Nautilus

Finding the Concept That Is Jennifer Aniston in My Brain

Are your neurons thrown off by this photo? Shutterstock

Most of us have an uneasy love/hate relationship with celebrity culture. No matter how much we try to pretend we’re above it all, celebrities somehow seep into our consciousness, whether it’s Miley Cyrus’s cringe-inducing twerking at the VMAs, or our enduring affection for the ensemble cast of The Big Bang Theory—or, in an earlier era, Friends. Then again, our fascination with celebrities just might lead to important breakthroughs into our understanding of how the brain stores and retrieves memories.

Eight years ago, neuroscientists at UCLA working with a

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