Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Mirror Neurons
http://j.mp/15MyV8j


Empathy and Mirror Neurons: PBS Nova (has transcripts)
This excellent video explains the scientific and physiological basis of Empathy
"Why do sports fans feel so emotionally invested in the game, reacting almost as if they were part of the game themselves? According to provocative discoveries in brain imaging, inside our heads we constantly "act out" and imitate whatever activity we're observing. As this video reveals, our so-called "mirror neurons" help us understand the actions of others and prime us to imitate what we see."


 




"Why do sports fans feel so emotionally invested in the game, reacting almost as if they were part of the game themselves? According to provocative discoveries in brain imaging, inside our heads we constantly "act out" and imitate whatever activity we're observing. As this video reveals, our so-called "mirror neurons" help us understand the actions of others and prime us to imitate what we see." Nova

 

Wikipedia Article on Mirror Neurons (Has an extensive listing about Mirror Neurons)
"A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting."

Facebook Mirror-Neuron Page
"Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic.
 

Article: Mirror Neuron Mechanism in primate brains
Scientific American - pdf
 

About Mirror Neurons
Mirror neurons as source of empathy, Story of boy with Aspergers Syndrome,
Interviews VS Ramachandra, Image of cheerleaders in mirrored room


"The evolutionary roots of human mirror neuron systems reach back millions of years, says Michael Arbib, director of the USC Brain Project, and author of "From Action to Language via the Mirror System." The evolution of language appears to be connected to the mirror-neuron-rich area of the brain associated with movements of the hands, he says, while the evolution of our empathic mirroring capabilities seems to be associated with regions of the brain governing movements in the face."

"Mirror neurons had an inconspicuous start, says Daniel Dennett, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and the author of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," and other books about evolution. "All evolutionary innovation begins with a mistake," he says. Some genetic mutation may have led to a misfiring set of neurons that enhanced hand-eye coordination. This "programming bug," as Dennett calls it, must have conveyed an advantage amplified by natural selection. And once simple mirror-neuron networks were established, he says, "they may well have played a big role in the evolution of empathy, and imitation, and social understanding."
 

Tracing the Origins of Human Empathy
Mirror neurons, yawning, mirroring, Frans de Waal, Kevin Ochsner, brain studies, identifying with certain groups.

 

Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti - THE DISCOVERY OF MIRROR NEURONS 
"Dr. Rizzolatti is an Italian Neurophysiologist and professor at the University of Parma in Italy. He discovered unique neurons in the frontal and premotor cortex while doing research on the neural representation of motor movements in monkeys. Unlike other motor neurons, these neurons not only fired when engaged in planning a motor movement, but also through the observation of a related movement in another person or other monkey."

 

Dr. Dan Siegel - On The Basis of Empathy - Mirror Neurons


 

 

Christian Keysers and Edwin Rutsch: The Empathic Brain - Chapter by Chapter Book Review

Christian Keysers is professor and group leader of the Social Brain Lab at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. The lab explores the biological nature and neuroscience of empathy.

Christian is author of 'The Empathic Brain: How the Discovery of Mirror Neurons Changes our Understanding of Human Nature'.


Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran talks about Mirror Neurons.

"in San Diego, Vilayanur Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UCSD, offers, "We used to say, metaphorically, that 'I can feel another's pain.' But now we know that my mirror neurons can literally feel your pain." "Mirror neurons dissolve the barrier between you and someone else," says Ramachandran. He calls them "Gandhi neurons.""

 


"Marco Iacoboni, M.D., Ph.D., discusses data on mirror neurons that suggest that their role in
 intersubjectivity may be more accurately described as allowing interdependence."
 

"Iacoboni's team at UCLA collaborated with Itzhak Fried, a neurosurgeon who was implanting electrodes into epileptic patients in an effort to find the origins of their seizures so they could be surgically treated. Once those electrodes were in place, and after patients gave permission, it was possible for Iacoboni to test individual human neurons for mirroring. He found mirror neurons in several parts of the human brain."

Marco Iacoboni is a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry at UCLA, where he directs the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. "We are hard-wired to feel what others experience as if it were happening to us," he says."
    - NPR  show To the Best of Our Knowledge has section on mirror neurons and empathy.
        It's in segment 3 and starts at the 42 minute mark
    -  Marco Iacoboni on Empathy and Fairness part 1
     - Marco Iacoboni on Empathy and Fairness part 2
 

"Alison Gopnik, a developmental psychologist at U.C. Berkeley's Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, flatly labels mirror neurons a myth. But her voice is drowned out by an academic chorus of mirror hosannahs. U.C. Berkeley critic Gopnik, the significance of mirror neurons "is blown way out of proportion." She says their power to explain consciousness, language and empathy "is just a metaphor.""