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Mirror neurons, often cited but by few studied in depth. We talk about it when we want to explain feelings of empathy or the children learning process and animals but mirror neurons are at the center of many other phenomena.
Mirror neurons: what they are
It is thanks to mirror neurons that we often manage to understand immediately something about the behavior of others. I'm motor nerve cells that, when we see a gesture made by another, they resonate in our brain as if we were the first person to make that same gesture.
Those who have studied these cells largely believe that they are i responsible for our ability to have a quick view of what is happening around us and also to empathize with those around us. Even learning by imitation is explained by mirror neurons.
Without mirror neurons it would certainly be a big problem but they are not the only protagonists in our body there are other mechanisms which intervene as the logical-inferential one.
Mirror neurons and emotions
When we observe a person who is obviously going through a certain emotional state, then these neurons perceive this and are activated making us try something similar. They mirror the emotions we observe, replicating them in us, so they allow us to enter in empathy with each other.
What happens between these cells and our emotions is very important and has led to a revolution in the various psychological theories, still today there are various lines of thought, experiments in progress and people who do not get tired of explore our mind and its secret processes.
Mirror neurons and autism
There are those who believe that mirror neurons can explain at least partially from the biological point of view, some forms of autism, such as, for example, the Asperger's syndrome. There are experiments on this, already conducted, which would confirm that in subjects with this syndrome, mirror neurons function in a reduced way.
There is also other strong evidence that these cells they influence the way in which, beyond the forms of autism, each of us interacts with the others. Imitating, understanding, listening, perceiving the other.
Mirror neurons: psychology
Lot of psychological phenomena are explained "Bringing into play" the action of mirror neurons which are also the basis for the dissemination of knowledge and learning processes for human beings. To distinguish us from other non-human primates would be precisely the learning mechanism by imitation which is based on mirror neurons.
Putting a baby and a monkey next to you, you can see well the difference in the speed of imitation and therefore learning. The difference also lies in the fact that usually for monkeys it is emulation, for the little ones of human being, learning.
Mirror neurons and language
Both in primates and in humans there are some areas of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex and the lower parietal areas, which are associated with movement and perception and are the center of language. Mirror neurons are very present in these areas and play a leading role.
Mirror neurons: book
In the book "I know what you do. The acting brain and mirror neurons", Also available on Amazon for 19 euros, Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia explain how these well-known neurons act by influencing us in everyday life, indeed, often guiding our actions and emotions. It is an excellent text not only for those who work in the sector but also for those who are curious and want to deepen the psychological aspect. If you are interested in how the brain works you may like our article on synapses
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