The discovery of mirror neurons
June 8, 2000 11:38 AM   Subscribe

The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of monkeys, and their potential relevance to human brain evolution — which I speculate on in this essay — is the single most important "unreported" (or at least, unpublicized) story of the decade. I predict that mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology: they will provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments.

--V.S. Ramachandran

(after you read the essay, you might be interested in the responses.)
posted by grumblebee (1 comment total)
One of the things I'm looking at from a cultural perspective is those periods in which the classical model of imitation gets challenged: it's normally in relation to fairly significant paradigm shifts in the description and treatment of mental illness: the "nervous body" of the mid-1700s, or the psychiatric revolution of the post-WWII era.

Now there's a neuroscientific backstory, showing that the border territory between mimicry and identification, between sympathy and empathy, is well worth exploring.
posted by holgate at 12:17 PM on June 8, 2000

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