Jennifer Aniston

Is there a Jennifer Aniston neuron?

We help you separate scientific fact from brainy baloney

While examining the brains of people with epilepsy who were about to undergo neurosurgery, researchers discovered neurons that respond specifically when people look at pictures of celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry or famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower.

The cells also fired when the patients thought about the celebrities. They are located near the hippocampus, which is crucial for memory formation. Each cell is probably part of a network that encodes the memory, or concept, of the celebrity or landmark and probably contributes to hundreds of other networks, each of which encodes a different memory or concept. It is unlikely that single neurons map directly and uniquely onto single people or objects.

Lead image:

Jennifer Aniston.

KMar Tsai/Flickr CC BY NC ND


About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘How We Look’ in June 2008 and reviewed and updated in November 2017.

How We Look, Inside the Brain
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development