Marco Ìacobon| |s ancurolog|stand ncuroscicnt|st

orig|nally from Ìtaly. Currcntlyhc is at thc Lavid
Ccncn 5chool of Mcd|c|nc, LCL^, whcrc hc |s
d|rcctor ofthc Jranscran|al Magnct|c 5t|mulat|on
Laboratoryatthc^hmanson-LovclaccBra|nMap-
p|ng Ccntcr. Ì|s bra|n |mag|ng stud|cs havc p|o-
nccrcd thc |nvcst|gat|on of thc m|rror ncuron
systcm |n humans. Ìc l|vcs |n Los ^ngclcs, Cal|-
fom|a.
MIRRORING PEOPLE
MARCO IACOBONI
P1£8401
|81181, 5118u6 8D4 b110uX
N8w Y01X
MIRRORING PEOPLE. Copyright T2008, 2009 by Marco Iacoboni. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America. For information, address Picador, 175 Fifth
Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
www.picadorusa.com
Picador® is a U.S. registered trademark and is used by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
under license fom Pan Books Limited.
For information on Picador Reading Group Guides, please contact Picador.
E-mail: readinggroupguides@picadorusa.com
Figures of brain areas with mirror neurons in macaques and humans courtesy of
Sinauer Associated, Inc.
Desiged b Michelle McMillian
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-42838-9
ISBN-lO: 0-312-42838-3
First published in the United States by Farrar, Straus and Giroux as Miroring People:
The New Science of HcWe COnect with Others
First Picador Edition: July 2009
10 9 8 Ì ó 5 4 3 2
To my wife , Mirella, my daughter, Caterina,
and my parent, Rita an Antonio
Contents
One: Monkey See. Monkey Do
Neuro This! 3
Brain Surprises 8
The Fab Four 12
Mirrors in the Brain 21
I Know What You Are Doing 27
I Know What You Are Thinking 30
I Can Hear What You Are Doing 34
Mirroring Tool Use 38
I Know That You Are Copying Me 42
Two: Simon Says
Copycat Cells 47
Resonating Bodies 57
CON TEN TS
Do What I Say, Not What I Do 62
Harry Potter and Professor Snape 70
Getting a Grip on Other Minds 74
Three: Grasping Language
Do You See What I An Saying? 79
Hand to Mouth 84
From Brain Mapping to Brain Zapping 89
Body Heat 92
Chat Rooms 95
Mirroring Speech and Other Sounds 101
Four: See Me, Feel Me
Zidane's Head-Butt 106
Humans or Chameleons? 109
Empathic Mirrors 116
I Feel Your Pain 121
Materal Empathy 126
Five: Facing Yourself
Is It You or Is It Me? 130
The Mirror Recognition Test 135
Another Me 141
Zapping the Self 148
Two Sides of the Same Coin 154
X
CON TEN TS
Six: Broken Mirrors
Baby Mirrors 157
The Teen Brain 162
Imitation and Autism 168
The Mirror Neuron Hypothesis of Autism 172
Broken Mirroring 174
Fixing the Broken Mirrors 177
Seven: Super Mirrors and the Wired Brain
Dark Waves in the Brain 184
In the Depth of the Human Brain 192
The Jennifer Aniston Cell 196
In Search of Super Mirror Neurons 200
Eight: The Bad and the Ugly:
Violence and Drug Abuse
The Bad: The Controversy About Media Violence 204
Are We Autonomous Agents?
Mirror Neurons and Free Will 210
The Ugly: Addiction and Its Relapse After Quitting 214
Nine: Mirroring Wanting and Liking
The Neuroscience of Buying 219
The One-Nighter: "Instant Science" and the Super Bowl 228
Mirroring Ads 233
The Efects of Negative Ads 239

C O N TE N TS
Ten: Neuropolltlcs
Theories of Political Attitudes 244
Mirroring and the Political Junkie Brain 248
Brain Politics 254
Eleven: Existential Neuroscience and Society
Mirror Cells Between Us 259
The Problem of Intersubjectivity 262
A New Existentialism 266
Neuroscience and Society 268
Afterword 273
Notes 281
Acknowledgents 301
Inx 303
X¡¡
MIRRORING PEOPLE
Monkey See, Monkey Do
NE URO T HI S !
hcnwcgctr|ghtdownto |t,whatdowchumanbc|ngs
do a|| day |ong' Vc rea th worl, cspcc|a||y thc pco-
p|c wc cncountcr. My facc |n thc m|rror nrst th|ng |n thc
mom|ng docsn`t |ook toogood, but thc facc bcs|dcmc |n thc
m|rror tc||s mc that my |ovc|yw|fc |s onto a good starr. Cnc
g|ancc at my c|cvcn-ycar-o|d daughtcr at thc brcakfast tab|c
tc||s mc to trcad carcm||y and s|p my csprcsso |n s||cncc.
Vhcn a co¡|caguc rcachcs for a wrcnch |n thc |aboratory, Ì
know hc`s go|ng to work on thc magnct|c st|mu|at|on ma-
ch|nc, andhc`snotgo|ngtothrowh|stoo|aga|nstthcwa|||n
angcr.Vhcnanothcrco||cagucwa|ks |nw|thagr|norasm|rk
onhcrfacc÷thc ||nc canbc nnc |ndccd, thc product oft|ny
d|ncrcnccs |n thc way wc sct our facc musc|cs÷Ì automat|-
ca||yand a|most |nstantancous|y can d|sccrn wh|ch |t |s. Vc
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
a||makcdo:cns÷hundrcds÷ofsuchd|st|nct|onscvcryday. Ìt
|s,qu|tc||tcra||y, whatwcdo.
Þordo wcg|vc any ofth|sa sccond thought. Ìta|| sccms
so ord|nary. Ìowcvcr, |t |s actua||y cxtraord|nary÷and cx-
traord|nary that |t fcc|s ord|nary' Ìorccntur|cs, ph||osophcrs
scratchcdthc|rhcads ovcrhumans` ab|||ty toundcrstandonc
anothcr. Jhc|rbcfudd|cmcntwas rcasonab|c. thcyhad csscn-
t|a||y no sc|cncc to work w|th. Ìor thc past I 50ycars or so,
psycho|og|sts, cogn|t|vc sc|cnt|sts, and ncurosc|cnt|sts havc
hadsomc sc|cncc toworkw|th÷and |n thcpastnfty ycars, a
|ot ofsc|cncc÷andfora |ong t|mc thcy cont|nucd to scratch
thc¡r hcads. Þoonc cou|d bcg|n to cxp|a|nhow |t |s that wc
knowwhatothcrs arc do|ng, th|nk|ng, andfcc||ng.
Þowwc can.Vcach|cvcourvcrysubt|cundcrstand|ngof
othcr pcoplc thanks to ccrta|n co||cct|ons of spcc|a| cc||s |n
thc bra|n ca||cd m|rror ncurons. Jhcsc arc thc t|ny m|rac|cs
that gct us throughthc day. Jhcy arc at thc hcart ofhow wc
nav|gatc through our ||vcs. Jhcy b|nd us w|th cach othcr,
mcnta||yandcmot|ona||y.
Vhy do wc g|vc oursc|vcs ovcr to cmot|on dur|ng thc
carcfu||y craftcd, hcartrcnd|ng sccncs |n ccrta|n mov|cs ' Bc-
causcm|rrorncurons |nourbra|nsrc-crcatcforusthcd|strcss
wcscconthcscrccn.Vchavccmpathyfor thcnct|ona|char-
actcrs÷wc know how thcy`rc fcc||ng÷bccausc wc ||tcra||y
cxpcr|cncc thc samc fcc||ngs oursc|vcs. ^nd whcn wc watch
thcmov|c starsk|ss on-scrccn' 5omc ofthc cc||s nr|ng |nour
bra|n arc thc samc oncs that nrc whcn wc k|ss our |ovcrs.
"\|car|ous" |snota strong cnough word to dcscr|bc thc cncct
ofthcsc m|rrorncurons. Vhcnwc scc somconc c|sc suncr|ng
4
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
or|npa|n, m|rrorncuronshc|pustorcadhcrorh|sfac|a|cx-
prcss|onandactua||ymakcusfcc|thcsuncr|ngorthcpa|nof
thcothcrpcrson.Jhcscmomcnts, Ì w|||arguc,arcthcfoun-
dat|onofcmpathy and poss|b|y ofmora||ty, a mora||ty that |s
dccp|y rootcd |n our b|o|ogy. Lo you watch sports on tc|cv|-
s|on' Ìfso, you musthavcnot|ccdthc many "rcact|on shots"
|n thc stands. thc fan fro:cn w|th ant|c|pat|on, thc fan cc-
stat|covcrthcp|ay. ( Jh|s|s cspcc|a||ytrucfor bascba||broad-
casts, w|th a|| thc downt|mc bctwccn p|tchcs. ) Jhcsc shots
arc cncct|vc tclcv|s|onbccausc our m|rrorncurons makc surc
thatbyscc|ng thcsccmot|ons, wcshre thcm. Jo scc thc ath-
|ctcs pcrform |s to pcrformoursc|vcs. 5omc ofthc samc ncu-
rons that nrc whcn wc watch a p|aycr catch a ba|| a|so nrc
whcnwc catch a ba|| oursc|vcs. Ìt |s as |fbywatch|ng, wc arc
a|so p|ay|ngthcgamc. Vc undcrstand thc p|aycrs'act|onsbc-
causcwchavcatcmp|atc|nourbra|nsforthatact|on, atcm-
p|atc bascd on our own movcmcnts. 5|ncc d|ncrcnt act|ons
sharc s|m||ar movcmcnt propcrt|cs and act|vatc s|m||ar mus-
c|cs, wc don't havc to bc sk|||cd p|aycrs to "m|rror" thc ath-
|ctcs|nourbra|n.Jhcm|rrorncuronsofanon-tcnn|s-p|ay|ng
fanw|||nrcwhcnwatch|ngaprosmashanovcrhcad, bccausc
thcnon-tcnn|s-p|ay|ng fan has ccrta|n|y madc othcrk|nds of
ovcrhcad movcmcnts w|th h|s arm throughout h|s ||fc, thc
cqu|va|cnt ncurons of a fan such as mc, who a|so p|ays thc
gamc, w|||obv|ous|ybcact|vatcdmuchmorc strong|y. ^nd |f
Ì' mwatch|ngKogcrÌcdcrcr, Ì bct my m|rrorncurons mustbc
nr|ngw||d|y, bccausc Ì'm ab|gÌcdcrcrfan.
M|rror ncurons undoubtcd|y prov|dc, for thc nrst t|mc |n
h|story, a p|aus|blc ncurophys|o|og|ca| cxp|anat|on for com-
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
plcx forms ofsoc|al cogn|t|on and |ntcract|on. By hclp|ng us
rccogn|:c thc act|ons of othcr pcoplc, m|rror ncurons also
hclp us to rccogn|:c and undcrstand thc dccpcst mot|vcs bc-
h|nd thosc act|ons, thc |ntcnt|ons ofothcr |nd|v|duals. Jhc
cmp|r|cal study of |ntcnt|on has always bccn cons|dcrcd al-
most |mposs|blc, bccausc |ntcnt|onswcrc dccmcd too "mcn-
tal"tobcstud|cdw|thcmp|r|caltools.Ìowdowccvcnknow
that othcr pcoplc havc mcntal statcs s|m|lar to our own'
Ìh|losophcrshavc mullcd ovcr th|s "problcmofothcr m|nds"
for ccntur|cs, w|th vcry l|ttlc progrcss. Þow thcy havc somc
rcal sc|cncc to work w|th. Kcscarch on m|rror ncurons g|vcs
thcmandcvcryonc |ntcrcstcd |n how wcundcrstandonc an-
othcrsomcrcmarkablcfoodforthought.
Cons|dcr thc tcacup cxpcr|mcnt Ì drcamcd up somc ycars
back, wh|ch Ì' l| d|scuss |n cons|dcrablc dcta|l latcr. Jhc tcst
subj ccts arcshown thrccv|dco cl|ps |nvolv|ngthc samc s|m-
plcact|on.ahand grasp|ng a tcacup. Ìnonc, thcrc |snocon-
tcxtforthcact|on,j ustthchandandthccup. Ìnanothcr, thc
subj ccts scc a mcssy tablc, complctc w|th cook|c crumbs and
d|rtynapk|ns÷thc aftcrmathofatcaparty, clcarly. Jhc th|rd
v|dcoshows a ncatly organ|:cd tablctop, |n apparcnt prcpara-
t|onfor thc tcaparty. Ìnall thrcc v|dcocl|ps, a hand rcachcs
|n to p|ckup thc tcacup. Þoth|ngclschappcns, so thc grasp-
|ng act|on obscrvcd by thc subj ccts |n thc cxpcr|mcnt |s cx-
actlythcsamc.Jhconlyd|ncrcncc |sthccontcxt.
Lo m|rror ncurons |n thc bra|ns ofour subj ccts notc thc
d|ncrcncc |nthccontcxts 'Ycs. Vhcnthcsubj cct|sobscrv|ng
thc grasp|ng sccnc w|thno contcxt at all, m|rrorncurons arc
thc lcast act|vc. Jhcy arc morc act|vc whcn thc subj cct |s
Ó
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
watch|ng c|thcrofthc sccncs and most active whcn watch|ng
thcncatsccnc.Vhy'Bccauscdr|nk|ng|samuchmorcfunda-
mcnta| |ntcnt|on for us than |s c|can|ng up. Jhc tcacup cx-
pcr|mcnt |s now wc||known|nthcnc|d ofncurosc|cncc, but
|t |s not an |so|atcd rcsu|t. so||d cmp|r|ca| cv|dcncc suggcsts
thatourbra|nsarccapab|cofm|rror|ngthcdccpcstaspcctsof
thcm|ndsofothcrs÷|ntcnt|on|sdcnn|tc|yoncsuchaspcct-
at thc nnc-gra|ncd |cvcl of a single bain cell. Jh|s |s uttcr|y
rcmarkab|c. Lqua||y rcmarkab|c |s thc cnort|cssncss of th|s
s|mu|at|on. Vc do not havc to draw complcx |nfcrcnccs or
runcomp||catcda|gor|thms. Ìnstcad, wc uscm|rrorncurons.
Look|ngatthc |ssucfromanothcrpcrspcct|vc, |absaround
thc wor|d arc accumu|at|ng cv|dcncc that soc|a|defcits, such
as thosc assoc|atcdw|th aut|sm, may bcduc to apr|marydys­
function ofm|rror ncurons. Ì hypothcs|:c that m|rror ncurons
may a|so bc vcry |mportant |n |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc |nduccd by
mcd|a v|o|cncc, andwchavcprc||m|narycv|dcncc suggcst|ng
that m|rror ncurons arc |mportant |n var|ous forms ofsoc|a|
|dcnt|ncat|on, |nc|ud|ng"brand|ng"andam||at|onw|th a po-
||t|ca|party. Ìavc youhcard ofncurocth|cs, ncuromarkct|ng,
ncuropo||t|cs 'Youw||| |n thc ycars and dccadcs to comc, and
rcscarch |n thcsc nc|ds w||| bcrootcd, cxp||c|t|yorothcrw|sc,
|nthcfunct|ons ofm|rrorncurons.
