The social brain: Understanding autism

  • Autism Research
Speaker Nancy Kanwisher, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date & Time


Location

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010 United States

Autism Research

Autism Research lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse and important topics related to autism. The lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.

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On 23 September, Nancy Kanwisher discussed the functional architecture of the social brain as an avenue for considering which functions are affected and which are preserved in autism.

Her talk was part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research lecture series.
 

About the Lecture

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, and 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.

In this talk, Nancy Kanwisher considered the functional architecture of the social brain as an avenue for considering which functions are affected and which are preserved in autism.

About the Speaker

Nancy Kanwisher is professor of cognitive neuroscience at the 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 University 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.

Past Lectures

Progress in understanding the genetic basis of mental health

Benjamin Neale, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associated Researcher, Broad Institute

On May 6, 2020, Benjamin Neale discussed progress in mapping genetic risk factors for autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Autism, autisms, or neurodevelopmental disorders?

Jason Lerch, Ph.D.Director of Preclinical Imaging, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford
Adjunct Scientist, Mouse Imaging Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children
Associate Professor in Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

On January 29, 2020, Jason Lerch explored this question: What do modern ways of looking at brains and genes tell us about autism – or autisms – and its relation to attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other related disorders of brain development?

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