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kenglander's picture

mirror, mirror

The I-function seems to be a very interesting and appealing theory concerning the perception of self. I’d be curious to investigate to what extent the I-function is localized in the brain and how that affects its functionality. I know that some neurons have been identified in different regions of the cortex that are called mirror neurons, and I’d like to know their relationship to the theorized I-function as well. (Mirror neurons are clusters of neurons that have been shown to activate strongly when a subject is watching another subject—especially when the observed subject is in pain or showing discomfort. They are thought to be critical in understanding empathy and emotional processing). Given these findings, how do our brains recognize boundaries between self and the environment? Is it possible to have an unclear border or blending between self and other, for example that would bring in to play the relevance of mirror neurons?
Another topic that is important to address is the concept of emotions. I don’t know much about research being done in this area, but from a behavioral point of view it seems that actions are not caused by emotions, but rather that emotions influence actions. In other words, there’s no one way to act happy or sad or angry or scared. Rather, simultaneous actions occur while a person is in a particular emotional state. Perhaps a new summary of observations could be that emotional boxes are interconnected with boxes that mediate action and that these connections strengthen or die out over time as we assess how successfully our actions manipulated the environment.

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