A mirror up to nature

Center for Neural Science, New York University, 4 Washington Place, New York, New York 10003, USA.
Current Biology (Impact Factor: 9.92). 02/2008; 18(1):R13-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.11.004
Source: PubMed


Available from: Ilan Dinstein, Jun 11, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mirror neurons represent a population of neurons discovered by accident in the ventral premotor cortex of the macaca monkeys (Macaca nemistrina and Macaca mulatta), but a consensus is yet to be made on whether they exist in the human brain because of several technical and bioethical difficulties in mirror neuron research on human subjects. Mirror neurons are characterized by activation during an execution, but also during an observation of an action performed by another individual. Electrophysiological patterns of brain function mirror those of an actual execution of the action. Potential roles of mirror neurons include a wide spectrum of cognitive and emotional actions and processes such as the understanding of meaning and intention of an observed action, learning by imitation, empathy, forming of the “mind theory”, as well as language learning and comprehension. Its potential role in empathy is especially interesting. Due to the significant role of empathy dysfunction in the basis of antisocial personality disorder and the disorders of the autistic spectrum, it was intuitively hypothesized that mirror neurons might have a role in the pathophysiology of these disorders. Current research have yet to give adequate support for such hypotheses.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Speech is commonly claimed to relate to mirror neurons because of the alluring surface analogy of mirror neurons to the Motor Theory of speech perception, which posits that perception and production draw upon common motor-articulatory representations. We argue that the analogy fails and highlight examples of systems-level developmental approaches that have been more fruitful in revealing perception-production associations.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 04/2014; 37(2):204-5. DOI:10.1017/S0140525X13002331 · 14.96 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: I argue that Cook et al.'s attack of the genetic hypothesis of mirror neurons misses its target because the authors miss the point that genetics may specify how neurons may learn, not what they learn. Paying more attention to recent work linking mirror neurons to language acquisition and evolution would strengthen Cook et al.'s arguments against a rigid genetic hypothesis.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 04/2014; 37(2):192-3. DOI:10.1017/S0140525X13002203 · 14.96 Impact Factor