Jh|s book tc||s thc story ofthc scrcnd|p|tous and ground-
brcak|ng d|scovcry ofth|s spcc|a| class ofbra|n ccl|s, thc rc-
markab|c advanccs |n thc nc|d |n j ust twcnty ycars, and thc
cxtrcmc|y c|cvcr cxpcr|mcnts now undcr way |n scvcral labs
around thc wor|d. _u|tc s|mp|y, Ì bc||cvc th|swork w||| forcc
us to rcth|nk rad|ca||y thc dccpcst aspccts ofour soc|a| rcla-
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
t|ons and ourvcrysc|vcs. 5omc ycars ago, anothcrrcscarchcr
suggcstcdthatthcd|scovcryofm|rrorncuronsprom|scd todo
for ncurosc|cncc what thc d|scovcryofLÞ^d|dforb|o|ogy.`
Jhat`s an cxtraord|nar||y bo|d statcmcnt, bccausc csscnt|a||y
cvcryth|ng|nb|o|ogycomcs back toLÞ^. Lccadcs |nthcfu-
turc, w||| cvcryth|ng |n ncurosc|cncc bc sccn as com|ngback
tom|rrorncurons '
B RA I N S URP RI S E S
Ìor nftccn ycars Ì havc ||vcd |n Los ^ngc|cs and workcd |n
my |aboratory at LCL^, but as my namc suggcsts, th|s story
shou|d r|ght|y bcg|n |n Ìta|y, and Ì`m happy to rcport that |t
rca||y docs÷spcc|nca||y, |n thc sma|| and bcaut|m| c|ty of
Ìarma, famousfor|ts fabu|ous food, part|cu|ar|y prosc|utto d|
Ìarma and Ìarmcsan chccsc, and for |ts mus|c. Þow wc can
add ncurosc|cncc to thc ||st ofÌarma`s wor|d-c|ass cxports, |t
was atthcun|vcrs|tyhcrcthatagroupofncurophys|o|og|sts,
|cd by my fr|cnd C|acomo K|::o|att|, nrst |dcnt|ncd m|rror
ncurons.
K|::o|att|andh|sco||cagucsworkw|thMacaca nemestna,
a spcc|cs of monkcy oftcn uscd |n ncurosc|cncc |abs wor|d-
w|dc. Jhcscmacaqucmonkcysarcvcrydoc||c an|ma|s, un||kc
thc|r morc famous rc|at|vcs, rhcsus monkcys, who arc h|gh|y
compct|t|vc a|pha-ma|c typcs ( cvcn thc fcma|cs ) . Kcscarch
on monkcys |n a |ab such as K|::o|att|`s |s prcd|catcd on |ts
|nfcrcnt|a|va|ucforundcrstand|ngthchumanbra|n,wh|ch|s
gcncra||y cons|dcrcd thc most comp|cx cnt|ty |n thc known
0
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
univcrsc, with goodrcason. Jhc human braincontains about
onchundrcdbi||ionncurons, cachofwhichcanmakccontact
with thousands, cvcn tcns of thousands, of othcr ncurons.
Jhcsc contacts, orsynapscs, arc thc mcans bywhichncurons
communicatc with onc anothcr, and thcir numbcr is stag-
gcring. Jhc distinguishing brain fcaturc in mamma|s is thc
ncocortcx, thc most rcccnt|y cvo|vcd ofour brain structurcs.
Þow hcrc`s thc kcy "infcrcntia|" point. thc macaquc brain
is on|y about onc-fourth as |argc as ours, and our ncocortcx
ismuch|argcrthanthcmacaquc`sncocortcx, butncuroanato-
mists typica||y agrcc that thc structurcs in thc ncocortcx of
macaqucs and humans corrcspond rc|ativc|y wc|| dcspitc
thcscdincrcnccs.
ÌnÌarma, thc Ki::o|attitcam`spcrtincntarcaofstudywas
anarcaofthcbrain|abc|cdÌ5, |ocatcd ina|argcrcgionca||cd
thc prcmotor cortcx÷that part of thc ncocortcx conccmcd
withp|anning, sc|ccting,andcxccuting actions. ^rcaÌ5 con-
tains mi||ions ofncurons that spccia|i:c in "coding" for onc
spccinc motorbchavior. actionsofthchand, inc|udinggrasp-
ing, ho|ding, tcaring, and, most fundamcnta| of a|l, bringing
obj ccts÷food÷tothcmouth.Ìorcvcrymacaquc,asforcvcry
primatc, thcscactionsarc as basic and csscntia|as thcycomc.
Vc Homo sapiens arc graspingand manipu|ating obj cctsfrom
thc momcnt wc fumb|c for thc snoo:c button on thc a|arm
c|ock unti| wc adj ust our pi||ows at bcdtimc, cightccn hours
|atcr. ^|| in a||, wc cach pcrform hundrcds, ifnot thousands,
ofgraspingactionscvcryday. Ìnfact, this isprccisclywhythc
Ki::o|atti tcam chosc arca Ì5 for thc c|oscst possib|c invcsti-
gation. ^|| ncuroscicntists want to undcrstand thc brain for
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
undcrstanding`ssakc, butwc a|sohavcancyconmorcpracti-
ca| goa|s, such as discovcrics that may cvcntua||y drivc ncw
trcatmcntsfordiscasc. Jhc discovcry ofthc ncurophysio|ogi-
ca|mcchanisms ofmotorcontro|ofthchandinthcmacaquc
cou|d cvcntua||y hc|p individua| humans with brain damagc
rccovcrat |castsomcdcgrccofhandfunction.
Jhrough |aborious cxpcrimcntation, thc Ki::o|atti tcam
had acquircd an imprcssivc undcrstanding of thc actions of
thcscmotorcc||sduringvarious"grasping"cxcrciscswith thc
monkcys. (Jhcy arc ca||cd motor cc||s bccausc thcy arc thc
nrst in thc scqucncc tIat contro|s thc musc|cs that movc
thc body. ) Jhcn onc day, about twcnty ycars ago, thc ncuro-
physio|ogist\ittorio Ca||csc was movingaroundthc |ab dur-
ing a |u|| in thc day`s cxpcrimcnt. ^ monkcy was sitting
quict|y in thc chair, waiting for hcr ncxt assignmcnt. 5ud-
dcn|y, j ust as \ittorio rcachcd for somcthing÷hc docs not
rcmcmbcr what÷hc hcard a burst ofactivity from thc com-
putcr that was conncctcd to thc c|cctrodcs that had bccn
surgica||y imp|antcd in thc monkcy`s brain. Jo thc incxpcri-
cnccdcar,thisactivitywou|dhovcsoundcd|ikc static, to thc
car of an cxpcrt ncuroscicntist, it signa|cd a dischargc from
thc pcrtincnt cc|| in arca Ì5. \ittorio immcdiatc|y thought
thc rcaction was strangc. Jhc monkcywasj ustsittingquict|y,
not intcnding to grasp anything, yct this ncuron am|iatcd
withthcgraspingactionhadnr
¿
dncvcrthc|css.
Cr so gocs onc story aboutthc hrst rccordcd obscrvation
of a mirror ncuron. ^nothcr invo|vcs onc of \ittorio`s co|-
|cagucs,LcoÌogassi, whopickcdupapcanutandtriggcrcdan
cxcitcd rcsponsc in Ì5. Yct anothcr crcdits \ittorio Ca||csc
¡ 0
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
andsomcicccrcam.Jhcrcarcothcrs, a||p|ausib|c, nonccon-
nrmcd. Ycars |atcr, whcn thc importancc of mirror ncurons
was c|car|y undcrstood, thc Ìarma co||cagucs wcnt back to
thcir|ab notcs, hoping toput togcthcra fair|yaccuratc timc-
|incofthcircar|icst obscrvations, butthcysimp|ycou|dn`tdo
it.Jhcyfoundrcfcrcnccsinthcir|abnotcsto"comp|cxvisua|
rcsponscs"ofthc monkcys` motorcc||s inarcaÌ5. 5uchnotcs
wcrc unc|car, bccausc thc scicntists did not know what to
makc ofthcir obscrvations at thc timc. Þcithcr they nor any
ncuroscicntist in thc wor|d cou|d havc imagincd that motor
cc||s cou|d nrc mcrc|y at thcperception ofsomcbody c|sc`s ac-
tions, with no motor action invo|vcd at a||. Ìn |ight ofboth
know|cdgc and thcory at thc timc, this madc abso|utc|y no
scnsc. Cc||s in thc monkcy brain that scnd signa|s to othcr
cc||s that arc anatomica||y conncctcd to musc|cs havc no
busincss nring whcn thc monkcy is comp|ctc|y sti||, hands in
|ap, watching somcbodyc|sc`s actions. ^ndyctthcydid.
Ìn thc cnd, it docs not mattcr much that thc "Lurcka' "
momcnt for mirror ncurons strctchcd ovcr a pcriod of
ycars.
ý
hat mattcrs is that thc tcam did soon grapp|c with
thc odd goings-on in thcir |aboratory. Jhcy had a hard timc
bc|icvingthcsc phcnomcnathcmsc|vcs, but in timc thcy a|so
scnscd that thc d¡scovcp, ifconnrmcd, cou|d bc potcnt¡al|y
groundbrcaking. Jhcywcrcright. Jwcntyycars aftcrthatnrst
rccording in thc |aboratory, a cascadc ofwc||-contro||cd cx-
pcr¡mcnts with monkcys and |atcr w¡th humans (dincrcnt
kinds of cxpcrimcnts, for thc most part; no nccd|cs inscrtcd
throughsku||s) havcconnrmcdthc rcmarkab|cphcnomcnon.
Jhc simp|c fact that a subsct ofthc cc||s in our brains÷thc
¡ ¡
M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
mirror ncurons÷nrc whcn an individua| kicks a socccr ba||,
sccs a ba|| bcing kickcd, hcars a ba|| bcing kickcd, and cvcn
j ust says or hcars thc word "kick" |cads to ama:ing consc-
qucnccsandncwundcrstandings.
T HE F A B FOUR
Vc nowknowthataboutZ0pcrccntofthc cc||s inarcaÌ5 of
thc macaquc brain arc mirror ncurons, o0 pcrccnt arc not.
Civcn thosc odds, thc group in Ìarma was bound to comc
across mirror ncurons sooncr or |atcr. Vhcn thcy did, thc
backgroundassumptionsnoton|yofthcir|abbut ofncurosci-
cntists around thc g|obc wcrc put to thc tcst. Ìn thc I ºo0s,
ncuroscicntists wcrc dccp|y invcstcd in thc paradigm that
hc|d that thc various functions imp|cmcntcd by thc brain-
macaquc orhuman÷wcrcconnncd to scparatc boxcs. Lndcr
thisparadigm,pcrccption ( sccingobj ccts,hcaringsounds,and
so on) and action (rcaching for a piccc offood, grasping it,
putting it in thc mouth) arc cntirc|y scparatc and indcpcn-
dcntofonc anothcr. ^ thirdmnction, cognition, issomchow
"inbctwccn"pcrccptionandactionanda||owsustop|anand
sc|cctourmotorbchavior,toattcndtospccincthingsthatarc
rc|cvant to us, to disrcgard cxtrancous mattcrs, to rcmcmbcr
namcs and cvcnts, and so on. Jhcsc thrcc broad|y construcd
functions wcrc typica||y assumcd to bc scparatc in thc brain.
Jhc paradigm rcncctcd thc j ustincd bias in scicncc for thc
most parsimonious cxp|anation of phcnomcna. Jo disscct a
comp|cx phcnomcnon into simp|cr c|cmcnts is a good prin-
¡ Z
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
cip|c for invcstigation. Ìt is sti|| thc dominant approach in
ncurophysio|ogy and ncuroscicncc, and in many spccia|i:cd
arcas ofrcscarch itworks wc||. Ìor instancc, rcscarchcrshavc
idcntincd ncuronsthatrcspondon|ytohori:onta| |incs inthc
visua| nc|d, whi|c othcrs codcforvcrtica| |incs.
Manybrain cc||s do sccm to bc high|y and narrow|y spc-
cia|i:cd.Jhcncuroscicntistwhoassumcs thar ncuronscanbc
so casi|y catcgori:cd, howcvcr÷with no crossing ovcr bc-
twccn pcrccption, action, and cognition÷may miss cntirc|y
( ordismissas anukc) ncurona|activitythatcodcswithmuch
morc comp|cxity, that rcnccts a brain that isdca|ingwith thc
wor|d in a much morc "ho|istic" fashion than prcvious|y un-
dcrstood. 5uch was thc casc with mirror ncurons. Jhc Ìarma
invcstigators, cachand cvcryoncofwhomwasasupcrb scicn-
tist, wcrc ncvcrthc|css unprcparcd for a motor ncuron that
wasa|soapcrccptionncuron.^no|dquipmakcsthispointin
gcncra| tcrms. "Ìrogrcss in scicncc procccds onc funcra| at a
timc. " Jhat is rathcr morbid and a|so a grcat cxaggcration,
butwca||knowthatitishardtogivcupthc o|dparadigm, to
thinkoutsidcthc box, tochangc÷andnotj ustinscicncc. Ìn-
dccd, quitc afcwycarswcrc rcquircdfor thcm ( and, by thcn,
othcr invcstigators around thc wor|d) to ngurc out thc "com-
p|cx visua| rcsponscs" rccordcd in thc |ab. Ìnitia||y, scicntists
wcrc not mcnta||y rcady to cha||cngc thc assumptions inhcr-
itcd from gcncrations of rcscarchcrs, thosc assumptions had
guidcd a |ot of productivc rcscarch. Morcovcr, no nndings
prior to that momcnt hadcontradictcdthc assumptions.´
Þow thcy did÷and in morc ways than onc. Luring thc
ycars of car|y work with mirror ncurons, thc Ki::o|atti tcam
¡
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
was a|souncovcring asctofcc||s inarcaÌ5 with anothcrfca-
turc for whichthcycou|dnot account. Jhcscwcrccc||s that
nrcd during grasping bchavior and a|so at thc vcry sight of
graspab|cobj ccts.Jhcywcrc |atcrca||cdcanonica|ncurons,a
bit ironica||y. Bothofthcsc pattcmsofncura|activitycontra-
dict thc o|d idca that action and pcrccption arc comp|ctc|y
indcpcndcntproccsscsconnncdto thcirscparatcboxcs inthc
brain. Ìn thc rca| wor|d, as it tums out, ncithcr thc monkcy
northc humancanobscrvc somconc c|sc pickingupan app|c
withouta|so invoking in thc brain thc motorp|ans ncccssary
to snatch that app|c thcmsc|vcs ( mirror ncuron activation) .
Likcwisc, ncitIcr thc monkcy nor thc human can cvcn |ook
at an app|c without a|so invoking thc motor p|ans ncccssary
to grab it (canonica| ncuron activation) . Ìn short, thc graap-
ing actions and motor p|ans ncccssary to obtain and cat a
picccoffruitarc inhcrcnt|y |inkcdtoourvcryunderstnding of
thcfruit.Jhcnringpattcmofbothmirrorandcanonica|ncu-
rons in arca Ì5 shows c|car|y that pcrccption and action arc
not scparatcd in thc brain. Jhcy arc simp|y two sidcs ofthc
samccoin, incxtricab|y|inkcdtocachothcr.
