From: U.S. News & World Report

The Role of Mirror Neurons in Human Behavior

U.S. News & World Report:

We are all familiar with the phrase “monkey see, monkey do”—but have we actually thought about what it means? Over the last two decades, neuroscience research has been investigating whether this popular saying has a real basis in human behavior.

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Over twenty years ago, a team of scientists, led by Giacomo Rizzolatti at the University of Parma, discovered special brain cells, called mirror neurons, in monkeys. These cells appeared to be activated both when the monkey did something itself and when the monkey simply watched another monkey do the same thing.

The function of such mirror neurons in humans has since become a hot topic. In the latest issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a team of distinguished researchers debate whether the mirror neuron system is involved in such diverse processes as understanding speech, understanding the meaning of other people’s actions, and understanding other people’s minds.

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Possibly the mirror neurons do exist in human brain for the manners exhibited over the times are indicative for sure. It is also observed that “monkey see, monkey do” character is more prominent in childhood as compared to the adults. This may be because children are more impressionable while the logical and argumentative traits are much developed in the adults. It could also be that with growing age mirror neurons activity is lowered due to various social, environmental and evolutionary factors influencing individuals during their journey through adulthood.

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