, Volume 210, Issue 5-6, pp 419-421
Date: 13 Oct 2005

The mirror neuron system and its function in humans

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Mirror neurons are a particular type of neurons that discharge when an individual performs an action, as well as when he/she observes a similar action done by another individual. Mirror neurons have been described originally in the premotor cortex (area F5) of the monkey. Subsequent studies have shown that they are present also in the monkey inferior parietal lobule (Rizzolatti et al. 2001).

In the human brain, evidence for mirror neurons is indirect, but, although there is no single-neuron study showing the existence of mirror neurons, functional imaging studies revealed activation of the likely homologue of monkey area F5 (area 44 and the adjacent ventral area 6) during action observation (see Rizzolatti and Craighero 2004). Furthermore, magnetoencephalography (Hari et al. 1998) and EEG (Cochin et al. 1999) have shown activation of motor cortex during observation of finger movements. Very recently, alpha rhythm desynchronization in functionally delimited language and hand motor areas ...