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Caroline Wright's picture

Mirron Neurons

This rememnded me a lot of an article I read in Scientific America about Mirror Neurons.  As early as 10 years ago scientists thought that understanding and recognizing another person's action was attributed to a very rapid internal rationalizing process. This would mean that when I see my friend picks up a french fry and eats it, a part of my brain very quickly thinks about each of these movements and interprets them using past knowledge and experience to understand what I was seeing. However, recently this view has changed due to mirror neurons. These neurons have been found to fire when a person does a repeated, intentional action, something like reaching for something. These same neurons have been found to fire when a person is watching someone else do one of these familiar actions. So instead of having a bunch of internal reasoning processes every time that we see somehting happening in front of us, these neurons speed up to process. One of the most intesting things that this article talked about was that in testing a related idea on chimps, scientists found that during the experiment these mirror fired when the scientists themselves made any of these familiar movements. It is very curious to me to think about the possibilities and boundaries of the neural similarities between humans and primates.


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