5omcofthccar|icstmacaquccxpcrimcntsinÌarma÷back
in thc I ºo0s, ycars bcforc thc pu::|ing cpisodcs that tumcd
outtomarkthc discovcry ofmirrorncurons÷supportcd thcsc
samc conc|usions about thc tight |ink bctwccn pcrccption
and action. ^t tIat timc, thc tcam conductcd a sct of cx-
pcrimcntsfocuscdnotonarcaÌ5 inthcmotorcortcx, buton
thc adjaccnt arca Ì1. Ìn arca Ì5, as wc havc sccn, thc cc||s
most rcadi|y nrc whi|c thc monkcy pcrforms actions with
thc hands. Þcurons in arca Ì5 a|so nrc whcn thc monkcy
¡
4
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
makcs mouth actions suchas biting, as wc||as facia| commu-
nicativc gcsturcs such as |ip smacking, which has a positivc
socia| mcaning in primatcs. ' Ìndccd, somc ncurons in Ìâ nrc
forhand actionsan formouth actions. Jhc nring pattcm of
thcsc ncurons is yct anothcr fcaturc that contradicts thosc
modc|s ofthc brain madc ofscparatc boxcs, withonc boxfor
thc hand and a scparatc onc for thc mouth. (Jhis is how an
cnginccr, Ì gucss,wou|dprobab|ybui|dabrain. ) Þcurons that
codcforbothhandandmouthactions, howcvcr, makcpcrfcct
scnsc to ho|istic intcrprctat¡ons of brain functions, in which
motor cc||s arc conccmcd with thc goal ofan action. Ìndccd,
thc handbrings thc food to thc mouth. Ìn arca Ì1, thc cc||s
nrc most|y whi|c thc monkcy movcs thc arm, thc ncck, and
thc facc. Jhat was,thc thinking, and thosc wcrc thc rcsu|tsof
thccxpcrimcntsbcforc thc discovcrythatthccc||sa|sonrc in
rcsponsc to scnsory stimu|ation a|onc, with no movcmcnt
homthcmonkcy.Morcovcr, thcyrcspondtostimu|ationon|y
from rca| obj ccts. 5imp|c |ights or shapcs proj cctcd on a
scrccn do not triggcr any dischargc from thcsc cc||s. ^|so,
thcy nrc on|y whcn thc obj ccts in qucstion arc quitc c|osc
to thc monkcy`s body, andthcyhrc morc strong|y whcn thc
obj ccts arc rapid|y approaching. ^nothcr pccu|iar fcaturc of
thcsc cc||s. thcy rcspond to a simp|c touching of thc facc,
ncck, orarm ofthc monkcy. Conc|usion. thc visua|rcccptivc
nc|d ( thatpartofthc surroundingspacc inwhichvisua|stim-
u|itriggcrthc nringofthc cc|| ) and thc tacti|crcccptivcnc|d
( that part ofthc body that, whcn touchcd, triggcrs thcnring
of thc cc||) arc rc|atcd in thcsc ncurons in arca Ì1. Jhcir
ama:ingrcsponscs suggcstthatthcyarccrcatingamapofthc
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
spaccsurroundingthcbody, whatwc ca||apcripcrsona|spacc
map. ^nd thcy a|so triggcr thc monkcy`s movcmcnt of thc
arm,say, inthatspacc. Jwovcrydincrcntfunctionsarc mani-
fcstcd in onc group of cc||s. Jhcsc physio|ogica| propcrtics
suggcst that thc spacc map surrounding thc body is a map of
potential actions pcrformcdbythcbody.'
^s it happcns, thc ncw paradigm inauguratcd by thc
discovcryofthcsc Ì1 and Ì5 ncurons÷inc|udingmirrorncu-
rons, ofcoursc÷was forcsccn in a way by Mauricc Mcr|cau-
Ìonty, a Ìrcnch phi|osophcr working in thc car|y twcnticth
ccntury. Mcr|cau-Ìonty was a mcmbcr ofa schoo| ofphi|os-
ophy known in thcdccadcs around I º00 as phcnomcno|ogy.
Cthcr mcmbcrs wcrc Ìran: Brcntano, Ldmund Iusscr|, and
thc grcat Martin Icidcggcr. Jhcy critici:cd thc c|assicaI
phi|osophica| approach as bcing scduccd by thc ho|y grai| of
discovcring thc vcry csscncc ofphcnomcna and thus gctting
boggcd down in musing about abstractions ( thc Ì|atonic tra-
dition) , and thcy proposcd instcad to "go back to thc things
thcmsc|vcs" ( thc ^ristotc|ian instinct, in cncct) . Jhc phc-
nomcno|ogists proposcd to pay c|oscattcntionto thcobj ccts
andphcnomcnaofthcwor|dandtoourowninncrcxpcricncc
ofthcsc obj ccts andphcnomcna. Ìnthc |ab in Ìarma, Ki::o-
|atti and his co||cagucs wcrc vcry traditiona| in thc tcch-
niqucs thcyuscd to study thc cc||s in arcas Ì1 and Ì5 in thc
fronta| cortcx ofthcir macaquc monkcys, but ovcr timc, thcy
wcrc ab|c to ovcrcomc thc traditiona| framcwork for intcr-
prcting thcir rcsu|ts. scparatc compartmcnts for motor, pcr-
ccption, andcognitioncc||s.Jhcywcrcab|ctowipcawaythc
ru|ing paradigm and hypothcscs. Jhcy didn`twastc ycars try-
¡ Ó
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
ing to cxtract comp|cx and abstract computationa| ru|cs to
cxp|ain thc apparcnt|y bi:arrc obscrvations that wcrc pi|ing
up. Ìnstcad, thcy wcrc ab|c to cmp|oy a frcsh, opcn-mindcd
approach to thc rcscarch, which Ì ca|| ncurophysio|ogic phc-
nomcno|ogy. Jhcirncwattitudcwasthc on|ymcansofrca|i:-
ing that pcrccption and action arc a unincd proccss in thc
brain.
Jhc hcad "phi|osophcr" in Ìarma was thc bcardcd and
dark-cycdncurophysio|ogist\ittorioCa||csc. Ca||csc was thc
onc digging into Mcr|cau-Ìonty`s work, nnding thc appro-
priatc ana|ogics bctwccn phi|osophy and ncuroscicncc, cx-
p|aining thc group`s discovcrics in |css scicntinc and morc
phi|osophica| tcrms. Ca||csc was a|so morc wi||ing to spccu-
|atc about thc most profound imp|ications ofmirror ncurons.
Ìndccd, his prcscntation at a mccting tit|cd "Joward a 5ci-
cnccofConsciousncss, "inJucson,^ri:ona, in I ººo, wasthc
cata|ystfor making mirror ncurons wc||known in thc scicn-
tincwor|dfor thc nrsttimc. ^tthatmcctingCa||csc mctco-
incidcnta||y ^|vin Co|dman, a phi|osophcr intcrcstcd in thc
prob|cm ofothcr minds. Co|dman is a pa|adin ofthc simu|a-
tionthcory, whichho|dsthatinordcrtoundcrstandwhatan-
othcrpcrson fcc|s whcn, say, shc is in |ovc, wc must prctcnd
to bc in |ovc oursc|vcs. Ic immcdiatc|y caught thc imp|ica-
tionsofthisncwmirrorncuronrcscarchforhisownthinking,
andhcandCa||cscworkcdtogcthcronapapcrthatproposcd
for thcnrsttimcthatmirrorncuronsmaybcthcncura|corrc-
|atc ofthc simu|ation proccss ncccssary to undcrstand othcr
minds. '
Ca||csc`s passion for phi|osophy and scicncc is surpasscd
¡
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
on|y by his |ovc for thc opcra, which is not at a|| unusua| in
Ìarma. Ic is onc ofthc twcnty-scvcn mcmbcrs ofthc cxc|u-
sivcC|ubdciZ7 (www.c|ubdci Z7. com),whcrcincachmcmbcr
pcrsonincsonc ofCiuscppc \crdi`s twcnty-scvcnopcras. Ì do
not usc thc tcrm "cxc|usivc" |ight|y. Jhcrc wi|| bc no morc
opcras from \crdi, may hc rcst in pcacc, so it wi|| ncvcr bc
C|ub dci 28. Jhc on|yway onc can bccomc a mcmbcr is for
anothcr mcmbcr to pass thc torch (high|y un|ikc|y) or pass
away. Ca||cscpcrsonincsa|csscr-knownopcraofthcMacstro,
I Lombardi ali prima crociata, but ofcourschc had no choicc
in this. Ic grabbcdthc on|y avai|ab|c opcning' ^ high|ight
of Ca||csc`s third carccr (ncuroscicncc and phi|osophy arc
thc nrst two) was thc night that thc C|ub dci Z7 bcstowcd
a mcda| on thc pccr|css 5panish tcnor Ì|úcido Lomingo.
Ca||csc j oincd his twcnty-six confrcrcs in singingfor thc |is-
tcningp|casurcofoncofthcgrcatcstofa||\crdi intcrprctcrs.
Ìs that prcccdingparagraph a digrcssion' Ì don`t think so.
Viththcrarcstofcxccptions, grcatscicncc isaboutthccom-
bincd,doggcd |cgwork ofat|castscvcra| ifnotmany individ-
ua|s. Ìt`s a||abouttcamwork. ^ndwhatmakcsagrcattcamof
anysort'Þobodyrca||yknows, butwhcn ithappcns, anyonc
can c|car|y scc thc rcsu|ts. Ìn thc |ab in Ìarma dircctcd by
Ciacomo Ki::o|atti, a co||cction of ncuroscicntists contri-
butcd to thc magic in many dihcrcnt ways. Vittorio Ca||csc's
intcrcstinphi|osophyandphcnomcno|ogywasnotincidcnta|
at a||; in fact, it was probab|ycritica|. Iisphi|osophica| tcn-
dcncyandhispassionfor thcopcraarc markcrsofapcrsona|-
itywithbroadintcrcstsandanabi|ityandwi||ingncsstothink
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
outsidcthcbox.Ìnmycxpcricncc, thcbcstscicntistsarcinter�
esting people.
|oining Ca||csc and thc |ab dircctor, Ki::o|atti, as kcy
mcmbcrs of thc tcam wcrc Luciano Ìadiga and Lco Ìogassi.
Jhcscfourncuroscicntists arc a||quitcdincrcntfromoncan�
othcr inpcrsona|ity and intc||cctua| inc|inations. Maybc this
isonc ofthc rcasons things workcdoutso wc||. Ìnanycvcnt,
cach madc a uniquc contribution to thc co||cctivc work, as
wou|d bc thc casc in any wor|d�c|ass scicntinc cntcrprisc.
Ìadiga, ta|| and s|cndcr, has aknackfordcvc|opingncw too|s
for thc |aboratoryand posscsscs thc socia| ski||s ncccssary for
managcmcnt and fund�raising. Modcm scicncc rcquircs a||
thrcc. tcchno|ogica| innovation, managcmcnt ski||s, and |ots
ofmoncy. ( Vith machincs that can casi|y cost hundrcds of
thousands ofdo||ars or as much as two orthrccmi||ion, basic
rcscarch in ncuroscicncc isparticu|ar|y cxpcnsivc. ) Jypicn||y,
thc scicntists who arc grcatwith tcchnica| mattcrs in thc |ab
arcnotsogoodatthc"pcop|c"cndofthcj ob. Ìadigaisoncof
thccxccptionstothisru|c. Icwasthctcammcmbcrwhonrst
app|¡cdthcrc|ativc|yncwtcchniquc oftranscrania| magnctic
stimu|ation (JM5) to thc study ofthc mirror ncuron systcm
inhumans (a subj cctfor|atcrdiscussion) . Icrcccnt|ymovcd
to thc Lnivcrsity ofÌcrrara, whcrc his ncw |ab is a|rcady an
cmcicntandproductivcmachinc. Þo surpriscthcrc.
ÌncontrastwithÌadiga, LcoÌogassiisbyfarthc |castout-
spokcn individua| of thc four Ìarma ncuroscicntists. Ìn thc
ycarsj ustaftcrthcdiscovcryofmirrorcc||sinthc car|y I ºº0s,
Ìogassiwasdcnnitc|y |css invo|vcd incommunicatingthccx�
¡
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
pcrimcnta|nndingstothcscicntinccommunity. Communica-
tionisafundamcnta|aspcctofscicncc, ofcoursc, butitisj ust
notÌogassi`sfo:tc. Ic`s agrcat|abman, probab|ythconcsci-
cntist who has dircct|y pcrformcd or supcrviscd thc |argcst
numbcr ofsing|c-cc||rccordings in thc mirror ncuron systcm
in thc wor|d. Ìnthc |astfcwycarshc has takcn thc |cad in a
varicty ofimportant proj ccts, most important ofwhich is thc
scrics ofcxpcrimcnts on thc ro|c ofmirrorncurons in undcr-
standing thc intcntions ofothcrs. Ì` || discuss this vita| work
short|y.
Jhis brings us to thc |cadcr ofthc group, Ciacomo Ki::o-
|atti, whoshou|dbcconsidcrcdasnothing|cssthanaKcnais-
sancc man. Ìn modcrn scicncc, spccia|i:ation is thc ordcrof
thc day, and thcn spccia|i:ation within spccia|i:ation. Most
scicntists focus on a sing|c rcscarch issuc, using j ust onc
moda|ity of invcstigation. Ki::o|atti`s rcscarch rangcsfar and
widc, inc|uding visua| ncurophysio|ogy in cats, bchaviora|
ncuro|ogy in brain-damagcd paticnts, cxpcrimcnta| psycho|-
ogyinhca|thyvo|untccrs, anatomica|andncurophysio|ogica|
studics in primatcs, brain imaging in humans, and÷in ad-
dition to a|| this÷computationa| ncuroscicncc' Ki::o|atti`s
abi|itytoconnccta|| thcsc dincrcnt |incsofrcscarchinanin-
tcgratcdandcohcrcntvicwofhumanbrainfunctionisa|most
uncanny and dcnnitc|y uniquc in modcm ncuroscicncc.
^bovc a||, his intuitions about how thc brain works arc in-
comparab|c. (Maybc this ta|cnt for dccp insight is why his
somcwhatrumcdwhitchaira|waysrcmindsmcof^|bcrtLin-
stcin. )Jhccar|yworkinÌarma,which|cdtothcdiscovcryof
mirror ncurons, originatcd from Ki::o|atti`s intuitions about
Z 0
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
thc ro|c ofprcmotorarcas in crcating"spacc maps" surround-
ingthcbody. Icca||cdthisthcorythc prcmotorthcoryofat-
tcntion. 5cvcra|ycarsago, bysimp|y|ookingatthc pattcrnof
rcaction-timc data in hca|thy vo|untccrsduringavisuospatia|
task( ccrtain|ynotthcmostsc|f-cxp|anatorypicccofinforma-
tion with rcgard to brain mnction) , Ki::o|atti proposcd a
modc| ofvisuospatia| attcntion-that is, how wc pay attcn-
tionto somcobj cctormovcmcnton our|cftsidc and noton
our right sidc÷that was connrmcd by brain imaging tcch-
niqucsmanyycars |atcr. º
Ki::o|atti, Ca||csc, Ìogassi, and Ìadigawcrc thc Ìab Ìour,
and togcthcrthcy changcd cvcrything. Jhc discovmyofmir-
ror ncurons and thc dcvc|opmcnt of thcir possib|c imp|ica-
tionswasprimari|yductothcco||aborativcchcmistryofthcsc
fourncuroscicntists. Ìnthc ycars to comc, cvcn thc cducatcd
|aypcrson`s undcrstanding of how wc humans rca||y scc thc
wor|d, and how wc function as socia| anima|s within it, wi||
ncvcrbcthcsamc.
M I R R 0 R S I N T HE "8 R A I N
Ìsn`tthcdcvi|inthcdctai|s ' Ìnncuroscicncc, at|cast, thisa|-
ways sccms to bc thccasc, and it is dcnnitc|y sowithmirror
ncurons. Ìt is thc s|ightvariations ofthc cxpcrimcnta| sctups
in|absaroundthcwor|dthathavc rcvca|cd thcsubt|ctyofrc-
sponscs from thcsc ncurons, which in tum havc opcncd thc
doors to our undcrstanding. Cn thc othcr hand, thcrc was
nothing uniquc about thc invcstigativc too|s uscd in Ìarma.
