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More on Mirror Neurons
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Nova ScienceNOW has a 15-minute video segment on mirror neurons that builds on what we discovered at the Neuroesthetics Conference two weeks ago. Robert Krulwich, a delightfully wacko NPR reporter, makes the mirror neuron story come alive. He walks along Fifth Avenue, awkwardly balancing a stack of packages. The camera shows the faces of his fellow pedestrians reflecting his uncertainty and nervousness.

Mirror neurons fire when you do something; those same neurons also fire when you see that something done. That's why people get so wrapped up watching a football game: they feel what the players are feeling. The armchair quarterback is not just watching.

The same holds true for emotions. You show an emotion; my body picks it up and shares it. That's why we cry at movies.

Mirror neurons are the foundation for empathy. They are the way we learn to interpret emotions displayed by others. They must play a key role when we learn through observation. A baby's incentive for mimicking mom may come from sharing the experience. Instead of "monkey-see/monkey-do," it's "monkey-see, monkey-feel, monkey-do."


Blogger Donald Clark said...

Hi Jay,

Great article. Just a note that your link should read:


12:39 PM  

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