Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language

Maxim I. Stamenov | Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Vittorio Gallese | Università di Parma
ISBN 9789027251664 (Eur) | EUR 110.00
ISBN 9781588112422 (USA) | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027251626 (Eur) | EUR 72.00
ISBN 9781588112156 (USA) | USD 108.00
ISBN 9789027297082 | EUR 110.00/72.00*
| USD 165.00/108.00*
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The emergence of language, social intelligence, and tool development are what made homo sapiens sapiens differentiate itself from all other biological species in the world. The use of language and the management of social and instrumental skills imply an awareness of intention and the consideration that one faces another individual with an attitude analogical to that of one’s own. The metaphor of ‘mirror’ aptly comes to mind.

Recent investigations have shown that the human ability to ‘mirror’ other’s actions originates in the brain at a much deeper level than phenomenal awareness. A new class of neurons has been discovered in the premotor area of the monkey brain: ‘mirror neurons’. Quite remarkably, they are tuned to fire to the enaction as well as observation of specific classes of behavior: fine manual actions and actions performed by mouth. They become activated independent of the agent, be it the self or a third person whose action is observed. The activation in mirror neurons is automatic and binds the observation and enaction of some behavior by the self or by the observed other. The peculiar first-to-third-person ‘intersubjectivity’ of the performance of mirror neurons and their surprising complementarity to the functioning of strategic communicative face-to-face (first-to-second person) interaction may shed new light on the functional architecture of conscious vs. unconscious mental processes and the relationship between behavioral and communicative action in monkeys, primates, and humans.

The present volume discusses the nature of mirror neurons as presented by the research team of Prof. Giacomo Rizzolatti (University of Parma), who originally discovered them, and the implications to our understanding of the evolution of brain, mind and communicative interaction in non-human primates and man.(Series B)

[Advances in Consciousness Research, 42] 2002.  viii, 392 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Cited by

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Consciousness Research

Consciousness research


Evolution of language



Main BIC Subject

JMT: States of consciousness

Main BISAC Subject

PSY020000: PSYCHOLOGY / Neuropsychology
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ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2002074572 | Marc record