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What's So Special about Mirror Neurons?

In the early 1990s, a team of neuroscientists at the University of Parma made a surprising discovery: Certain groups of neurons in the brains of macaque monkeys fired not only when a monkey performed an action – grabbing an apple out of a box, for instance – but also when the monkey watched someone else performing that action; and even when the monkey heard someone performing the action in another room.In short, even though these “mirror neurons” were part of the brain's motor system, they seemed to be correlated not with specific movements, but with specific goals.Over the next few decades, this “action understanding” theory of mirror neurons blossomed into a wide range of promising speculations...

November 6, 2012 — Ben Thomas

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