Meaning Lab
#57: Nancy Kanwisher on Finding Your Niche

#57: Nancy Kanwisher on Finding Your Niche

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

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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Listen now (81 min) | In this episode, I go in-depth with Mahzarin Banaji on her life story. Mahzarin started off just about as far away from life as a Harvard professor as you can imagine. And while she's a superstar of social psychology now, her introduction to the field was a chance encounter with a set of the five volume Handbook of Social Psychology, which she haggled d…
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Meaning Lab
Welcome to the Meaning Lab podcast. In each episode, I talk to a scientist, author, or artist about their approach to meaning-making — from language, to productivity, to writing, to travel. It's all fair game, as long as it gets us closer to understanding how we make sense of the world and our place in it.