Mirror Neurons and More

Session Date: 
Oct 18, 2013

Mirror neurons were first discovered in the brain of macaque monkeys -- neurons active both when the monkey executed certain actions and when he observed others performing similar actions. Perhaps such neurons in humans could provide the key to linking our own experience to that of others. Postulating that mirror neurons existed in the last common ancestor of humans and macaques, we trace a path via facial expression and the learning of manual gestures by apes to human “theory of mind.” But, crucially, we stress that this path only makes sense if we look at “mirror neurons and more,” understanding how mirror neurons function only as part of much larger brain systems. Human social interaction is not just a matter of registering the current actions or expressions of the other. The talk will extend the mantra of “mirror neurons and more” to assess claims about the neural basis for “Theory of Mind.”

File 2013_10_18_008_Arbib.mp489.36 MB