Z ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Lsing thc c|assic mcthodo|ogy of sing|c-cc|| ncurophysio|-
ogy,Ki::o|attiandhisco||cagucs imp|antcdc|cctrodcs inarca
Ì5 of thc macaquc subj ccts and rccordcd any c|cctrica|
changcs÷"action potcntia|s"÷on thc surfacc of individua|
ncuronsas thcmonkcyspcrformcd ccrtain tasks in cxchangc
forrcwardsoffood.Jhcc|cctrica|activityinthcbrainiswhat
tc||susthataparticu|arncuronhasbccn activatcd atapartic-
u|artimc. Ìthas"nrcd, "as wc say, andithasdoncso inordcr
tocodccithcra scnsorycvcnt ( sccingsomcobj cctoraction) ,
a motor act (grasping thc app|c) , or a cognitivc proccss ( thc
mcmory of grasping thc app|c) . (Lndcr thc o|d "scparatc
boxcs" paradigm, as wc havc sccn, any givcn cc|| wou|d codc
for onc and on|yonc ofthcsc thrcc activitics. Mirrorncurons
codcfortwoofthcm,brcakingdownthcbarricrbctwccnpcr-
ccptionand action. ) Jhcsc c|cctrica| dischargcs arc a|so thc
waybraincc||sscndsigna|stoonc anothcr. Lvcncc||sthatarc
far from cach othcr in thc brain can communicatc through
action potcntia|s, as |ong as thcy arc physica||y conncctcd
withaxons, whicharc|ongcxtcnsionsofthc cc||thatscrvcas
cxtcnsioncords oIasort.
Jhcscc|assica|cxpcrimcntsgivcusacccsstobrainactivity
at its mostcxquisitc, nnc-graincd |cvc|÷thcsing|ccc||÷and
providc cxquisitc spatia| and tcmpora| "rcso|ution. " Vc arc
working not on|y with thc sing|c cc||, but instant by instant.
Jhis rcscarch providcs incrcdib|y important information.
Ìromourundcrstanding ofthcbrain mcchanisms ofourcvo-
|utionaryprcdcccssorswc can infcrncura|mcchanisms in thc
human brain. Jhcsc cxpcrimcnts with thc macaqucs arc in-
vasivc, no doubt about it. Ìmp|anting thc c|cctrodcs rcquircs
Z Z
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
brain surgcry. ^|though cxtrcmc carc is takcn to avoid dis-
comfort inthcimp|antcdsubj ccts,cthicsprcc|udcconducting
such cxpcrimcnts onhumans or thc grcat apcs ( chimpan:ccs,
gori||as,orangutans,andbonobos) . Jhcon|ycxccptiontothc
ru|c is with ccrtain ncuro|ogica| paticnts ( most common|y
cpi|cptics) who havc c|cctrodcs imp|antcd for mcdica| rca-
sons. Ìnsuchinstanccs,sing|c-cc||rcscarchispcrfcct|ycthica|
whcn pcrmission is grantcd, as it a|most a|ways is. Jhis |im-
itcdrcscarchhasyic|dcdimportantrcsu|ts, aswcwi||scc|atcr.
^ndnow, ofcoursc, thc ama:ingncwtcchno|ogyofnoninva-
sivcbrainimaging(functiona|magncticrcsonanccimagingor
fMKÌ, magnctocnccpha|ography or MLC, and othcrs that Ì
wi|| dcscribc in |atcr chaptcrs) a||ows cxpcrimcntation with
human subj ccts that combincs with thc sing|c-cc|| rcscarch
onmonkcys to yic|d thc rcsu|rs and insights that arc thc sub-
j cctofthisbook.
Ìn sctting thc stagc for thc discovcry ofmirrorncurons, Ì
statcdthatthc Ìarma invcstigatorshadacquircdaprcttygood
picturc of thc actions of thcsc motor cc||s during various
"grasping" cxcrciscs with thc monkcys. Lct`s now considcr
thosccar|yrcsu|tsinmorcdctai|.Jhcyarc indccdfascinating,
bcginningwiththcfactthatthc motorcc||snrc throughout the
whole gaping ation, andnotincorrcspondcnccwiththccon-
tractions ofany spccinc musc|cs. Lvcn morc surprising|y, thc
samc cc||oftcnnrcsforbothright-handand|cft-handactions
and a|so, as anticipatcd car|icr, whcn thc monkcy is moving
thc mouth. Jhc tcam cxpcctcd morc spccincity in thc nring
pattcm÷right hand on|y, |cft hand on|y, mouth on|y. Vhat
thcysaw, howcvcr, wasthiskindofspccincitywiththc type of
Z
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
graspthcmonkcywasusing. 5omcofthcscncuronsnrcdon|y
whi|c thc monkcy was grasping sma|| obj ccts using two nn-
gcrs, suchas thchand|c ofa cup using thcthumband thc in-
dcxnngcr.Vcca||thistypcofgraspthcprccisiongrip. Cthcr
ncurons in Ì5 nrcd on|ywhi|c thc monkcywasgrasping|argc
obj ccts, such as a cup, using thc who|c hand÷thc who|c-
handgrip. Ìtisinsomcwayirrc|cvanttothcmonkcywhcthcr
shcgrabsthccupwiththcrighthandorthc|cfthand,butthc
manncrinwhichshcgrabs ir isrc|cvant.Jhisisstrangctous.
Lqua||y strangc to us is thc fact that thcsc "grasping" brain
cc||s do not nrc whcn thc monkcy is scratching hcr hcad or
pcrforming anothcrhand action, cvcnthoughthc vcry samc
nngcr musc|cs arc uscd. Jhcsc pccu|iaritics suggcst thc cxis-
tcncc ofa somcwhat comp|cx vocabu|ary, in ncura| tcrms, of
simp|c obj cct-oricntcd actions and÷thc kcy point÷at thc
|cvc| ofthc sing|ccc|| . '
Cfcoursc, somc÷j ustsomc÷ofthcsccc||sa|sorcspondto
visua| stimu|ation, thc surprising capacity that makcs thcm
cithcrcanonica|ncurons ormirrorncurons. ^sdiscusscd, thc
canonica| ncurons nrc at thc sight of ccrtain graspab|c ob-
j ccts, thc mirror ncurons at thc sight ofgrasping actions. ^s
wcmightgucssbynow,thcscrcsponscsa|sohavcthcirpccu|i-
aritics.Jhccanonica| ncurons arcscnsitivc to thc size ofthc
graspab|c obj cct. Ìorinstancc, ifacc||nrcswhcnthc monkcy
graspsa sma|| obj cct,suchas apicccofapp|c, usingthcprcci-
sion grip of thumb and indcx nngcr, thc samc cc|| wi|| nrc
on|y whcn thc monkcy sccs a comparab|y sma|| obj cct. Jhis
cc|| wi|| notnrc whcn thc monkcy sccs a who|c app|c, which
canbcgraspcdon|ywithawho|c-handgrip. Likcwisc, canon-
Z
4
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
ica| ncurons in arca Ì5 that nrc whcn thc monkcy grasps a
who|c app|c with a who|c-hand grip wi|| a|so nrc whcn thc
monkcysccsawho|capp|c, butwi||notnrcwhcnthcmonkcy
sccs a raisin, which wou|d rcquirc a prccision grip to grasp.
Jhc corrc|ation bctwccn action and pcrccption in canonica|
ncuronsistightindccd.
Vhat about mirror ncurons ' 5omc mirror ncurons a|so
show thi� tight corrc|ation bctwccn action and pcrccption.
Jhcsc cc||s arc ca||cd strict|y congrucnt mirror ncurons bc-
causc thcynrc for idcntica| actions, cithcr pcrformcd or ob-
scrvcd. Ìor instancc, a strict|y congrucnt mirror ncuron nrcs
whcn thc monkcy grasps with a prccision grip andwhcn thc
monkcy sccs somcbody c|sc grasping with a prccision grip.
^nothcr strict|y congrucnt mirror ncuron wou|d nrc whcn
thc monkcy grasps with a who|c-hand grip and whcn thc
monkcy sccs somcbody c|sc grasping with a who|c-hand grip.
Cthcr mirror ncurons, howcvcr, show a |css strict rc|ation-
ship bctwccn cxccutcd and obscrvcd actions. Jhcsc arc thc
broad|ycongrucnt mirror ncurons.Jhcynrc atthc sightofan
action that is not ncccssari|y idcntica|to thc cxccutcdaction
butachicvcs a simi|argoa|. Ìor instancc, abroad|y congrucnt
mirror ncuron may nrc whcn thc monkcy is grasping food
with thc hand and whcn thcmonkcyissccingsomcbodyc|sc
gcttingfoodwiththc mouth.
Ìnno casc sofarobscrvcdhas thc dischargc ofmirror ncu-
rons during action obscrvation bccn modu|atcd by thc idcn-
tity of thc obj cct to bc graspcd. ^pp|c or orangc' Ìcanut or
raisin' Ìt docsn`t mattcr. Cn|y thc si:c mattcrs, which makcs
pcrfcct scnsc for motor purposcs. Largcr obj ccts rcquirc thc
Z
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
who|c-hand grasp, sma||cr oncs thc prccision grip. Jhc dis-
chargc of mirror ncurons during an obscrvcd action is a|so
|argc|yunancctcdbythcdistnce tothcaction.Jhcsccnccan
bc c|osc or far away. Mirror ncurons a|so nrc cquiva|cnt|y at
thc sight of a grasping human hand or a grasping monkcy
hand. Jhcy a|so nrc simi|ar|y whcthcr thc cxpcrimcntcr
graspingapicccoffoodcvcntua||ygivcsthc foodto asccond
monkcy in thc |ab or to thc subj cct monkcy with thc im-
p|antcdc|cctrodcs. Ìnshort,thcrcwardingva|ucofthcgrasp-
ing actiondocsnot ancctthcrcsponscofmirrorncurons. º
^ vcry intcrcsting c|ass ofmirror ncurons codcs obscrvcd
actions that arc prcparatory or |ogica||y rc|atcd to thc cxc-
cutcdactions. ^ "|ogica||yrc|atcd"mirrorncuron isoncthat,
for instancc, nrcsatthcsightoffoodbcingp|acconthctab|c
anda|sowhi|cthcmonkcygraspsthcpicccoffoodandbrings
it to thc mouth.
'
Jhis c|ass ofcc||s may bc part ofncurona|
chainsofmirrorcc||s thatarc importantforcodingnotsimp|y
thc obscrvcd action but a|so thc intcntion associatcd with
it. Jhis intcntion is achicvcd through a scqucncc ofsimp|cr
actions. rcaching for thc cup, grasping it, bringing it to thc
mouth,andthcndrinkingfrom it.
^rca||ytc||ta|cfcaturc ofthc macaqucs` mirrorncuronsis
thatthcydo notnrc atthc sight ofapantomimc. Ìcrforming
agrasping action in thc abscncc ofan obj cct docs not triggcr
adischargc. Jhis may sccm odd to us, but it isn`t particu|ar|y
so, bccausc thcsc monkcys do not typica||y pantomimc. Vc
humans,howcvcr,dopantomimc, and indccdourmirrorncu-
ron arcas arc activatcd by morc abstract actions than arc
thoscofthc monkcys. Jhcscvcra|cvo|utionarystcpsdividing
Z Ó
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
monkcysfromhumans cancasi|y accountfor suchdincrcncc.
^subj cctform¡urcdiscussionhcrcwi||bcthcthcorybycom-
putationa| ncuroscicntist Michac| ^rbib that mirrorncurons
arckcyprccursors ofncura| systcmsfor|anguagc. Ìcproposcs
thatpantomimc p|ays a critica| ro|c in thc cvo|utionary pro-
grcssion from thc rc|ativc|y simp|c mirror ncuron systcm in
monkcys to thc much morc sophisticatcd ncura| systcm that
supports thchigh|cvc|ofabstractioninhuman |anguagc.
I0
^swchavc sccn, mirror ncurons inarcaÌ5 nrcatthcsight
of mouth actions as wc|| as hand actions. Ìn this capacity,
thcsc cc||sbc|ong to two maincatcgorics. thosc that codcfor
ingcstivc movcmcnts÷cating a banana, drinking j uicc÷and
othcrs that codc for communicativc movcmcnts such as |ip
smacking, a s|ight protrusion of thc |ips.' ' Jhc cxistcncc of
mirror ncurons for communicativc mouth movcmcnts sug-
gcstcd to Ki::o|atti and his co||cagucs in Ìarma that thcsc
cc||s mayhavc aprofound ro|c in thc abi|ityto communicatc
bctwccn individua|s and in thc undcrstanding of othcr pco-
p|c`s bchavior. Jhus thcy dcvotcd a who|c scrics of cxpcri-
mcnts to dccpcr aspccts of thc ro|c of mirror ncurons in
codingthcactionsofothcrindividua|s.
I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Ì am cooking dinncr, and my daughtcr, Catcrina, a sixth
gradcr, is doing hcr homcwork on thc tab|c in thc kitchcn
nook. Ì canwatchhcrwhi|c Ì cook.Jhc tab|c iscovcrcdwith
books, notcbooks,pcnci|s, crascrs, andsoon. (l oftcnfcc|that
Z
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
sixth gradcrs thcsc days havc morc homcwork than Ì had in
highschoo|. ) ^sÌ cookdinncr, Ì can`tfu||ysccwhatCatcrina
is doing. Icr study matcria|s arc b|ocking my vicw. 5ti||, Ì
ncvcr fcc| Ì havc to go on an c|aboratc infcrcntia| proccss to
disccrnwhatshc isdoing. Iowis itpossib|c'IowcanÌ havc
an immcdiatc undcrstanding ofhcr movcmcnts cvcn though
Ì can`t scc thcm fu||y' Lo my mirror ncurons assist mc in
knowing and undcrstanding what Ì cannot scc' ^|cssandra
Lmi|tà, nowonthc facu|tyat thc Lnivcrsity ofÌarma, was a
graduatc studcnt inCiacomoKi::o|atti`s |ab whcn shc |cd an
cxpcrimcnt that tcstcd this cxacthypothcsis.
Jhc nrst twoconditions ofhcrcxpcrimcnthadbccnprc-
vious|y tcstcd. Ìn onc, a monkcy obscrvcd a human cxpcri-
mcntcr grasping an obj cct. ^s cxpcctcd, mirror ncurons did
nrcatthcsightofthisgraspingaction.Ìnthcothcrcondition,
thcmonkcyobscrvcdahumancxpcrimcntcr pantomiming a
grasping action, in thc abscncc ofa rca| obj ccttobcgraspcd.
^scxpcctcd,thcpantomimcdidnottriggcradischargcinthc
ncurons. Vith thcsc standard but ncccssary rcsu|ts in hand,
^|cssandra addcd two ncw conditions to tcstwhcthcrmirror
ncuronswou|dnrcduringanactionthcmonkcycannotrca||y
scc. Ìn onc, a thrcc-dimcnsiona| obj cct, for instancc an or-
angc, waspositioncdon thc tab|c. 5ubscqucnt|y, ascrccnwas
p|accd infrontofthcorangc ( othcrkindsofobj cctswcrca|so
uscd, as thcsc cxpcrimcnts typica||y invo|vc scvcra| tria|s for
cach condition) . Vith this scrccn occ|uding thc monkcy`s
sight ofthc orangc, a human cxpcrimcntcr rcachcd with hcr
right hand bchind thc scrccn. Jhc monkcy saw thc rcaching
butnotthcactua|graspingofthcorangc.Jhc qucstion is. Lid
Z 0
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
mirror ncurons nrc whcn thc grasping action itsc|fwas hid-
dcn'Jhcanswcrwasycs ( andno) . ^pproximatc|y50pcrccnt
of thc mirror ncurons rccordcd in that cxpcrimcnt did nrc,
ha|fdid not.
