How do we recognize highly variable pictures of the same person as the same? And how does hearing their voice or name conjure up many of the same feelings of recognition? Previously, researchers had found brain cells in specific parts of the brain in people undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy that seemed to turn on only in response to pictures of individual celebrities. In the present study, researchers have found these brain cells also respond to language. For instance, they found an Oprah brain cell that responds to three pictures of Oprah Winfrey, to her name written on a computer screen, and to computer synthesized voice saying Oprah. Another brain cell turned on to different pictures and the written and pronounced names Luke Skywalker from "Star Wars." It's pretty interesting stuff.
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