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Mirror Neurons

Psych 376 - Group Project

Victoria Chappell

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Mirror Neurons

Mirror Neurons: An In Depth Look What Are Some of Their Functions? A History of Mirror Neurons Clinical Aspects External Influences Discovery:
In the 1990s, Giacomo Rizzaloti and his team were experimenting with macaques in the region of the brain associated with planning and carrying out movements (posterior frontal lobe).
The researchers discovered that the same region of the brain that fired when the macaque reached for the peanut also fired when the researcher did. Social Aspects What About Humans? While difficult to study single neurons in the human brain, fMRIs have shown activity in parts of the brain when individual performs an action and when watching another person perform same action
Activity in two particular regions:
Inferior frontal cortex and superior parietal lobe While the neurons themselves do not have a unique role, they represent a mechanism that maps the description of actions carried out in higher order visual areas onto their motor counterpart Empathy
Activation when experiencing emotions and seeing another individual's emotions
Understanding intentions
Many studies link mirror neurons to understanding goals and intentions
Language (Broca's Area)
Associating the ability of children to vocally mirror non-words and acquire new word pronunciations Interpersonal:
-Teaches body language, facial expressions, and syntactic (acceptable) verbal expressions
Pertaining to Violence
Behavioral imitation and desensitization of violence through various sources E.g., Media (News) and Entertainment (Movies, video games, etc.) So What? Abnormalities found in the workings of the mirror system may lead to learning and speech disabilities "Human tendency makes us vulnerable to external influences"
-Marco Iacoboni References http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/in-brief/2012/cognition-and-behavior-mirror-neurons-age-normally-in-autism





http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050411204511.htm <-- article on autism


Scherder,Eric,"AgingandDementia:Neuropyschology, Motor Skills, and Pain".print.pg.143 Tell Me More UCLA’s Marco Iacoboni and others have put forth an idea called the "Broken Mirror Hypothesis” (pertaining to Autism) – that malfunctioning mirror neurons are most likely the reason for the lack of empathy and emotional dissociation found in severely autistic people. Marco Iacoboni: "True examples of dissociation between action understanding and action production are very rare." (credit: Marco Iacoboni) Their discovery led them to come up with the “action understanding” hypothesis – which is, that mirror neurons are the 'neural basis for our ability to understand others’ actions.' If this assertion it true, Iacoboni may be right in his assumption that we can treat autism and speech disorders through repairing and restoring the mirror neuron system. Mirror neurons also play an important role in learning.
By inducing mimicry they initiate the learning process in the amygdala. Chameleon Effect: The unconscious mimicry of other peoples' body language.
Example=baby sticks out tongue because parent does. New studies have characterized abnormal - as well as normal - mirror activity in the brains of children with the social communication disorder known as Autism So how does the dysfunction of the mirror system undermine the understanding of intentions and emotions of others? While exhibiting the same level of activation when executing actions...
People with Autism display LESS mirror neuron activity when observing others than non-autistic individuals Evidence of abnormal firing of mirror neurons "Together, these three areas form a "core circuit" for imitation." -Iacoboni Video games, Movies, and the News Like with any stimuli-recipient relationship, our mirror neurons can become desensitized to aspects of life such as violence by repeatedly being bombarded with images of tragic events through media.
This occurs when video games, the news, movies, and social media portray violence and aggression as mundane, thus decreasing our ability to empathize. Ramachandran has revolutionized the idea of "phantom limb amputation" via use of a mirror box Alzheimer's Studies suggest that mirror neurons specialized for foot movements in those with Alzheimer's can enhance a patient's ability to walk by activating imitation function. Combined use of ventrolateral pre-fromtal cortex and the supplementary motor aid in the preparation process of walking when given a cue like "Ready"
(contain motor neurons) Phantom Limbs & Mirror Neurons How does mirror therapy work?
Mirror neurons allow individuals to visualize themselves doing the actions of others
"Internally recognized experience"
In this way, an individual can visualize their own arm and "unclench" it However study in 2010 showed that activity of mirror neurons increased with age
This alludes to the idea that rather than abnormal circuitry, the development of the mirror system in Autistic individuals is slower http://www.bodyinmind.org/ramachandran-and-phantom-limb-pain/
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