Watch CBS News

Brain Cells Recognize Celebrities

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Did you ever wonder how we recognize people or associate someone's voice with a memory? Here is our understanding.

We know there are brain cells in specific parts of the brain that seem to turn on only in response to pictures or individual images. Researchers have also found these brain cells respond to language.

One of the best studies was done using celebrity images. Scientists found an "Oprah" brain cell that responds to three pictures of Oprah Winfrey, to her name written on a computer screen, and to a computer-synthesized voice saying 'Oprah'.

Star power literally can have a big effect: another brain cell turned on to different pictures and the written and pronounced names Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.