Monday, July 10, 2006

Mirror neurons

We had a pretty detailed article on mirror neurons back in March (here).

The research discussed there is hardly the last word, of course. Now it is reported that infants less than a year old begin to anticipate the actions of others at just about the point where they are capable of the actions themselves -- probably courtesy of mirror neurons.

Toddlers Anticipate Actions As Well As Adults
Terje Falck-Ytter and his colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden tested the responses of 11 babies, 11 toddlers and 11 adults when watching nine identical videos of an actor's hand placing three toys into a bucket. Both adults and toddlers moved their eyes to the bucket before the hand finished its motion and did so in roughly the same amount of time. The babies, however, did not shift their eyes until the hand had reached the bucket.

Similar trials with mechanical motion or toys moving without a hand did not result in either adults, infants or babies looking ahead, leading the team to speculate that the mirror neuron system might be responsible for the ability. This system, first discovered in macaque monkeys, allows primates to map the actions of others in the same areas of the brain that would be activated if they undertook the action themselves.


Additional references:

Predicting actions starts young - UPI

Mind Reading Is Child's Play - ScienceNow (subscription rqd)


Tags: ,

Labels: ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Post a Comment

<< Home