Archive for April 19th, 2009

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Mirror neurons reflect more than understanding

April 19, 2009

This blog entry is about one of the most interesting discoveries of the 90’s in Neuroscience — Mirror Neurons — and a recent research paper that adds to their intrigue.  Mirror neurons are found in the premotor cortex, and what has made them so interesting is that they fire both when the individual performs a goal-directed action and when they watch someone else perform the same action.  It is as if the mirror neurons encode an understanding about the intentions of someone else.  For example, when my husband reaches for his coffee cup I understand that he intends to take a drink before he even raises the cup to his lips.  Neuroscientists think it is the mirror neurons that encode the “understanding” when we watch what others are doing.

A recent study suggests that mirror neurons may do more than just reflect understanding others.  A group of Neuroscientists in Tubingen Germany and Parma Italy has shown that mirror neurons may contribute to thinking about how to interact.
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