Ìnthcothcrncwcondition,thctab|cwasbarc.Jhcscrccn
was movcd into position b|ocking thc monkcy`s vicw ofthc
barc tab|c. ^gain, ahumancxpcrimcntcrrcachcdbchindthc
s
_
rccn with hcr right hand. Þotc that from thc monkcy`svi-
sua| standpoint thc cxpcrimcnta| condition at this momcnt
was idcntica| to thc prcvious onc. thc monkcy was sccing a
hand rcach bchindascrccn. Jhc on|y dincrcncc bctwccnthc
two conditions is thc anima|`s por knowledge conccming
thc prcscncc ofan obj cct on thc tab|c. Jhc qucstion is. Lid
thcmonkcyundcrstandthatthiswasapantomimc'Ìfso,mir-
ror ncurons shou|d not nrc÷and indccd thcy did not. Jhc
priorknow|cdgcthatthcrcwasnoobj cctonthc tab|cwassuf-
ncicntfor thc mirror cc||s to now considcr thc hiddcn grasp-
ing action simp|y a pantomimc, and thus not worth nring
for. '´
Jhcsc cxpcrimcnts c|car|y show that mirror ncurons do
notsimp|y form a ncura| systcm matching pcrformcd actions
and obscrvcdoncs. Lvcn in thcmonkcy,thcyprovidc amorc
nuanccd coding ofthc actions ofothcrs, usingprior informa-
tion to dincrcntiatc thc mcaning ofpartia||y b|ockcd actions
that arc visua||y idcntica|. Ìs this sumcicnt cvidcncc for us to
conc|udc that mirrorncurons codc thc intcntions ofthc pcr-
songrasping thc obj cct ' Ìrobab|y not, sincc thc basic issuc in
thc cxpcrimcnt was whcthcr thc hand graspcd or not, as dc-
tcrmincd by thc prcscncc or abscncc ofthc obj cct ( thc or-
Z
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
angc, in thc cxamp|c abovc) . Jhis cxpcrimcnt docs not fu||y
addrcss thc fundamcnta| qucstion ofwhcthcr mirror ncurons
candincrcntiatcbctwccn, say, grasping thc orangc inordcrto
cat itvcrsusgraspingthcorangc inordcrtop|acc itinthc rc-
frigcrator. Jhis is why Lco Ìogassi, somc ycars aftcr^|cssan-
dra Lmi|tà`s cxpcrimcnt, |cd anothcr cxpcrimcnt that morc
cxp|icit|y invcstigatcd thc ro|c ofmirror ncurons in undcr-
standingintcntions.
I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE T HINKING
Ì am having a row with my wifc ovcr somc fami|y p|ans. Vc
arc in thc kitchcn, and shc rcachcsfora g|ass. Locs shc want
to drink or put it in thc dishwashcr÷or maybc throw it at
mc' Ìt is vcry uscfu| to bc ab|c to prcdict what othcr pcop|c
arcgoingtodoncxt.
Jhcmost basicpropcrty ofmirrorncurons÷that is, nring
forboththcactionofgraspingacupandthc cquiva|cntgrasp-
ing action Ì on|y obscrvc÷suggcsts that thcy arc hc|pfu| for
rccogni:ingthc actionsofothcrpcop|c. Jhcya|sosuggcstthat
thc action rccognition proccss thcrcby imp|cmcntcd is somc
sort of simu|ation or intcma| imitation of thc obscrvcd ac-
tions. Civcn that ourown actions arc a|most invariab|y asso-
ciatcd with spccinc intcntions, thc activation in my brain of
thc samcncurons Ì usctopcnormmyownactionswhcnÌ scc
othcr pcop|c pcrforming thcsc actions may a|so a||ow mc to
undcrstand thc intcntions of thc othcr pcop|c. Ìowcvcr, it
can`t bc this simp|c. Jhcrc`s aprob|cm, and it`s thc onc Ì am
}
0
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
facing whcn Ì scc my wifc grasping thc g|ass during our row.
thc samc action can bc associatcd with dincrcnt intcntions.
Ìn fact, thcrc is rarc|y, ifcvcr, a onc-to-onc corrc|ation. this
action, this ncccssary intcntion. |ust as Ì may havc dincrcnt
intcntionswhcnÌ graspag|ass,somayothcrs. Lomirrorncu-
rons dincrcntiatc bctwccn thc samc action associatcd with
dincrcnt intcntions '
Lco Ìogassi`s rcccnt cxpcrimcnt addrcsscd this qucstion
dircct|ybyasscssingthc monkcys`ncura| activityduringava-
ricty ofconditions ofgraspingexecution andgraspingobserva­
tion. ^ncxp|anationofthccxpcrimcntrcquircsagooddca|of
dctai|,butitis importantforundcrstandingthcscncurons. Ìn
onc ofthc cxccution conditions, thc monkcy, starting from a
nxcd position, rcachcd for and graspcd a piccc offood, thcn
brought thc food to thc mouth to cat it. Ìnasubscqucntcon-
dition, thcmonkcyrcachcdforan incdib|cobj cctinthcsamc
|ocation as thc food in thc prcvious cxpcrimcnta| condition.
Jhc monkcyp|accd this obj cct in a containcr. Ìn this condi-
tion,scvcra|tria|swcrcpcrformcdwhi|cthccontaincrwas|o-
catcd c|osc to thc mouth of thc anima|, such that thc arm
and hand movcmcnts ofthc grasping-to-cat and grasping-to-
p|accconditionswcrcclosely matched. Jhcmainqucstionwas
whcthcr mirrorncurons nrc dincrcnt|y whcn thc samc grasp-
ingaction|cadstocatingfoodasopposcdtop|acinganobj cct
in a containcr. Locs thc intcntionmattcr to thcsc ncurons '
(Þotc a|sothataftcrcomp|ctingthcp|acing-in-thc-containcr
tria|s, thc monkcys wcrc rcwardcd, so thc amount ofrcward
forgrasping-to-catandgrasping-to-p|accwas idcntica|. )
Bctwccnathird and afourthofthc rccordcdncuronsnrcd
}
¡
M I R R O R I N G P E O P L E
cquiva|cnt|yduringgrasping-to-catandgrasping-to-p|acc. Jhc
maj orityofthc ncurons,howcvcr, nrcd dincrcnt|y, withabout
75 pcrccnt discharging morc vigorous|y during thc grasping
actions that brought food to thc mouth, about Z5 pcrccnt
morc vigorous|y during thc actions to p|acc obj ccts in con-
taincrs. Vhat arc wc to makc ofthcsc numbcrs ' Maybc thc
dincrcntia| discharging÷thc prcfcrcncc for cating ovcr p|ac-
ing÷was duc to thc fact that in onc condition thc monkcy
was graspingfood, whcrcas in thc othcrconditionthc anima|
wasgraspinga|cssintcrcstinganduscmlobj cctforp|accmcnt.
Jo tcstfor thispossibi|ity, thcmonkcyswcrctcstcdundcrthc
conditionofp|acingfood.Jhcrcsu|tswcrcthc samc as inthc
prcvious cxpcrimcnt. Jhc maj ority ofcc||s dischargcd prcfcr-
cntia||yduring graspingforcating, a minorityprcfcrrcdgrasp-
ing for p|acing, and thc minority ofcclls that had shown no
prcfcrcncc for cating or p|acing sti|| showcd no prcfcrcncc.
Conc|usion. thc typc ofobj cct graspcd was irrc|cvant. Jhc
important issuc for mirror ncurons was cating vcrsus p|acing.
Most"prcfcrrcd"cating.
Vith thcsc rcsu|ts in hand, thc cxpcrimcntcrs thcn pro-
cccdcd to tcstthc monkcys as thcymcrc|yobscrvcdthcsamc
cxpcrimcnta| sctups, with an cxpcrimcntcrscatcd in front of
thcmonkcypcrformingthcsamcgraspingactionsasthcmon-
kcy had prcvious|y pcrformcd÷somc for cating, somc for
p|acing. Vith a containcrprcscnt and visib|c to thc monkcy,
thc cxpcrimcntcr graspcd thc food and p|accd it in thc con-
taincr. Vith no containcr prcscnt, thc cxpcrimcntcr graspcd
thc food, brought it to thc mouth, and atc it. Jhus thc prcs-
}
Z
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
cncc of thc conta|ncr actcd as a v|sua| c|uc, a||ow|ng thc
monkcy to prcd|ct thc ncxt movcmcnt ofthc cxpcr|mcntcr.
Jhc cmp|r|ca| qucst|on was whcthcr m|rror ncurons wou|d
rcg|stcr a d|st|nct|on whcn thc monkcy was obscrv|ng grasp-
|ng-to-cat vcrsus grasp|ng-to-p|acc. Jhc rcsu|ts dcmonstratcd
that thc |ntcnt|onofthc cxpcr|mcntcrdid makc a d|hcrcncc,
and thc pattcm ofncurona| nr|ng dur|ng obscrvat|on of th|s
grasp|ng c|osc|y m|rrorcdthcpattcrnofncurona|nr|ngas thc
monkcy cxccutcd thc grasp|ng act|ons. Ìf a cc|| d|schargcd
morc v|gorous|y wh||c thc monkcy was grasp|ng thc food |n
ordcr to cat, that samc cc||d|schargcd morc v|gorous|y wh||c
thc monkcywas obscrv|ng thchumancxpcr|mcntcrgrasp|ng
thc food |n ordcr to cat. Ìfa cc|| d|schargcd morc v|gorous|y
wh||c thc monkcy was grasp|ng thc food |n ordcr to p|acc |t
|n thc conta|ncr, that samc cc|| d|schargcd morc v|gorous|y
wh||c thc monkcy was obscrv|ng thc human cxpcr|mcntcr
grasp|ngthcfood|nordcrtop|acc|t|nthcconta|ncr. Ìfacc||
d|schargcdcqua||ywh||cthcmonkcywasgrasp|ng-to-catand
grasp|ng-to-p|acc, that samc cc||d|schargcdcqua||y a|so wh||c
obscrv|ngthchumancxpcr|mcntcr. ' '
Jhc rcsu|ts ofLco Ìogass|`s cxpcr|mcnt dcmonstratc that
thc cod|ng ofthc act|ons ofothcrpcop|c prov|dcd by m|rror
ncurons |s much morc soph|st|catcd than |n|t|a||y thought.
^|though \|ttor|o Ca||csc and ^|v|n Co|dman had spccu-
|atcd soon aftcr thc d|scovcry of m|rror ncurons that thcsc
cc||s may prov|dc a kcy ncura|mcchan|smfor undcrstand|ng
thc mcnta| statcs ofothcrs, thcy wcrc |n thc m|nor|ty at thc
t|mc. Bcforc Ìogass|`s cxpcr|mcnt, thcrc was much morc sup-
} }
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
port |n thc sc|cnt|nc commun|tyfor a morc pars|mon|ous ac-
countofthcfunct|onsofm|rrorncurons,w|ththccc||ss|mp|y
prov|d|ng a form ofact|on rccogn|t|on. Ìogass|`s expcr|mcnt
c|car|y supports thc |n|t|a| |ntu|t|on of Ca||csc and Co|d-
man.M|rrorncurons|ctusundcrstandthc |ntcnt|onsofothcr
pcop|c.
^s Ì havc statcd, |ntcnt|on had a|ways bccn cons|dcrcd
on-||m|tsfor cmp|r|ca|study, too"mcnta|. "Þot anymorc. Ìo-
gass|`s study and a soon-to-bc-d|scusscd |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt
w|thhumanspcrformcd |n my |ab at LCL^strong|ysupport
thc hypothcs|sthatwcundcrstandthc mcnta|statcsofothcrs
by s|mu|at|ng thcm |n our bra|n, and wc ach|cvc th|s cnd by
wayofm|rrorncurons. ^s Ì statcdcar||cr, thcfactthatm|rror
ncurons codc d|ncrcnt|y thc samc grasp|ng act|on assoc|atcd
w|thd|ncrcnt |ntcnt|ons÷noton|ywhcnwcpcrform thc ac-
t|on, buta|sowhcnwcobscrvc |t |nothcrs÷suggcststhatour
bra|ns arc capab|c of m|rror|ng thc dccpcst aspccts of thc
m|ndsofothcrs, cvcnat thcnnc-gra|ncd |cvc| ofas|ng|ccc||.
I C AN H E AR WHAT YOU ARE DOI NG
Ì am work|ng |n my stud|o whcn Ì hcar a d|st|nct|vc no|sc
from thc ||v|ng room. My daughtcr Catcr|na stud|cs ba||ct,
andshc|satthcagcandpronc|cncy|cvc||nwh|chba||cr|nas
start work|ng cn po|ntc. 5hc |s vcry cxc|tcd and br|ngs hcr
ncwpo|ntc shocshomc for cxtrapract|cc. Ìcrstcpsw|ththc
po|ntcshocsmakcad|st|nct|vcsoundonthchardwoodnoors.
} 4
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
By s|mp|y||stcn|ng, Ì knowwhatshc |sdo|ng. Ì knowa |otof
th|ngs by s|mp|y ||stcn|ng. C|app|ng, tcar|ng papcr, typ|ng,
brcak|ng pcanuts÷thcsc arc a|| act|ons that producc sounds
and can bc cas||y rccogn|:cd by a|| ofus. Vc don`t g|vc th|s
ab|||ty a sccond thought. Most pcop|c th|nk "wc do |t, that`s
a||, "butncurosc|cnt|stsa|waysaskhow. ^ndofcoursc ncuro-
sc|cnt|sts fam|||ar w|th m|rror ncurons wondcr whcthcr thcsc
ncuronsm|ghtp|ay aro|c |nhc|p|ngusrccogn|:cact|onss|m-
p|yfromhcar|ngthcm. Lvc|yncKoh|crandChr|st|anKcyscrs
arc two such |nvcst|gators. Jhcypcrformcd thc|rcxpcr|mcnts
onth|ssubj cct|nC|acomoK|::o|att|`s |ab.
Ìo||ow|ngthcusua|proccdurcs,Koh|crandKcyscrs |dcnt|-
ncd m|rror ncurons |n arcaÌ5 by mcasur|ng thcrcsponscs of
thc cc||s wh||c thc monkcys wcrc pcrform|ng goa|-or|cntcd
act|ons and thcn s|mp|y watch|ng cxpcr|mcntcrs pcrform
thc samc act|ons. Jhc kcy, c|car|y, was that thcsc act|ons-
brcak|ng a pcanut, r|pp|ng a shcct of papcr, and so on-
producc sound. ( ^s a contro|, thc monkcys wcrc a|so tcstcd
for wh|tc no|sc and othcr sounds unrc|atcd to thc act|ons.
