at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. After receiving her B.S. and Ph.D. from MIT, Kanwisher served on the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard, before returning to MIT in 1997. Kanwisher has received the Troland Research Award, MacVicar Faculty Fellow teaching award and Golden Brain Award. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For those who have not yet registered, details and free tickets are available here for this lecture. Limited seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

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