I’m a cognitive and systems neuroscientist, currently doing a postdoc in the Laboratory of Neural Systems at Rockefeller University. I received my PhD in neuroscience from MIT, working with Rebecca Saxe and Nancy Kanwisher.
My current research addresses the question of how we reason about other social beings. We readily understand and predict others’ behavior by positing unobservable causes, such as others’ intentions and knowledge about the world. How does our brain accomplish these impressive causal inferences? I ask this question using systems neuroscience methods.
My graduate research focused on two topics:
1) The neural basis of social perception: how does the brain extract abstract social information from perceptual (visual and auditory) input? We found that humans have a number of distinct, nearby brain regions specialized for analyzing different types of social inputs (e.g., perceived face movements versus body movements), and began to characterize the nature of representations in these regions.
2) The development of high-level visual cortex: is the structure of our visual cortex hardwired and specified at birth, or does it develop gradually with visual experience? Using novel methods to scan awake infants with fMRI, we found that high-level visual regions, with preferences for abstract visual categories like faces or scenes, exist as early as 4-6 months of age.
When I’m not thinking about brains, I’m also a drummer and percussionist, playing rock, funk, and jazz music. Check out my band SugaGold!