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Could neuroscience and AI engineering unlock a hidden visual interface to the emotional brain?

Professor Jim DiCarlo gave a TEDx talk about his group's research on how the brain processes visual stimuli — and how that understanding may lead to improvements in physical and emotional health.
  • Jim DiCarlo lecturing
    Jim DiCarlo lecturing at the TEDx event, at MIT in December 2022
  • view of Professor DiCarlo with audience
    Professor DiCarlo lecturing during the TEDx event at MIT
  • Audience in Stata Center
    TEDx audience in the Stata Center

For the past 20 years, the DiCarlo research team has been helping to build a contemporary scientific understanding of how a complex network of neurons in the brain processes images so that individuals recognize objects and faces, and they have been building this scientific understanding into precise computer models. Based on this, they are imagining a future where specific targeted visuals – images and movies –  can improve physical and mental health.  This research may lead to a future where images and movies provide physicians with new, non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatment options to help ameliorate mental health conditions.

James DiCarlo is the Peter de Florez Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science at MIT and director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence, and is a principal investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. His research focuses on using computational methods to understand the brain’s visual system, and with this knowledge, developing brain-machine interfaces to restore or augment lost senses. DiCarlo has received an Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, a Pew Scholar Award, and a McKnight Scholar Award. He earned a PhD in biomedical engineering, and an MD, from Johns Hopkins University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by MIT.