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Natalie Portman as a Cognitive Neuroscientist

| 16 June 2010
The Star Wars queen Natalie Portman is amazing. I am amazed in her portrayal and stellar performance in Star Wars and also her academic achievement. She is also the beautiful Sara in Cold Mountain and "V" for Vendetta. According to a 2007 report, she left her acting career sometime on year 2000 to pursue a Psychology degree. You can google these keywords "Natalie Portman cognitive neuroscientist" to look for reports on the topic.

Natalie's real name is Natalie Hershlag. She was a co-author of a scientific paper on the subject neuroscience of child development. She did the project while in Harvard. She was also employed as an assistant in Prof Stephen Kosslyn's  neuropsychology lab. There, she got involved in a study investigating the link between frontal lobe development and visual knowledge in infants. The paper was eventually published in the journal Neuroimage, under Natalie's real name, with the title 'Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy'.

The Study

The study investigated object permanence  - the ability to understand that objects do not disappear from the world when they are out of sight, something that typically develops in the first year of life.

Researchers have argued that the frontal lobes are particularly important for this skill, but the trouble is, you can't put babies in conventional brain scanners to easily test the idea. They just wriggle about too much.

Portman's study, led by neuroscientist Dr Abigail Baird, used a relatively new method for measuring brain function called near-infrared spectroscopy.

The Results

The team discovered that the frontal lobes suddenly kicked in when children develop the knowledge that hidden objects still exist, providing an understanding of which brain areas are involved in this important mental function.

The study also demonstrated that near-infrared spectroscopy could be used successfully to study the brain development of very young children.


{ JollyPrincess } at: June 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM said...

Hello, thanks for posting this article about Natalie Portman. I am mesmerized by her brain and beauty.


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