Jhc contro| sounds wcrc uscd to ru|c out thc poss|b|||ty that
m|rror ncuron rcsponscs to act|on sounds wcrc s|mp|y duc to
thc arous|ng, nonspcc|nc cffcct of any sound. ) V|th a|| thc
ncccssary groundwork |n p|acc, Koh|cr and Kcyscrs thcn
rccordcd m|rrorncuronrcsponscsundcrthrccd|hcrcntcxpcr-
|mcnta| cond|t|ons. v|s|onandsound, v|s|onon|y,andsound
on|y.Ìorthc"v|s|onon|y"cond|t|on,obj cctswcrcprcparcdso
that thcy cou|d bc man|pu|atcd to pcrform an act|onv|sua||y
s|m||ar to thc natura||yoccurr|ngact|on but w|thoutproduc-
} §
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|ng thc sound. Ìor |nstancc, thc pcanuts wcrc a|rcadybrokcn
|n two parts and mcrc|y hc|d |n thc |n|t|a|pos|t|on as |fthcy
wcrc |ntact.Jhcpapcrthatwasr|ppcdwaswct, so|tproduccd
no sound. Ìn thc "sound on|y" cond|t|on, d|g|t|:cd act|on
soundswcrc uscd.Jhcrcwasnov|sua|st|mu|at|onata||.
Jhc rcsu|ts wcrc c|car and dcnn|t|vc. thc m|rror ncurons
dischargcd to a|| thrcc cxpcr|mcnta| cond|t|ons. 5omc d|d
sccm to rcspond s||ght|y morc v|gorous|y for thc "v|s|on and
sound" cond|t|on, but thc "v|s|on on|y" and "sound on|y"
cond|t|ons a|so y|c|dcd robust m|rror ncuron rcsponscs.' '
Jhcsc rcsu|ts arc vcry |mportant bccausc thcy dcmonstratc
that m|rror ncurons codc thc act|ons of othcr pcop|c |n a
fa|r|y comp|cx, mu|t|moda|, and rathcr abstract way. Jhosc
cc||s that nrc whcn thc monkcy hcrsc|f |s pcrform|ng thc
sound-produc|ng act|on a|so d|schargc at thc mcrc sound rc-
su|t|ng from somcbody c|sc`s act|ons. Jhat |s, whcn wc pcr-
cc|vcthcsoundofapcanutbc|ngbrokcn, wc a|so act|vatc |n
our bra|n thcmotorp|an ncccssaryto brcakthc pcanut our-
sc|vcs, as |fthcon|ywaywccanactua||yrccogn|:cthatsound
|s by s|mu|at|ng or |ntcma||y |m|tat|ng |n our own bra|n thc
act|on thatproduccsthatsound.
Ìurthcrmorc, thc rcsponsc of m|rror ncurons to aud|tory
|nput |s cr|t|ca| cv|dcncc |n support ofthc hypothcs|:cd cvo-
|ut|onary ||nk bctwccn thcsc bra|n cc||s and |anguagc, thc
hypothcs|s proposcd short|y aftcrthc d|scovcry ofm|rrorncu-
rons by C|acomo K|::o|att| and M|chac| ^rb|b |n a papcr
t|t|cd "Languagc V|th|n Cur Crasp. "' ` Jhc argumcnt that
m|rrorncurons arc thc cvo|ut|onaryprccursors ofncura| c|c-
M O N K E Y S E E , M O N K E Y D O
mcntsthatcnab|chuman|anguagcwasbascdnrstofa||onan
anatom|ca| obscrvat|on. arca Ì5 ofthc monkcy bra|n, whcrc
m|rror ncurons wcrc rccordcd for thc nrst t|mc, |s a homo-
|oguc ( that |s, |t corrcsponds anatom|ca||y) to an arca ofthc
human bra|n ca||cd Broca`s arca. Broca`s arca |s an |mpor-
tant bra|n ccntcr for |anguagc, namcd aftcr thc n|nctccnth-
ccnturyÌrcnchncuro|og|stwho d|scovcrcd that a |cs|onhcrc
|s typ|ca||y assoc|atcd w|th a d|sordcr ( Broca`s aphas|a) that
ahcctsmost|y|anguagcproduct|on.
Jhc argumcnt for m|rror ncurons as |anguagc prccursors
a|so stcms from thc subt|c cons|dcrat|on that thcsc cc||s, by
cod|ng bothforyour act|on and your obscrvancc ofthat ac-
t|on |n othcrs, sccm to crcatc a sort of common codc÷and
thcrcforc a sortof"par|ty"÷bctwccn you and thc othcr |nd|-
v|dua|. 5cvcra| ycars bcforc m|rror ncurons wcrc d|scovcrcd,
^|v|nL|bcrmanhadproposcdthat, s|ncc scnd|ngandrccc|v-
|ng a mcssagc rcqu|rc, rcspcct|vc|y, product|on and pcrccp-
t|on, thc two proccsscs of product|on and pcrccpt|on must
somchow bc ||nkcd and havc, at somc po|nt, thc samc for-
mat. ' ºM|rrorncurons sccm toprov|dcprcc|sc|yth|scommon
format.
Ìowcvcr, thc hypothcs|s that m|rror ncurons arc prccur-
sors of ncura| systcms dcd|catcd to |anguagc had to facc a
prob|cm. ^ftcr a||, |anguagc was |n|t|a||y spokcn, occurr|ng
on|y through thc aud|tory moda||ty, whcrcas thc scnsory rc-
sponscs ofm|rrorncuronshadbccn|n|t|a||y|nvcst|gatcdon|y
|n thc v|sua| doma|n. Jhc d|scovcry by Lvc|ync Koh|cr and
Chr|st|an Kcyscrs that m|rror ncurons a|so rcspond to act|on
} /
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
souns prov|dcs strong support to thc hypothcs|:cd ||nks bc-
twccnm|rrorncurons and |anguagc.Vcw|||cxp|orcthc|an-
guagcqucst|ons |nmuchmorc dcta|| |nchaptcr3.
MIRRORING T OOL U S E
Lnt|l qu|tc rcccnt|y |twas bc||cvcdthat on|ywc humans usc
too|s.Vcnowknowth|s |snottruc. Ch|mpan:ccsshowsomc
ab|||ty |n us|ng too|s÷noth|ng ||kc ours, of coursc, but rca|
ncvcrthc|css, and sumc|cnt for sc|cnt|sts to study thc cvo-
|ut|onary progrcss|on of too| usc. Ìn d|hcrcnt |ocat|ons |n
^fr|ca, ch|mpan:ccs usc thc samc too|, ast|ck, to ach|cvcthc
samc goa|÷cat|ng ants÷butthcyuscth|s st|ck |nfundamcn-
ta||y d|hcrcnt ways from arca to arca. Ìn thc abscncc ofany
apparcntd|ffcrcncc |n thc cnv|ronmcntsofthcd|hcrcntpop-
u|at|ons, thc cu|tura|d|hcrcnccsuggcsts that thc waytoo|usc
|s |camcd and transm|ttcd bctwccn ch|mpan:ccs |s most|y
through obscrvat|on and thcn |m|tat|on. ' ' Ìs |t poss|b|c that
m|rrorncuronsarcthcbra|ncc||sthata||owsuch|cam|ngv|a
|m|tat|on'
Ìn macaquc monkcys, as wc havc sccn, m|rror ncurons do
not rcspond to thc s|ght ofa pantom|mc ofan act|on. Jh|s
makcs scnsc bccausc m|rror ncurons sccm to codc on|y for
thosc act|ons that thc monkcy can pcrform÷that arc |n |ts
motorrcpcrto|rc, aswcsay÷andmonkcysdonotpantom|mc.
By cxtcns|on, m|rror ncurons |n monkcys shou|d havc on|y a
||m|tcd ro|c |n obscrvat|ona| |cam|ng |n gcncra| and |n too|-
usc|carn|ng |n part|cu|ar, bccausc monkcysarcnotso sk|||cd
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
at us|ng too|s. Jakc thc |apancsc monkcys who "wash pota-
tocs, " a bchav|or that apparcnt|y sprcadfrom onc prccoc|ous
|nd|v|dua| to thc who|c commun|ty. Jh|s famous casc has
spawncd a s|gn|ncant dcbatc |n an|ma| bchav|or ||tcraturc.
Ìn|t|a||y, thc bchav|or was takcn as cv|dcncc that monkcys
can |m|tatc novc| act|ons, but |t was thcn argucd that th|s
may not nt a str|ngcnt dcnn|t|on of |m|tat|vc |cam|ng. ^c-
cord|ng to thc toughcr standard, |m|tat|vc |carn|ng rcqu|rcs
|cam|ng a novc| movcmcnt for your motor rcpcrto|rc by
watch|ng somcbody c|sc pcrform|ng thc movcmcnt. ^ poss|-
b|c cxp|anat|on of thc monkcys` bchav|or |s that wh||c thc
nrst monkcy washcsthcpotatocs, thc attcnt|onofthc obscrv-
|ng monkcys |s d|rcctcd to thc water ( th|s |s ca||cd st|mu|us
cnhanccmcnt) . Jhc ncxt t|mc thc obscrv|ngmonkcy |s c|osc
to thc watcr w|th a potato |n hcr hand, a s|mp|c tr|a|-and-
crrormcchan|smdur|ngthc man|pu|at|onofthcpotato|nthc
watcr may havc hc|pcd thc an|ma| to |carn how to wash thc
potato. Jh|swou|dnotconst|tutc |m|tat|vc |carn|ng,wh|ch|s
ofa h|ghcrordcr. Cnc fact |nfavorofth|s morc conscrvat|vc
cxp|anat|on |s that thc pract|cc ofwash|ng potatocs d|d not
sprcad as rap|d|y as onc wou|d havc cxpcctcd. Jh|s casc and
s|m||ar oncs havc provokcd a var|cty ofop|n|ons w|th|n thc
commun|tyofsc|cnt|stsstudy|ngan|ma|bchav|or,but|t|sfa|r
to say that thc maj or|tyofsc|cnt|sts do not cons|dcr wash|ng
potatocs as strong cv|dcncc |n favor of |m|tat|vc |carn|ng |n
|apancscmonkcys.
Ìf thc wash|ng-potatocs bchav|or d|d sprcad most|y
through st|mu|us cnhanccmcnt rathcr than |m|tat|vc |carn-
|ng, thcn |t |svcry un||kc|y that m|rrorncurons p|aycd a cr|t-
} V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
ua| ro|c, s|ncc thcsc cc||s rcspond to thc obscrvat|on of ac-
t|on. ^ttcnd|ng to |nan|matc th|ngs such as watcr |s not
w|th|n thc|rpurv|cw. Ycs, m|rrorncuronsmusthavc bccn|n-
vo|vcd |n thc rccogn|t|on of man|pu|at|ng and ho|d|ng thc
potato, butthc|rro|c|nsprcad|ngth|sbchav|orwou|dbc||m-
|tcd to th|s |n|t|a|form ofact|onrccogn|t|on. Ìf, on thc othcr
hand, thcsprcadofthcbchav|or|s attr|butcdtosomcformof
|m|tat|vc |cam|ng, thcnonc m|ght cons|dcr a morc d|rcct |n-
vo|vcmcnt of m|rror ncurons. Jh|s hypothcs|s a|so rcqu|rcs
somc cv|dcncc that m|rror ncurons may actua||y rcspond to
thc obscrvat|on ofsomc act|ons that arc not yet |nthc motor
rcpcrto|rc ofthc monkcys. Jh|s cv|dcncc has bccn prov|dcd
by Ì|crÌranccscoÌcrrar|, an ctho|og|st who had stud|cd an|-
ma| bchav|or ( cspcc|a||y forms of soc|a| contag|on |n mon-
kcys) for ycars bcforc tra|n|ng as a ncurophys|o|og|st |n thc
|abofC|acomoK|::o|att|. Ìcrc |swhathcfound.
K|::o|att|`s prcv|ous nnd|ng was that m|rror ncurons that
nrc at thc s|ght of a human cxpcr|mcntcr grasp|ng a ra|s|n
w|thaprcc|s|ongr|p ( thumbandthc |ndcxnngcr) donotnrc
whcnthccxpcr|mcntcrgraspsthc ra|s|nw|th atoo|,p||crsfor
|nstancc. Jh|s m|ght sccm odd on nrst cons|dcrat|on, butrc-
ca||thchypothcs|sthatm|rrorncuronsdonotnrcatthcs|ght
of act|ons that arc not part ofthc monkcy`s motor rcpcrto|rc
( thus thc d|s|ntcrcst of thcsc cc||s |n pantom|mc, bccausc
monkcysdon`t pantom|mc) . L|kcw|sc, monkcys do not natu-
ra||yusc too|s, sothcmonkcy`sm|rrorncurons draw a cr|t|ca|
d|hcrcncc bctwccn thc prcc|s|on gr|p and ho|d|ng a pa|r of
p||crs.
Ìcrrar| and h|s co||cagucs wcrc rccord|ng ncurons most|y
M O N K E Y S E E. M O N K E Y D O
hom thc |atcra| part of arca Ì5, a scctor prcv|ous|y |nvcst|-
gatcdon|yw|thrcgardto|tsmotorpropcrt|cs,w|ththcmaj or-
|ty of cc||s cod|ngfor mouth act|ons. Ìcrrar|'s work camc up
w|th much morc spcc|nc data. ^|most a|| of thcsc latcra| Ì5
cc||s had motor propcrt|cs, but thcrc was a strong d|v|s|on
of |abor. ^pprox|matc|y onc-fourth d|schargcd dur|ng hand
movcmcnts on|y, onc-fourth dur|ng mouth movcmcnts on|y,
and onc-ha|f dur|ng hand and mouth movcmcnts. ^pprox|-
matc|ytwo-th|rds ofthcccl|srcspondcdto v|sualst|mu||, thc
maj or|ty wcrc m|rror ncurons rcspond|ng to thc obscrvat|on
ofact|ons ofthc cxpcr|mcntcrs. Jhc novcl nnd|ng, howcvcr,
wasthata robust cont|ngcnt ( approx|matc|y Z0pcrccntofall
rccordcd cc||s) rcspondcd to thc obscrvat|on of act|ons per­
fored with tools (a pa|r ofp||crsand a st|ck w|th a mctal t|p) .
Jhcsc m|rror ncurons rcspond|ng t otoo| usc also rcspondcd
to act|ons pcrformcd w|th thc hands and thc mouth, but
much morcwcak|y. Jhc ma|n |ntcrcst ofth|s Z0 pcrccnt m|-
nor|tywas too|usc. ' º
Jh|s d|scovcryofa cont|ngcntofm|rrorncurons rcspond-
|ng to thc obscrvat|on of "too|-usc" act|ons |s thcorct|ca||y
vcry |mportant. Jhcsc monkcys tcstcd by Ìcrrar| d|d not usc
too|s thcmsc|vcs,soth|s |sthc nrstcv|dcnccofm|rrorncurons
thatprcfcr act|ons that arc not |n thc motor rcpcrto|rc ofthc
obscrv|ng an|ma|. Ìow shou|d wc |ntcrprct thcsc nnd|ngs '
Jhc nrst conccpt that comcs to m|nd |s that m|rror ncurons
arc conccrncd w|thgoals morc than w|th thc spcc|nc act|ons
to ach|cvc thosc goa|s÷a po|nt dcmonstratcd |n thc prcv|-
ous|y d|scusscd data on thc rolc ofm|rrorncurons |n d|st|n-
gu|sh|ng bctwccn |ntcnt|ons. Jhc goa| |s thc samc whcthcr
4
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thcpcanut |sbrokcnw|ththchandorw|thp||crs. Jhcgoa||s
thcsamcwhcthcrthcfood|sgraspcdw|ththchandandcatcn
orspcarcdw|th ast|ckandcatcn.
