Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Mirror Neuron System

  • Giovanni Buccino
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1603

Related Terms

 Mirror neuron mechanism(s);  Mirror neurons

Mirror neurons are a set of sensorimotor neurons, discovered almost 20 years ago in a sector of the monkey premotor cortex, known as area F5. These neurons have both motor and visual properties: they discharge when the monkey performs a specific object-directed action (e.g., grasping an object, holding it, manipulating it) but also when it observes another individual, a conspecific or an experimenter, performing the same or a similar action (Rizzolatti and Craighero 2004). Until some years ago, in the monkey, only mirror neurons responding during the execution and observation of hand object–directed actions were known (Gallese et al. 1996). More recently, mouth actions–related mirror neurons have been found. These neurons discharge during the execution of active ingestion actions of the monkey (mouth grasping of food, chewing, sucking, and so on). As for visual properties, most of them respond during the observation of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical and Surgical SciencesViale Europa, Loc Germaneto, Magna Graecia UniversityCatanzaroItaly