Interaction effects in simultaneous motor control and movement perception tasks
Mirror neurons, located in the premotor cortex of macaque monkeys, are activated both by the performance and the passive observation of particular goal-directed actions. Although this property would seem to make them the ideal neural substrate for imitation, the puzzling fact is that monkeys simply do not imitate. Indeed, imitation appears to be a uniquely human ability. We are thus left with a fascinating question: if not imitation, what are mirror neurons for? Recent advances in the study of non-human primate social cognition suggest a surprising potential answer.