May 4, 2021 • 1HR 8M

#57: Nancy Kanwisher on Finding Your Niche

Cognitive Revolution | How this beloved neuroscientist's career almost ended before it began

 
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Welcome to Against Habit. My name is Cody Kommers, and in this show I talk to experts, authors, and scientists about the ways we can rethink the habits, ideas, and assumptions we take with us through daily life. Mainstream productivity culture tells us that optimal habits are the best way to solve any behavioral problem. But I think in our veneration of habits, we've overlooked something crucial. Many of our deepest experiences of creativity, connection, and meaning come from breaking out of our habitual rug and engaging in life in a new way. Exploring that idea is what this show is all about. (Note: This show was previously "Cognitive Revolution")

This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


Nancy Kanwisher is a much beloved cognitive neuroscientist at MIT. She has published some of the most influential papers in her field (for example, the discovery of the Fusiform Face Area). And it often seems that most other influential findings in cognitive neuroscience which were not made directly by Nancy herself were made by one of her students. In this episode, we talk about Nancy's experiences growing up with a love of science, struggling to get traction in graduate school, deciding between science and journalism, the early days of fMRI, and her approaches to mentorship. She is a brilliant scientist and compelling human, and I'm very excited to share this interview!

Coverage of Nancy on Buzzfeed.
The original FFA paper.

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