Jh|s |ntcrprctat|on |s p|aus|b|c, but |t docs not cxp|a|n
why |t took |nvcst|gators so |ong to nnd ncurons rcspond|ng
to too| usc÷approx|matc|y tcn ycars from thc nrst obscr-
vat|on on m|rror ncurons. Jhc Ìarma group had rcpcatcd|y
attcmptcd to mcasurc such rcsponsc but w|thout succcss. Ì
thcrcforc th|nk |t |s ||kc|ythat thcsc Z0 pcrccntofthc m|rror
ncurons|n|atcra|Ì5 arcthc rcsu|tofthc rcpcatcd cxposurc of
thc an|ma|s to thc s|ght ofhuman cxpcr|mcntcrs us|ng too|s.
Jh|scxp|anat|onofÌcrrar|`snnd|ngssuggcststhatm|rrorncu-
ronscanacqu|rcncwpropcrt|cs, akcyfcaturc tosupport|m|-
tat|vc|cam|ng.Jhc format|on ofm|rror ncurons rcspond|ng
to too| usc may bc thc nrstncura| stcp |n thc monkcy`sbra|n
to subscqucnt|y acqu|r|ng thc motor sk||| to usc thosc vcry
samc too|s. M|rrorncurons thatrcspondto too|uscarc cnt|c-
|ng cv|dcncc ||nk|ng m|rrorncurons to |m|tat|vc bchav|or, a
powcrfu| mcchan|smfor|cam|ng.
I KNOW T HAT YOU ARE COP YI NG ME
Jhc casc ofthc|apancscmonkcyswhowashthc|rpotatocs |s
j ust onc cxamp|c of an |ntcrcst |n |m|tat|on among an|ma|s
that datcs back at |cast to Larw|n, who |cft dcta||cd dcscr|p-
t|ons ofvar|ousforms ofm|m|cry |n honcybccs.Jhcrc |s on-
go|nghcatcddcbatc onthcqucst|on, asthco|dparad|gmhas
bccnca||cd|ntoqucst|on.^mongthcnatura||stsofthcn|nc-
4
Z
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
tccnth ccntury thcrc was a gcncra| conscnsus that |m|tat|on
was qu|tc w|dcsprcad. Ìor |nstancc, Ccorgc Komancs's book
onan|ma||ntc|||gcncc, oncofthc mostfamousctho|ogytrca-
t|scs of thc |attcr n|nctccnth ccntury, dcscr|bcs monkcys as
constant |m|tators. "thcy carry on th|s pr|nc|p|c to |ud|crous
|cngth. " ^t thc t|mc, |m|tat|on was not cons|dcrcd thc cx-
prcss|on ofapart|cu|ar|yh|ghformof|ntc|||gcncc. Þow |t |s.
Ìndccd, arcccntco||cct|onofcssays dcscr|bcs |m|tat|on as "a
rarc ab|||ty that |s mndamcnta||y ||nkcd to charactcr|st|ca||y
human forms of |ntc|||gcncc, |n part|cu|ar to |anguagc, cu|-
turc, andthc ab|||ty to undcrstandothcrm|nds. "Vhata sca
changc s|ncc Komancs's t|mcs '` ´ ^nd w|th th|s sca changc
comcs anothcr. thccaut|onofrcscarchcrs toacknow|cdgc |m-
|tat|on as such. Bchav|or prcv|ous|y cons|dcrcd |m|tat|vc |n
monkcys |s now typ|ca||y cxp|a|ncd w|th somc othcr, "s|m-
p|cr" cogn|t|vc mcchan|sms ( such as thc supposcd st|mu|us-
cnhanccmcntmcchan|smthatm|ghtcxp|a|nthc sprcad|ngof
potatowash|ng |n|apancsc monkcys ) . Jh|s |snow thc dom|-
nant v|cwamongcxpcrts, butthcymust st||| dca| w|th hard-
to-rcmtc cv|dcncc for |m|tat|vc bchav|or |n monkcys. Lvcn
nconatcs of rhcsus monkcys arc ab|c to |m|tatc somc fac|a|
and hand gcsturcs, such as ||p smack|ng, tonguc protrus|on,
mouth and hand opcn|ng, and opcn|ng and c|os|ng of thc
cycs. '
`
5t|||, most scho|ars cons|dcr truc |m|tat|on÷that |s,
thcab|||tyto |cam s|mp|y from obscrvat|on÷||m|tcd to hu-
mans andmaybc thcgrcatapcs.
Jh|sdcbatcgocsto thc hcartofthc csscnt|a|qucst|onun-
dcr|y|nga||rcscarchonmacaqucmonkcys.Vhydothcyhavc
m|rror ncurons ' Jhc rcp||cs vary. 5omc rcscarchcrs say that
4}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc rcalrolc ofm|rrorncurons |nmonkcys |sfor act|onrecog�
nition, not act|on |m|tat|on. By act|vat|ng m|rror ncurons |n
thc|r own bra|ns, obscrv|ng monkcys rccogn|:c thc act|ons of
othcr |nd|v|duals and apparcntly, to j udgc by thc data from
Lco Ìogass|`s cxpcr|mcnts on |ntcnt|on, thc goal ofthosc ac-
t|ons as wcll. Jh|s |s obv|ously a vcry |mportant mcchan|sm
that fac|l|tatcs soc|al bchav|or |n monkcys. Ìowcvcr, othcr
sc|cnt|sts÷and Ì am dcnn|tcly onc ofthcm÷po|nt out that
thcrc |s somc cv|dcncc, albc|t notovcrwhclm|ng, for truc |m-
|tat|on |n monkcys. '' ^nd cvcn |fonc wants to d|scardsuch
cv|dcncc, m|rror ncurons may also bc |nvolvcd |n var|ous
forms of"contag|on" (a tcchn|cal tcrm that docs not |mp|y
d|scasc) . Ìor |nstancc, cvcn assum|ng that thc truc mccha�
n|sm of thc sprcad|ng of potato wash|ng among |apancsc
monkcys |s st|mulus cnhanccmcnt, m|rror ncurons may bc
cr|t|cal |n thcproccssby hclp|ng thc rccogn|t|on ofthc ma-
n|pulat|vc hand act|ons ofthc obscrvcd monkcy. ^s |t hap-
pcns, C|acomo K|::olatt|, whosc |ntu|t|ons arc to my m|nd
w|thout parallcl |n th|s ncld, has bccn qu|tc conscrvat|vc on
thcsc qucst|ons, cmphas|:|ngthc rolcforthcscncurons |n ac�
t|on rccogn|t|on only. Ìn rcccnt ycars, howcvcr, hc has bccn
cons|dcr|ngbroadcrrolcs, and hc |s conv|nccd ofthc rolc of
m|rror ncurons |n cod|ng |ntcnt|ons. ( ^s Ì`vc notcd, h|s col�
lcaguc Lco Ìogass|`s grasp|ng-to-cat vcrsus grasp|ng�to-p|acc
cxpcr|mcntshavchadapowcrful |mpactonthc cnt|rcncuro-
sc|cncc commun|ty. ) Ì bcl|cvc thatC|acomo |s now morc rc-
ccpt|vc to thc |dca thatmonkcys do |m|tatc andthatm|rror
ncuronswouldbc cr|t|calforsuch |m|tat|on.
Cfcoursc, |m|tat|oncanworkbothways, andarcccntbc-
44
M O N K E Y S E E . M O N K E Y D O
hav|ora| study |n monkcys has prov|dcd |nfcrcnt|al cv|dcncc
that m|rror ncurons play an |mportant ro|c |n thc ab|l|ty to
ngurc out |fanothcr somcbody |s imitating you. Ìcrc, thc cx-
pcr|mcntcrs adaptcd a parad|gmdcv|scdby thcdcvc|opmcn-
ta|psycho|og|st^ndrcwMc|t:on, an cxpcrt |n |m|tat|on and
soc|a| cogn|t|on |n bab|cs and young ch|ldrcn. Lur|ng thc
in|t|a| cxpcr|mcnta| phasc, ca||cd thc basc||nc pcr|od, thc
monkcys obscrvcd two cxpcr|mcntcrs, cach man|pu|at|ng a
woodcn cubc w|th a ho|c |n cach s|dc. Jhc cxpcr|mcntcrs
wcrc m|m|ck|ng typ|ca| act|ons thc monkcy would d|rcct at
thccubc, suchasb|t|ng, pok|ng atthc ho|cs, and so on. Jhcn
a th|rd cubc was p|accd w|th|n rcach of thc monkcy. Vhcn
thcmonkcystartcdman|pu|at|ngthccubc, oncofthctwocx-
pcr|mcntcrs |m|tatcdaccuratclythcmonkcy'sact|onsd|rcctcd
atthc cubc. Jhc sccond cxpcr|mcntcr, |ncontrast, pcrformcd
d|ncrcnt act|ons. Ìor|nstancc, |fthc monkcywas pok|ng ata
ho|c, thc |m|tator would also pokc, wh||c thc non- |m|tator
wou|d b|tc. Jhc monkcy's bchav|or was tapcd and analy:cd
w|th |ntr|gu|ngrcsu|ts. Ìn|t|al|y, thc monkcyd|dnotshowany
v|sua| prcfcrcncc bctwccn cxpcr|mcntcrs, but thcn thc mon-
kcy c|car|y |ookcd much |ongcr at thc |m|tat|ng cxpcr|-
mcntcr. ''C|car|y, thcmonkcy÷w|thwhatrcscarchcrsca||an
"|mp||c|t" |cvc| ofundcrstand|ng÷was ab|c to rccogn|:c that
oncofthc twohumanswas |m|tat|nghcr. ^nan|ma|w|than
"cxp||c|t" undcrstand|ng that shc |s bc|ng |m|tatcd w|ll typ|-
ca||y dcmonstratc bchav|ora| stratcg|cs to tcst thc |m|tator,
such as suddcn changcs |n bchav|or wh||c look|ng d|rcctly at
thc |m|tator to gaugc thc rcsponsc. Jhc monkcys |nvolvcd
|n thc Ìcrrar| study d|d not show th|s bchav|or. Jhc|r rccog-

M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
n|t|on that thcy wcrc bc|ng |m|tatcd was undcrstood on|y
|mpl|c|tly, but cvcn th|s morc ||m|tcd undcrstand|ng has an
|mportantsoc|a|va|uc.
Jhc c|ass|cs|ng|c-cc||cxpcr|mcntson m|rror ncurons that
m|ght corroboratc thcsc bchav|ora| rcsu|ts havc not yct bccn
conductcd. Jhcy w||| bc, and |t |s vcry ||kc|y that thcy w|||
corroboratc thc bchav|ora| study. ^nd w|th that not-so-bo|d
prcd|ct|on, Ì c|osc th|s chaptcr on thc cxpcr|mcntat|on on
m|rror ncurons of thc macaquc monkcys at thc |cvc| of thc
s|ng|ccc||÷v|ta||y|mportantwork, noton|ybccauscof|ts|n-
fcrcnt|al valuc for th|nk|ng about our own bra|ns (wh|ch wc
gcncra||ycannotacccss atthat|cvc|, for cth|ca| rcasons) , but
a|so bccausc |t tc||s us whcrc to a|m thc ncw, non|nvas|vc
tcchno|ogyw|thwh|chwccan studythcm|rrorncuronsystcm
|nhumans. Ì now tumto thcsc mach|ncs and th|sfasc|nat|ng
rcscarch, wh|chconnrms |ncvcrywaythc |mportancc ofm|r-
rorncuronsfor ourcxpcr|cncc ascomp|cxsoc|a|crcaturcs.
Si mon Says
Wn people are fee to do as they please,
they usually imitate eah other.
-8Ri C HOi i 8 R1
COP YC AT C E L L S
G m|tat|on |s notrcstr|ctcd to gamcs such as 5|mon 5ays. Cur
l
dr|vc to |m|tatc sccms to bc powcrfu||y prcscnt at b|rth and
ncvcr dcc||ncs. Conc |s thc n|nctccnth-ccntury pcrspcct|vc
that |m|tat|on |s prcscnt j ustabout cvcrywhcrc |n thc an|ma|
k|ngdom, a|| thc way "down" to Larw|n`s honcybccs. Ìn fact,
|m|tat|on|sdccmcdsuchapcrvas|vcfcaturcofhumanbchav-
|or that scvcra| authors havc bu||t thcor|cs p|ac|ng |t front
and ccntcr. Jhc most outspokcn |s probab|y 5usan B|ack-
morc, who argucs |n hcr book The Meme Mahine that what
fundamcnta||yd|st|ngu|shcshumansfrom a||othcr an|ma|s |s
notrca||y|anguagc, thc usua|cand|datcfor th|s acco|adc,but
thc ab|||tyto |m|tatc.
Ìnthc I º70s, thc^mcr|canpsycho|og|st^ndrcw Mc|t:on
|n|t|atcd a rcvo|ut|on of sorts |n dcvc|opmcnta| psycho|ogy
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
whcn hc dcmonstratcd that ncwborns |nst|nct|vc|y |m|tatc
somcrud|mcntarymanua|andfac|a|gcsturcs. Jhcyoungcstof
thc bab|cs tcstcd by Mc|t:onwas a|| offorty-onc minutes o|d.
Lvcry sccond of h|s ||fc had bccn documcntcd |n ordcr to
dcmonstratcthathchadnotprcv|ous|ysccnthcgcsturcsthat
Mc|t:onpcrformcdfor h|s cxpcr|mcnt. 5t|||, thc baby man-
agcd to |m|tatc thosc gcsturcs. Jhus, Mc|t:onargucd, an |n-
natc mcchan|smmustbc prcscnt |n thc ncwbom`sbra|n that
a||ows such rud|mcntary |m|tat|vc bchav|or. Jh|s cv|dcncc
was rcvo|ut|onary bccausc dogma hc|d that bab|cs |cam to
|m|tatc |n thc sccond ycar ofl|fc, a bc||cfor|g|nat|ng |n thc
work of|can Ì|agct, probab|y thc most |nnucnt|a| ngurc cvcr
|n thc hc|d of dcvc|opmcnta| psycho|ogy. Ìn cncct, thc Ì|a-
gct schoo| |mp||c|t|y suggcstcd that bab|cs |cam to |m|tatc,
but Mc|t:on`s data suggcstcd that thcy may actua||y |cam by
imitating. '
Jh|s |sancnormousd|ncrcncc, ofcoursc, and thchypoth-
cs|s thatwc |camby |m|tat|ng prcscnts thosc ofuswho work
w|th m|rror ncurons a wondcm| opportun|ty to n|| thc cx-
p|anatory gap. C|vcn that ncwboms` bra|ns do not havc
h|gh|y soph|st|catcd cogn|t|vc sk|||s, thc fact that thcy can
|m|tatc suggcsts that thc mcchan|sm for th|s |m|tat|on dc-
pcnds on rc|at|vc|y s|mp|c ncura| mcchan|sms. Vhcn Mc|-
t:on madc h|s d|scovcr|cs |n thc I º70s, m|rror ncurons had
not bccn d|scovcrcd÷not |n thc macaquc bra|n, not |n thc
humanbra|n÷andwou|dnotbcforanothcrnftccn ycars. ^s
wc |carncd morc about thcsc ncurons, somc of us cxpcctcd
thatthcym|ghtbc |nvo|vcd |n car|y |m|tat|on |n bab|cs, but
howwou|dwc gathcrthcbra|ndata rcqu|rcd to connrm th|s
S I M O N S AY S
hypothcs|s ' Cur |mag|ng mach|ncs rcqu|rc that thc subj ccts
||cvcryst|||. |t |snotcasytoconv|nccbab|cstodo that.
Kcca|| thc cxpcr|mcnt d|scusscd |n thc nrst chaptcr |n
wh|ch thc monkcyp|ay|ngw|th thc cubc dcmonstratcd morc
|ntcrcst |n thc cxpcr|mcntcr who was |m|tat|ng thc monkcy
than|nthccxpcr|mcntcrwhowaspcrform|nganothcract|on.
