Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society


How Does It Feel to Not Feel Anything?


Event Summary

Humans cannot know the internal experience of others, but our common vocabulary effectively allows for communication about internal states and external circumstances. We can even imagine the inner life of a blind or deaf person by closing our eyes or plugging our ears. But how would it feel to have no sense of touch, temperature, or pain? No tactile sense of the body at all? At this workshop, sponsored by the The Language of Kim research project, Peggy Mason, a neurobiologist, and Lenore Grenoble, a linguist, introduced their work with an individual who lacks somatosensation. This cross-disciplinary work aimed at understanding how language based on sensory experience can be acquired even in the absence of direct sensory experience.