Rebecca Saxe studies how we think about other people's thoughts. At the Saxelab at MIT, she uses fMRI to identify what happens in our brains when we consider the motives, passions and beliefs of others.

Why you should listen

While still a graduate student, Rebecca Saxe made a breakthrough discovery: There's a specific region in our brain that becomes active when we contemplate the workings of other minds. Now, at MIT's Saxelab, she and her team have been further exploring her grad-school finding, exploring how it may help us understand conditions such as autism.

As Saxe delves into the complexities of social cognition, this young scientist is working toward revealing the enigma of human minds interacting.

What others say

“One of the most astonishing discoveries in the field of human cognitive neuroscience.” — Nancy Kanwisher, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT

Rebecca Saxe’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Rebecca Saxe


TED Weekends investigates why we judge others

May 18, 2013

Above and slightly behind your right ear, exists a part of your brain many scientists believe is specifically dedicated to thinking about other people’s thoughts – to predicting them, reading them, and empathizing with them. It’s called the temporoparietal junction, and this is the area cognitive neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe focuses on in her research. At TEDGlobal […]

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How we read each other's minds: Rebecca Saxe on

September 10, 2009

Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples’ thoughts — and judges their actions. Watch Rebecca Saxe’s talk on, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, […]

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Rebecca Saxe at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 5

July 22, 2009

Unedited running notes from TEDGlobal 2009. Rebecca Saxe talked about “the problem of other minds.” One of the most complicated things the mind does is try to comprehend what other people are thinking. But the problem she researches is not what you might think — not “why is it so hard to know other minds?” […]

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