Mirror Neurons - Different Types
Researchers have identified three types of mirror neurons that respond to stimuli - 1) in reaching distance, 2) outside of reaching distance, and 3) both distances.
Mirror neurons, an intriguing class of brain cells thought to enable us to mimic othersâ€™ movements and perhaps learn to speak, may come in three distinct types, which researchers suggest could help explain the brainâ€™s basis for intent and cooperation. Discovered in monkeys 11 years ago, mirror neuronsâ€”brain cells that become active both when relaying signals for carrying out a specific action and when observing that action being performed by othersâ€”have now been directly observed in humans, researchers at the meeting said. In one recent study, Peter Their and colleagues at TÃ¼bingen University in Germany observed three distinct classes of these cells in monkeys. Theirâ€™s team recorded single-cell activity in mirror neurons while the animals observed and performed actions. The first neuron class fired only when the action occurred within the monkeyâ€™s reaching distance (regardless of whether the action was performed or merely observed by the monkey). The second class fired only when the action was performed in â€œextrapersonalâ€ space, beyond the monkeyâ€™s reach. The third class responded in both cases. â€œMirror neurons are moderated by â€¦ where the action takes place,â€ researcher Antonio Casile said. He went on to speculate, â€œMaybe they cover three possible cognitive roles. In particular, mirror neurons that respond only to interpersonal space might be for â€¦ actions that the monkey can modify.â€ The neurons that fired when an action was performed outside of the monkeyâ€™s reach may stem from â€œa primitive system for recognizing the actions of others,â€ Casile added. Their suggested that the proximity-specific activity might figure into the brainâ€™s understanding of the intentions of others and cooperative behavior.
mirror, neuron, cell, space, interpersonal, extrapersonal, reaching, distance, proximity
- ID: 1287
- Source: DNALC.G2C
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