Weekly Brain Video: Mirror Neurons

Mirror Neurons are a relatively new discovery, and are being touted by many as one of the most important discoveries in the last decade of neuroscience. There was a lot of media attention on these buggers last year, primarily because of what they indicate fundamentally about human social interaction.

Essentially, Mirror Neurons are built to respond to actions that we observe in others. The interesting part is that mirror neurons fire in the same way when we actually recreate that action ourselves! For example, if you move your arm up and down groups of motor neurons in the brain will fire. But, if you observe someone moving their arm, many of those same neurons will fire in the same way!

Now, if you have read the documentation of our Neuro-Programmer product, you might not be too surprised by this. One of the fundamental concepts behind the program is that neural responses to observed or imagined actions will be similar to the brain activity of actual events, and this is one of primary reasons why creative visualization is so effective. In a sense, mirror neurons have been known about and studied for a very long time. Ask any professional athletic coach about visualization and you’ll hear all about it. Ask anyone who feels like they can perform huge feats of kung fu after a Bruce Lee movie. Ask me why I can’t bear to watch the particularly embarrassing scenes from The Office.

But, it is great to see analysis going into the exact neurology behind this brain phenomenon. And not only that, but it is giving us valuable insight into brain disorders. Defective Mirror Neurons are now thought to play a role in Autism, since many Autistic individuals often have perfectly functioning brains, but seem to struggle in social situations.

Mirror Neurons are also helping to explain how humans interact, and are showing empathy to be a much more powerful and pronounced neurological process than previously thought. On a related note, in EEG tests mirror neuron responses seem to be stronger in women than in men. 😉

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Also, here is a link to another video on Mirror Neurons and Autism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8WV1zAh9zU

 

One Comment to “Weekly Brain Video: Mirror Neurons”

  1. Adam 17 April 2007 at 10:08 am #

    An interesting 5 part series on Mirror Neurons from MIND TWEAKS, starting here: http://www.mindtweaks.com/wordpress/?p=152


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