Getting a grip on other minds: Mirror neurons, intention understanding, and cognitive empathy
Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Social neuroscience
(Impact Factor: 2.66).
09/2006; 1(3-4):175-83. DOI: 10.1080/17470910600985605
We have previously shown that a right inferior frontal mirror neuron area for grasping responds differently to observed grasping actions embedded in contexts that suggest different intentions, such as drinking and cleaning (Iacoboni, Molnar-Szakacs, Gallese, Buccino, Mazziotta, & Rizzolatti, 2005). Information about intentions, however, may be conveyed also by the grasping action itself: for instance, people typically drink by grasping the handle of a cup with a precision grip. In this fMRI experiment, subjects watched precision grips and whole-hand prehensions embedded in a drinking or an eating context. Indeed, in the right inferior frontal mirror neuron area there was higher activity for observed precision grips in the drinking context. Signal changes in the right inferior frontal mirror neuron area were also significantly correlated with scores on Empathic Concern subscale of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a measure of emotional empathy. These data suggest that human mirror neuron areas use both contextual and grasping type information to predict the intentions of others. They also suggest that mirror neuron activity is strongly linked to social competence.
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Available from: Anouk van der Weiden
- "Specifically, overlapping brain areas (including the mirror neuron network and the limbic system) are activated when imitating or merely observing facial expressions (Carr et al., 2003; Molenberghs et al., 2012). Also, mirror neuron activity has been related to emotional empathy, indicating that mirror neurons play a key role in the understanding of other people's emotions (Kaplan and Iacoboni, 2006). Thus, the mirror neuron system is essential and fundamental for social interaction where people have to coordinate their behavior with others and anticipate and integrate the behavioral and emotional consequences of their own and others' actions (see also Sobhani et al., 2012). "
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ABSTRACT: Difficulties in self-other processing lie at the core of schizophrenia and pose a problem for patients' daily social functioning. In the present selective review, we provide a framework for understanding self-other integration and distinction, and impairments herein in schizophrenia. For this purpose, we discuss classic motor prediction models in relation to mirror neuron functioning, theory of mind, mimicry, self-awareness, and self-agency phenomena. Importantly, we also discuss the role of more recent cognitive expectation models in these phenomena, and argue that these cognitive models form an essential contribution to our understanding of self-other integration and distinction. In doing so, we bring together different lines of research and connect findings from social psychology, affective neuropsychology, and psychiatry to further our understanding of when and how people integrate versus distinguish self and other, and how this goes wrong in schizophrenia patients.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.09.004 · 8.80 Impact Factor
Available from: Lelia Samson
- "People perceive and interpret the feelings and actions of others through the perspective of their own actions, developing complex understanding known as social cognition (McGovern, 2007). Many argue that the ability to empathize is based on the activation of mirror neurons (Dapretto et al., 2006; Iacoboni, 2009; Kaplan & Iacoboni, 2006). Those with a high ability to empathize show strong activation of these cortical areas during social emotional interaction, especially when observing the pain of others ( Jackson, Brunet, Meltzoff, & Decety, 2006). "
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ABSTRACT: This article examines individual variability in empathizing and systemizing abilities (Baron-Cohen, 2003, 2009) on emotional responses to mediated violence. It is predicted that these abilities influence feelings of distress and enjoyment while processing violent media and that they interact with the motives for aggressive behavior—whether the violence was justified or not. Psychophysiological measures of negative and positive valence activation and arousal were recorded for 90 participants while they were exposed to fourteen full-motion film clips that contained violence that was either justified or not by the narrative. Results show unjustified content led to greater physiological arousal and greater negative valence activation overall and to a significantly greater extent in highly empathetic viewers. Advantages of employing the empathizing—systemizing theory to mediated violence research are discussed.
Media Psychology 09/2015; DOI:10.1080/15213269.2015.1037959 · 1.40 Impact Factor
Available from: Vivien Ainley
- "Our third measure was also designed to assess affect sharing, reflecting the proposition that people understand and interpret emotional facial expressions by automatically simulating (i.e., by empathizing with) the observed expression (Preston and de Waal, 2002; Kaplan and Iacoboni, 2006). Although this 'simulation account' has been disputed (Gallese and Sinigaglia, 2011), it implies that people with high IA, who experience their own emotions more strongly, are likely to perform well when recognizing facial expressions in the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' test (Baron- Cohen et al., 2001). "
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ABSTRACT: Interoception, defined as afferent information arising from within the body, is the basis of all emotional experience and underpins the 'self.' However, people vary in the extent to which interoceptive signals reach awareness. This trait modulates both their experience of emotion and their ability to distinguish 'self' from 'other' in multisensory contexts. The experience of emotion and the degree of self/other distinction or overlap are similarly fundamental to empathy, which is an umbrella term comprising affect sharing, empathic concern and perspective-taking (PT). A link has therefore often been assumed between interoceptive awareness (IA) and empathy despite a lack of clear evidence. To test the hypothesis that individual differences in both traits should correlate, we measured IA in four experiments, using a well-validated heartbeat perception task, and compared this with scores on several tests that relate to various aspects of empathy. We firstly measured scores on the Index of Interpersonal Reactivity and secondly on the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy. Thirdly, because the 'simulationist' account assumes that affect sharing is involved in recognizing emotion, we employed the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task' for the recognition of facial expressions. Contrary to expectation, we found no significant relationships between IA and any aspect of these measures. This striking lack of direct links has important consequences for hypotheses about the extent to which empathy is necessarily embodied. Finally, to assess cognitive PT ability, which specifically requires self/other distinction, we used the 'Director Task' but found no relationship. We conclude that the abilities that make up empathy are potentially related to IA in a variety of conflicting ways, such that a direct association between IA and various components of empathy has yet to be established.
Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 06. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00554 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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