The functional role of the parieto-frontal mirror circuit: interpretations and misinterpretations

  title={The functional role of the parieto-frontal mirror circuit: interpretations and misinterpretations},
  author={Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia},
  journal={Nature Reviews Neuroscience},
The parieto-frontal cortical circuit that is active during action observation is the circuit with mirror properties that has been most extensively studied. Yet, there remains controversy on its role in social cognition and its contribution to understanding the actions and intentions of other individuals. Recent studies in monkeys and humans have shed light on what the parieto-frontal cortical circuit encodes and its possible functional relevance for cognition. We conclude that, although there… 

A second-person approach to other minds

It is unclear how activity in the parieto-frontal cortex and the mentalizing network during action observation may be modulated by the degree to which human observers perceive themselves as participants of an ongoing interaction and by exposure to social interaction.

The lateral occipitotemporal cortex in action

The mirror mechanism in the parietal lobe.

The mirror mechanism: recent findings and perspectives

  • G. RizzolattiL. Fogassi
  • Biology, Psychology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
The role of the mirror mechanism in planning actions and in understanding the intention underlying the others’ motor acts is discussed and some human studies suggesting that motor intention in humans may rely, as in the monkey, on the mirror mechanisms are reviewed.

Role of the parietal cortex in predicting incoming actions

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.

Cortical Motor Organization, Mirror Neurons, and Embodied Language: An Evolutionary Perspective

There is evidence that the matching mechanism based on mirror neurons can be involved in both pho-nological recognition and retrieval of meaning, especially for action word categories, thus suggesting a contribution of an action–perception mechanism to the automatic comprehension of semantics.



Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions.

What Do Mirror Neurons Contribute to Human Social Cognition

It is argued that the activity of MNs in an observer ' s brain is enhanced by a prior representation of the agent ' s intention and that their task is to predictively compute the best motor command suitable to satisfy the agent ’ s intention.

Action outcomes are represented in human inferior frontoparietal cortex.

Evidence of suppressed responses in right inferior parietal and right inferior frontal cortex is reported when participants saw repeated movies showing the same action outcome, but these regions did not distinguish the kinematic parameters by which the action was accomplished.

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 in Action

Several authors have recently pointed out the hyper- mentalism of the standard mindreading models, arguing for the need of an embodied and enactive approach to social cognition. Various attempts to

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.

Grasping the Intentions of Others with One's Own Mirror Neuron System

Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that premotor mirror neuron areas—areas active during the execution and the observation of an action—previously thought to be involved only in action recognition are actually also involved in understanding the intentions of others.

Relationship between Activity in Human Primary Motor Cortex during Action Observation and the Mirror Neuron System

It is shown that when subjects were observing arm movements there was a significant modulation of beta oscillations overlying left and right sensorimotor cortices, driven by the side of the screen on which the observed movement occurred and not by the hand that was observed moving.