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The ontogenetic origins of mirror neurons: evidence from 'tool-use' and 'audiovisual' mirror neurons

Cook, R. (2012). The ontogenetic origins of mirror neurons: evidence from 'tool-use' and 'audiovisual' mirror neurons. BIOLOGY LETTERS, 8(5), pp. 856-859. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0192

Abstract

Since their discovery, mirror neurons - units in the macaque brain which discharge both during action observation and execution - have attracted considerable interest. Whether mirror neurons are an innate endowment or acquire their sensorimotor matching properties ontogenetically has been the subject of intense debate. It is still widely believed that these units are an innate trait; that we are born with a set of mature mirror neurons because their matching properties conveyed upon our ancestors an evolutionary advantage. However, an alternative view is that mirror neurons acquire their matching properties during ontogeny, through correlated experience of observing and performing actions. The present article reexamines frequently overlooked neurophysiological reports of ‘tool-use’ and ‘audiovisual’ mirror neurons within the context of this debate. It is argued that these findings represent compelling evidence that mirror neurons are a product of sensorimotor experience, and not an innate endowment

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY, EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, mirror neurons, associative learning, audiovisual mirror neurons, tool-use mirror neurons, PREMOTOR CORTEX, ACTION RECOGNITION, IMITATION, MOTOR, RESPONSES, ORGANIZATION, SIMULATION, SYSTEM, AREAS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4533
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