Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience / Edition 1

Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience / Edition 1

by Giacomo Rizzolatti, Corrado Sinigaglia
     
 

Emotions and actions are powerfully contagious; when we see someone laugh, cry, show disgust, or experience pain, in some sense, we share that emotion. When we see someone in distress, we share that distress. When we see a great actor, musician or sportsperson perform at the peak of their abilities, it can feel like we are experiencing just something of what they

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Overview

Emotions and actions are powerfully contagious; when we see someone laugh, cry, show disgust, or experience pain, in some sense, we share that emotion. When we see someone in distress, we share that distress. When we see a great actor, musician or sportsperson perform at the peak of their abilities, it can feel like we are experiencing just something of what they are experiencing. Yet only recently, with the discover of mirror neurons, has it become clear just how this powerful sharing of experience is realised within the human brain. This book provides, for the first time, a systematic overview of mirror neurons, written by the man who first discovered them.

In the early 1990's Giacomo Rizzolatti and his co-workers at the University of Parma discovered that some neurons had a surprising property. They responded not only when a subject performed a given action, but also when the subject observed someone else performing that same action. These results had a deep impact on cognitive neuroscience, leading the neuroscientist vs Ramachandran to predict that 'mirror neurons would do for psychology what DNA did for biology'. The unexpected properties of these neurons have not only attracted the attention of neuroscientists. Many sociologists, anthropologists, and even artists have been fascinated by mirror neurons. The director and playwright Peter Brook stated that mirror neurons throw new light on the mysterious link that is created each time actors take the stage and face their audience - the sight of a great actor performing activates in the brain of the observer the very same areas that are active in the performer - including both their actions and their emotions.

Written in a highly accessible style, that conveys something of the excitement of this groundbreaking theory, Mirrors in the Brain is the definitive account of one the major scientific discoveries of the past 50 years.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199217984
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/13/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 5.70(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

Giacomo Rizzolatti, one of the world's best-known neurophysiologist, is Full Professor of Human Physiology and Director of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Parma. He was the leader of the Parma team that discovered mirror neurons in the early 1990s. His studies on the cortical motor system and mirror neurons have been published in the most prestigious scientific journals (Science, Neuron, PNAS, PLoS, Brain. Trends in Neuroscience, etc.) and have had a deep impact on the cognitive sciences debate.
He is a member of Academia Europaea, of Accademia dei Lincei, and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the French Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of Fondation Fyssen. Among his major awards are the Golgi Prize for Physiology, the George Miller Award of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the Feltrinelli Prize for Medicine of Accademia dei Lincei. Born in Milan (1966), Corrado Sinigaglia is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Milan. For several years he studied phenomenology of perception and philosophy of action in Leuven, Paris and Cologne. He is also the author of papers on the history of sciences and mathematics, epistemology and foundations of probability. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the Italian Society of Logic and Philosophy of Science and of the "Piero Caldirola" International Center for the Promotion of Science.

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Table of Contents

1. The motor system

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