Invariant Visual Representation by Single Neurons in the Human Brain

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There are cells in your nose that respond to a rose,

Which, in some ways, is clearly terrific.

There are cells in your skin that sense pricks of a pin,

Which is useful, and fairly specific….

 

But imagine a cell specializing so well,

It detects only one of earth’s denizens!

Yes, imagine a neuron that only will turn on

For pictures of Jennifer Aniston!

 

Too bizarre?  Well, get this: such neurons exist,

Based on research of this new millennium.*

So what else might inspire picky neurons to fire

Deep inside the hard case of the cranium?

 

*R.Q. Quiroga et al. (2005), Nature 435: 1102-1107

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Dr. Greg Crowther teaches anatomy and physiology at Everett Community College (WA).  His peer-reviewed articles on enhancing learning with content-rich music have collectively been cited over 100 times.