Mirror neurons: from discovery to autism

  title={Mirror neurons: from discovery to autism},
  author={Giacomo Rizzolatti and Maddalena Fabbri-Destro},
  journal={Experimental Brain Research},
a report on asurprising set of neurons that we (Giuseppe Di Pellegrino,Luciano Fadiga, Leonardo Fogassi, Vittorio Gallese) hadfound in the ventral premotor cortex of the monkey. Thefundamental characteristic of these neurons was that theydischarged both when the monkey performed a certainmotor act (e.g., grasping an object) and when it observedanother individual (monkey or human) performing that or asimilar motor act (Di Pellegrino et al. 1992). These neuronsare now known as mirror neurons (Fig… 

Mirror Neurons: Findings and Functions

Mirror neurons (MNs) are a set of premotor neurons that fire both during the performance of a motor action, and the observation of someone else performing the same action. Since their discovery, they

Mirror neurons

  • J. Marshall
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2014
Findings on macaques show that a “surprising new class” of neurons in a particular region of the premotor cortex of the macaque brain provide the basis for what became known as “action understanding” in macaques, allowing them to interpret the intentions or goals of the person or monkey whose actions they are observing.

깨진 거울인가 깨지지 않은 거울인가

The discovery of the mirror neuron system (MNS) is one of the most important neuroscientific achievements in the 20th century. Some researchers had reported that MNS dysfunction was discovered in

Mirror Neurons: Recognition, Interaction, Understanding

It is found that the same neurons fire when a monkey is doing an action as when the monkey is watching that same action being done, regardless of whether or not the monkey was doing or watching the action.

Mirroring in the Human Brain: Deciphering the Spatial-Temporal Patterns of the Human Mirror Neuron System

Electrocorticography is used to define activation patterns in sensorimotor, parietal and/or frontal neuronal populations, during a viewing and grasping task and provides novel evidence for 2 different populations of neurons: sites that were only active for viewing and grasped ("pure mirroring") and sites that could serve a more general attentional role.

Appendix: An Interview with Leonardo Fogassi*

In the 1980s, a group of researchers working on describing the organization of the brain’s motor cortex found that F5 neurons in the ventral premotor cortex play a role in transforming visual information about an object into motor acts, and are now known as canonical neurons.

Evolution of mirror systems: a simple mechanism for complex cognitive functions

This work proposes that mirror neurons serve a unitary form of sensorimotor recognition of others’ behavior, and suggests that MN systems may be more ancient and widespread than previously thought.

Action execution engages human mirror neuron system more than action observation

Current data support the claim that electroencephalographic μ suppression reflects mirror neuron activity in humans, similar to the pattern seen in monkeys.

A transcranial magnetic stimulation study of the effect of visual orientation on the putative human mirror neuron system

Although action observation was associated with increases in corticospinal excitability (reflecting putative human mirror neuron activity), there was no effect of visual perspective in the context of contemporary theories of mirror neuron ontogeny, including models concerning associative learning and evolutionary adaptation.

Single-neuron and genetic correlates of autistic behavior in macaque

A Japanese macaque that spontaneously exhibited autistic traits, namely, impaired social ability as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors, is reported on, along with single-neuron and genomic analyses that suggest a new, phenotype-to-genotype approach to studying mental disorders.



Language within our grasp

Understanding motor events: a neurophysiological study

It is reported here that many neurons of the rostral part of inferior premotor cortex of the monkey discharge during goal-directed hand movements such as grasping, holding, and tearing, which indicates that premotor neurons can retrieve movements not only on the basis of stimulus characteristics, but also on the based of the meaning of the observed actions.

Evidence of Mirror Neurons in Human Inferior Frontal Gyrus

To identify mirror neurons in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) of humans, a repetition suppression paradigm was used while measuring neural activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging and showed that in the IFG, responses were suppressed both when an executed action was followed by the same rather than a different observed action.

Parietal Lobe: From Action Organization to Intention Understanding

Inferior parietal lobule neurons were studied when monkeys performed motor acts embedded in different actions and when they observed similar acts done by an experimenter to allow the observer to understand the agent's intentions.

Mirror Neurons Differentially Encode the Peripersonal and Extrapersonal Space of Monkeys

In rhesus monkeys, the premotor cortex neurons activated by both the execution and the observation of motor acts (mirror neurons) are differentially modulated by the location in space of the observed motor acts relative to the monkey, with about half of them preferring either the monkey's peripersonal or extrapersonal space.

Mirror neurons and their clinical relevance

This Review discusses the relationship between mirror mechanism impairment and some core symptoms of autism, and outlines the theoretical principles of neurorehabilitation strategies based on the mirror mechanism, which are related to some features of the environmental dependency syndromes.

Mirror neurons and mirror systems in monkeys and humans.

Mirror neurons are a distinct class of neurons that transform specific sensory information into a motor format. Mirror neurons have been originally discovered in the premotor and parietal cortex of

Impairment of actions chains in autism and its possible role in intention understanding

It is proposed that high-functioning autistic children may understand the intentions of others cognitively but lack the mechanism for understanding them experientially, because of a functional impairment in typically developing children, whereas it is impaired in children with autism.

The mirror-neuron system.

A neurophysiological mechanism appears to play a fundamental role in both action understanding and imitation, and those properties specific to the human mirror-neuron system that might explain the human capacity to learn by imitation are stressed.