The mirror mechanism: a basic principle of brain function

  title={The mirror mechanism: a basic principle of brain function},
  author={Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia},
  journal={Nature Reviews Neuroscience},
The mirror mechanism is a basic brain mechanism that transforms sensory representations of others' behaviour into one's own motor or visceromotor representations concerning that behaviour. According to its location in the brain, it may fulfil a range of cognitive functions, including action and emotion understanding. In each case, it may enable a route to knowledge of others' behaviour, which mainly depends on one's own motor or visceromotor representations. 
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It is now generally accepted that the motor system is not purely dedicated to the control of behavior, but also has cognitive functions. Mirror neurons have provided a new perspective on how sensory
Brain and Mind
The evolution of the human brain with reference to the extended mind hypothesis is discussed, in which tools and objects are crucial for the cognitive processes and the social environment.
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This chapter discusses how the study of action perception may effectively be enriched by applying core principles of motor control and presents evidences in favour of a modular control strategy in action observation.
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Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the understanding and imitation of action
Evidence for the existence of a system, the 'mirror system', that seems to serve this mapping function in primates and humans is discussed, and its implications for the understanding and imitation of action are explored.
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This Review focuses the limelight of social neuroscience on a different set of brain regions: the somatosensory cortices, which have anatomical connections that enable them to have a role in visual and auditory social perception.
Cortical mechanisms underlying the organization of goal-directed actions and mirror neuron-based action understanding.
A review of the anatomical and functional organization of the premotor and parietal areas of monkeys and humans shows that the parietal and frontal areas form circuits devoted to specific motor functions and how a specific neural mechanism is involved in understanding the action and intention of others.
One's motor performance predictably modulates the understanding of others' actions through adaptation of premotor visuo-motor neurons.
It is shown that controlled manipulation of the firing properties of this neural population produces strong predictable changes in the way the authors categorize others' actions, which are exquisitely consistent in humans with the existence of premotor mirror neurons that have access to the action meaning.
The functional role of the parieto-frontal mirror circuit: interpretations and misinterpretations
It is concluded that, although there are several mechanisms through which one can understand the behaviour of other individuals, the parieto-frontal mechanism is the only one that allows an individual to understand the action of others 'from the inside' and gives the observer a first-person grasp of the motor goals and intentions of other Individuals.
The representing brain: Neural correlates of motor intention and imagery
  • M. Jeannerod
  • Psychology, Biology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1994
A mechanism is proposed that is able to encode the desired goal of the action and is applicable to different levels of representational organization, as well as investigating the role of posterior parietal and premotor cortical areas in schema instantiation.
Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions.