Friday, March 29, 2013

Mirror Neurons - They Change Everything

Blow your mind in the seven minutes and forty-four seconds:



You just watched V.S. Ramachandran, Director for the Center of Brain and Cognition at the University of California Sand Diego, cross the mind/brain barrier in his description of mirror neurons.  These neurons, a subset of the command neurons in the frontal cortex, are the neurobiological basis for imitation, culture and empathy.  What we see another do or feel causes mirror neurons in our own brains to fire, so that we understand or feel the same.

This week's blogpost is published late because I kept trying to explain what mirror neurons explain.  They explain everything.

They explain why rich people are not as generous as poor people.  (That may get its own post soon.)  They explain why religious people give more than nonreligious people, more time, more money, more blood.  (My source for that one is sociological, not neurobiological.  So I may not blog it, though mirror neurons would explain it.)  They explain why people who own guns are more afraid than people who do not, and why people who watch tv overestimate the crime rate.  They explain pornography.  They explain Congress.


Mirror neurons also explain why poor people are generous, and so are certain rich people, how children learn to volunteer, why you should let them have that puppy, and whether they will visit you in your old age.

Whether the world goes to hell in a handbasket or not, mirror neurons will explain how.

Oh yes, and mirror neurons explain what interests Dr. Ramachandran, the development of language, use of tools and culture.

Not to mention that mirror neurons are a piece of the revival of Lamarckian evolution.  But that is moving you way far afield.

Obviously, I just have to stop.  They change everything.

flair from Facebook.com

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