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

Altered somatosensory processing in autism spectrum disorders: Mechanisms and emerging therapeutic opportunities

David Ginty, Ph.D.Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard University

On April 24, 2019, David Ginty presented his work on the neurobiological basis of touch over-reactivity in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He also discussed new pharmacological approaches aimed at reducing sensory over-reactivity and potentially improving cognitive and behavioral abnormalities associated with ASD.

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