Entry Date:
January 13, 2009

The Effect of Experience on Theory of Mind and the Relationship Between Sensory and Conceptual Representations

Principal Investigator Rebecca Saxe

The group is interested in how conceptual knowledge is organized in the brain and how lifetime experiences shape conceptual representations. How does the sensory modality through which we learn information effect how that information is represented in the cortex? How do the intrinsic computational properties of a brain region interact with input from the environment to shape a region's function? To answer these questions, we conduct fMRI and TMS studies with sighted and blind participants. In one line of research we examine the effects of early sensory experience on the organization of the neural network that supports reasoning about beliefs (ToM). In a second line of research we examine the relationship between the representations of word-meaning and sensory experiences.