The Brain: The Places in the Brain Where Space Lives
The great philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that nothing matters more to our existence than space. Every experience we have—from the thoughts in our heads to the stars we see wheeling through the sky—makes sense only if we can assign it a location. “We never can imagine or make a representation to ourselves of the non-existence of space,” he wrote in 1781.
The nonexistence of space may certainly be hard to imagine. But for some people it is part of everyday life. Strokes can rob us of space. So can brain injuries and tumors.
The right temporal parietal junction is one of the brain regions that are often damaged in people who lose part of their sense of space. By zeroing in on that region—and by continuing to deconstruct the overall operation of the space network—neuroscientists may finally explain not only Kant’s philosophy but the very foundations of how we perceive the world around us.