Oh Shit, I hope I don't have one.

In a stellar display of "actual science" researchers at UCLA and Cal Tech have located what they beleive to be a "Jennifer Aniston neuron". That's right, a epiletic research patient was shown to have neuron the fired specifically in recognition of Jennifer Aniston and only Jennifer Aniston.

It is presumed that this neuron is designed to recognize one individual person, or specifically in this case:

anistonpic.jpg

Even more disturbing is the fact that they seem to have also located a "Friends" neuron. I am not talking about a neuron that recognizes people with whom you are friendly, but rather a specific neuron devoted to recognizing reference to the situational comedy "Friends." The concept is really quite simple. Basically, when you are exposed to stimuli a number of neurons fire as a result. These neurons map to sort of a matrix of "learning" neurons. As time passes, and you are exposed to the same basic stimuli over and over again, this matrix shrinks. Essentially it can be said that your brain is getting more adapted to recognizing what you are looking at, hearing, smelling, ect. The logical end to this process would be that after repeated, brain numbing exposure to something your brain would adapt to the point where a single neuron fired in recognition of a particular set of stimuli- in this case Jennifer Aniston, and also the show Friends.

Now, the logical end to this post is to conclude that it is both disturbing and exceptionally amusing that the first time scientists were able to locate such a fantastically adapted neuron it was adapted, not to recognize your wife, girlfriend, or grandmother, but Jennifer Aniston and the situational comedy Friends (two seperate neurons by the way). So if ever we are asked if our culture has been saturated with celebrity, we now know the answer…as well as the answer to some important questions about brain mechanics.

If you think that this is all been made up, here is the original research in pdf format. The publication Nature is the single most well respected source in the scientific community. Having papers published there means very rigorous peer review as well as groundbreaking work.

Have fun.

A more scientific summary from Nature:
"Friends and Grandmothers" -Charles E Connor

The actual original paper:
"Invariant visual representation by single neurons in
the human brain" -R. Quian Quiroga et. al.

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3 Responses to “Oh Shit, I hope I don't have one.”

  1. mike Says:

    from the article: in the case of Halle Berry, and presumably aniston, the neuron shot with the site of the actress's name spelled out. wonderful.

    Is it tied to the cluster of neurons (or just one?) related to situational comedies? Our brains hardwired to prime time huh – now the USA Network has a neurological obligation to step up and get my "Perfect Strangers" neuron firing again.

  2. Ed Says:

    Funny, but my "kill" neuron is acting up when I see this.

  3. he who shall not be named Says:

    I get my neurons fired by other actresses or women in show business that I deem attractive. If I saw a picture of Aniston, I'd more or less be like, "Oh, Brad Pitt jilted her, " but that's it. Take that researchers!