Vc ca|| th|s an "|mp||c|t" |cvc| of undcrstand|ng, and wc
shou|d not bc surpr|scd to |carn that human bab|cs a|so cx-
prcss|t. Bab|csarcdc||ghtcdwhcnagrown-up |m|tatcs thcm.
ÌfÌ amattcnd|ngagathcr|ngw|thfr|cndsandayoungbaby |s
|nthchousc,thcnrstth|ngÌdo|s|m|tatcwhatthcbabydocs.
5uddcn|y Ì bccomc thcmostpopu|argrown-up |n thccycsof
thcch||d ( cxc|ud|ngthcparcnts,ofcoursc) . Bab|cs |ovcp|ay-
|ng|mitat|ongamcs. Cbv|ous|y,thcrc|sa|sop|cntyofrcc|pro-
ca||m|tat|onbctwccnparcnts and bab|cs. Ìnfact,th|sspcc|nc
|m|tat|on ( and chcm|stry) may bc onc ofthc maj or shap|ng
factors|nrc|nforc|ngm|rrorncurons |n thc dcvc|op|ngbra|n.
Ì w|||d|scussth|shypothcs|s |na|atcrchaptcr.
Jhcrc |s a|so p|cnty of rcc|proca| |m|tat|on among tod-
d|crs. Jhc dcvc|opmcnta| psycho|og|st |acquc||nc Þadc| fa-
c|||tatcs th|s form of spontancous |m|tat|on by sctt|ng up a
p|ayroom w|th two ofcvcryth|ng. Ìt |s ama:|ng to watch thc
spontancous |m|tat|on |n thcsc sctt|ngs among vcry young
ch||drcn who havc not yct dcvc|opcd |anguagc. Vhcn onc
ch||d puts on a hat, thc othcr ch||d puts on thc sccond hat,
whcnthcnrstch||daddssung|asscstothcoutnt,thcothcrfo|-
|ows su|t. Vhcn onc p|cks up an umbrc||a, thc othcr ch||d
p|cks up thc othcr umbrc||a. Vhcn thcnrst ch||d starts sp|n-
n|ngthcumbrc||a,thcsccondch||dsp|nshcrstoo. Lowngocs
4V
MIRRO RI N G P E O P L E
onc umbrc||a, down gocs thc othcr umbrc||a, grab a ba||oon,
grab a ba||oon. Jhcrc`s no cnd to thc |m|tat|on gamc. Lvcn
thc ||tt|c hand-wav|nggcsturcsofonc ch||d ho|d|ng thc ba|-
|oonarc|m|tatcdbythcothcrch||d. ^nothcrdcvc|opmcnta|
psycho|og|st, Caro|Lckcrman, has shownstrong t|csbctwccn
|m|tat|on and vcrba| commun|cat|on |n ch||drcn. Vhcn tod-
d|crs who do not know how to spcak |ntcract, thcy tcnd to
p|ay |m|tat|on gamcs. Jhc morc a todd|cr p|ays |m|tat|on
gamcs, thcmorc thc samcch||dw|||bcanucntspcakcraycar
ortwo|atcr. Ìm|tat|onsccms||kc thcprc|udcandthcfac|||ta-
torofvcrba|commun|cat|onamongyoungch||drcn.'
^s adu|ts, wc donot|osc our ch||dhood fondncss for and
cmp|oymcntof|m|tat|on.Cnthccontrary, |m|tat|vcbchav|or
|s strong|yprcscnt |n adu|thood. By transm|tt|ng soc|a| prac-
t|ccsfromgcncrat|on to gcncrat|on, |t has produccd thc vast
rangc of d|ncrcnt cuÍturcs throughout thc wor|d. Ìt has a|so
produccd thousands of |anguagcs ovcr tcns of thousands of
ycars, and |t|sst|||produc|ngrcg|ona|acccnts aswcspcak.
Ìn The Meme Mahine, 5usan B|ackmorc adoptcd thc kcy
word|nthct|t|cfromK|chardLawk|ns. ( 5hou|dÌ sayshc |m-
|tatcd h|m') Ìor h|s part, Lawk|ns was wc|| awarc of thc
powcr of |m|tat|on |n transm|tt|ng manncr|sms, pract|ccs,
|dcas, andcvcncnt|rcbc||cfsystcms, andhc co|ncdthctcrm
"mcmc" somc th|rty ycars ago |n h|s famous book The Selfsh
Gene. Ì|s |dca was to "|m|tatc" ( aga|n' ) or borrow conccpts
fromb|o|ogyand gcnct|csbycrcat|nganana|ogybctwccnthc
transm|ss|on of gcncs down thc gcncrat|ons w|th thc trans-
m|ss|on of bchav|ors down thc samc gcncrat|ons. Ì|s tcrm
( that |s, h|s mcmc) has bccomc so succcssfu| that |t |s now
§
0
S I M O N S AY S
|nc|udcd|nthc CxfordLng||shL|ct|onaryw|ththc fo||ow|ng
dcnn|t|on. "^n c|cmcnt ofa cu|turc that may bc cons|dcrcd
tobcpasscdonbynon-gcnct|cmcans, cspcc|a||y |m|tat|on. "
^s thc word "mcmc" |m|tatcs thc word "gcnc" to s|gn|p
transm|ss|onof|nformat|on |n thc bchav|ora| doma|n, so thc
word "mcmct|cs" now dcscr|bcs a who|c approach to cvo|u-
t|onary modc|s bascd on |m|tat|vc transm|ss|on.' Ìndccd,
mcmcs and mcmct|cs havc |nsp|rcd many authors and
spawncd a host of|dcas |n thc nc|d ofcvo|ut|on, cvcn |n thc
ph||osophy of m|nd. ' Lan|c| Lcnnctt, for onc, proposcd |n
Consciousness Explined that mcmcs p|aycdamaj orro|c |nthc
cvo|ut|onofhumanconsc|ousncss. Ìndccd, Lcnnctt sccs con-
sc|ousncss as thc product ofthc |ntcract|ons bctwccn mcmcs
and bra|ns. Ìc wr|tcs, "Jhc havcn a|| mcmcs dcpcnd on
rcach|ng|sthchumanm|nd, butahumanm|nd |s|tsc|fanar-
t|factcrcatcdwhcnmcmcs rcstructurcahumanbra|n|nordcr
to makc |t a bcttcr hab|tat for mcmcs. " ^ccord|ng to 5usan
B|ackmorc, mcmcs "arc thc vcry stun of our m|nds. Cur
mcmcs arcwhowcarc. "Jh|s conccpt maysounddangcrous|y
c|osc to||m|t|ngournot|onoffrccw|||. Ìfso, |tw|||notbcthc
|ast onc |nth|s bookto do so. ^s Ì d|scuss |atcr, our rcscarch
on m|rror ncurons suggcsts that our not|on offrcc w||| may
havc tobcrcv|scd.
Cnc aspcct ofmcmcs that B|ackmorc andothcrs cmpha-
s|:c, fo||ow|ng thc sc|nshncss of gcncs proposcd by K|chard
Lawk|ns, |s thc ab|||tyofmcmcs to rcp||catc thcmsc|vcs by a
proccssof"|nfcct|ng"a |argc numbcr ofbra|ns. ^ good cxam-
p|c ofvcry act|vc mcmcs arc thc ub|qu|tous "urban myths. "
Ìron|ca||ycnough,oncsuchrobusturbanmyth÷nowactua||y
§
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
an |ntcrnat|ona|myth÷|nvo|vcsthc d|scovcryofm|rrorncu-
rons thcmsc|vcs. Kcmcmbcr thc unccrta|nty about thc vcry
nrstscrcnd|p|tousobscrvat|onsofm|rrorncurons |nC|acomo
K|::o|att|`s |aboratory |n Ìarma' Cnc ofthc numcrous stor|cs
go|ngaround thcwor|d ofsc|cnccho|ds that\|ttor|oCa||csc
was||ck|ngan |cc-crcamconc|nthc|abwhcnancuronw|rcd
|nthcmacaquc`sbra|nstartcdnr|ng. Ì hcard th|sstoryscvcra|
t|mcs|n�cvcra|p|accs, andatsomcpo|ntÌstartcdbc||cv|ng|t
mysc|f. Ìnfact, Ì bccamc onc ofthcvch|c|cs for transm|tt|ng
th|smcmc, bccausc Ì to|dthc |cc-crcamstory |nscm|narsand
cvcn to somc j ourna||sts |ntcrv|cw|ng mc about m|rror ncu-
rons. Ì p|anncd to |ncorporatc |t |n th|s vcry book, but Ì dc-
c|dcd that Ì shou|d nrst ask K|::o|att| and Ca||csc about |ts
vcrac|ty. ^|as, |tturnsoutthatthc|cc-crcamstory|snottruc
ata||.Þobodyknowshowstartcd|torwhy, but |t|scharm|ng
and has provcd to bc an appca||ng and tcnac|ous story, both
to tc|| and tohcar.
^sthcyputtogcthcrthc |mp||cat|onsofthc|rpu::||ngd|s-
covcr|cs |n Ìarma, K|::o|att|andh|s co||cagucswcrcfam|||ar
w|ththc thcoryofmcmcs, andthcyrca||:cdwhcnthc var|ous
cxp|anatory p|cccsfc|| |nto p|acc that thc propcrt|cs ofthcsc
hcrctoforc unsuspcctcdncuronsnttcdpcrfcct|yw|th thatthc-
ory. Jhcscvcry spcc|a||:cd cc||ssccmcdtobcthcbra|n`s |dca|
cnab|crs of |m|tat|on as wc|| as ofothcr aspccts ofour soc|a|
bchav|or. Ìtwast|mcto |cammorcbycxpand|ngthcrcscarch
on m|rror ncurons |n monkcys to |nc|udc stud|cs |n humans
ut|||:|ngthcmarvc|ous,non|nvas|vc, andcost|ybra|n|mag|ng
tcchno|og|csnowatsc|cnt|sts`d|sposa|.
Jhc ncw work wou|d bu||d on a sma||numbcrofcxpcr|-
§
Z
S I M O N S AY S
mcnts w|th humans that had a|rcady produccd vcry |ntcrcst-
|ngrcsu|ts. Cnc wasscvcra|dccadcso|d. Ìn |t, twopsycho|o-
g|sts had obta|ncd what m|ght havc bccn thc vcry nrst
cxpcr|mcnta|c|ucaboutm|rrorncurons|nhumanswhcnthcy
mcasurcd thc musc|c act|v|ty ofsubj ccts obscrv|ng two |nd|-
v|dua|s arm wrcst||ng and, |n a d|ncrcnt sctup, a stuttcrcr
rcad|ng. Jhc two cxpcr|mcntcrs uscd c|cctrodcs to mcasurc
musc|c act|v|ty |n thc subj ccts` forchcads, pa|ms, ||ps, and
arms as thcy obscrvcd thc sccnc |n front ofthcm. Ìn ||ght of
whatwcknow today, thc rcsu|tsarcpcrfcct|yundcrstandab|c.
Jhcmusc|c act|v|tyrccordcd |n thc subj ccts` ||pswash|ghcst
wh||cthcywcrcwatch|ngthcstuttcrcr,act|v|tywash|ghcst|n
thcarmswh||csubj cctswcrc watch|ng thcarmwrcst|crs 'º|ust
as obj ccts |n cxpcr|mcnta| phys|cs tcnd to v|bratc whcn cx-
c|tcd by cncrgy at spcc|nc frcqucnc|cs, so thc musc|cs ofthc
obscrvcrssccmcdtorcsonatcw|ththc hardwork|ng musc|csof
thc act|vcpart|c|pants.
Jhcnthcrcwcrc thc "prototypc"|mag|ngcxpcr|mcntsus-
|ng pos|tron-cm|ss|on tomography ( ÌLJ) , a tcchn|quc that
uscs rad|oact|vc matcr|a| to mcasurc b|ood-now changcs and
othcr phys|o|og|ca| paramctcrs |n thc bra|n. Ìn thcsc stud|cs,
subj ccts wcrc askcd to grasp obj ccts, watch othcr pcop|c
grasp|ng obj ccts, |mag|nc grasp|ng obj ccts, or s|mp|y watch
graspab|c obj ccts w|thout grasp|ng thcm. Jhc nrst two
¸
f
thcsc cond|t|ons÷grasp|ngandwatch|ng÷wcrc c|osc|yana|-
ogous to thc s|ng|c-cc|| m|rror ncuron cxpcr|mcnts w|th
macaquc monkcys, ofcoursc, and thc rcsu|ts connrmcd that
two arcas ofthc

human bra|n, anatom|ca||y s|m||ar to thosc
|n thc macaquc bra|n that conta|n m|rror ncurons, wcrc a|so
§ }
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
act|vc dur|ng both cxccut|on and obscrvat|on ofgrasp|ng ac-
t|ons, and cvcndur|ng|mag|nat|onofgrasp|ngact|ons. Jh|s
was a|rcadyancxc|t|ng|n|t|a|rcsu|t. ' Ìtwasj o|ncdbyanothcr
car|y ( m|d- I ºº0s) attcmpttoco||cctcv|dcncc |nfavorofm|r-
ror ncurons |n thc human bra|n, onc |mag|ncd and orchcs-
tratcd by Luc|ano Ìad|ga, onc of thc ncurophys|o|og|sts |n
Ìarma. Jh|s work, us|ng transcran|a| magnct|c st|mu|at|on
(JM5) , wasso|ngcn|ousforthct|mcthatÌwanttocxp|a|n|t
|n somc dcta||. Ìt|s a|so s|m||ar |n awaytothc"musc|crcso-
nancc"cxpcr|mcntw|ththcarmwrcst|crsmanyycarscar||cr.
Ìor thc bas|c cxpcr|mcnt, a spcc|a||y dcs|gncd coppcr co||
wrappcd|np|ast|c|sp|accdovcrthchcadofthc|ntrcp|dsub-
j cct. ( Ì`m j ok|ng aboutthc "|ntrcp|d. " Jhc sctup sounds |n-
t|m|dat|ng, but|twas pcrfcct|yharm|css. ) L|cctrodcs tapcdto
thcsubj cct`sr|ghthandw||| rcg|stcranyact|v|ty|nthcscmus-
c|cs. V|th cvcryth|ng rcady to go, thc subj cctc|thcrwatchcs
an cxpcr|mcntcrpcrform|nggrasp|ng act|ons orsomc act|v|ty
comp|ctc|y unrc|atcd to thc hand÷for |nstancc, a d|mm|ng
||ght. Ìn cach casc, a m||d c|cctr|c pu|sc |s s|mu|tancous|y
routcd through thc co||, thus crcat|ng a magnct|c nc|d that
|nduccsan c|cctr|ccurrcntovcrthc surfacc ofthc bra|n.Jh|s
currcnt, |ntum, |nduccs a basc||nc cxc|tcmcnt |n thc cc||s of
thc pr|mary motor cortcx, wh|ch w||| thcn bc furthcr |nnu-
cnccd bythc obscrvat|onofthc choscnsccnc.
Ìad|ga`s rcason|ng was th|s. Ìf humans havc m|rror ncu-
rons, thcsc cc||sarcprobab|y|ocatcd |n thc prcmotorcortcx,
thc bra|nscctor|mportant formotorp|ann|ngandana|ogous
to arca Ì5 of thc macaquc bra|n conta|n|ng m|rror ncurons.
5|ncc thc prcmotorcortcx |sconncctcd to thc pr|marymotor
3
4
S I M O N S AY S
cortcx, thc cxc|tat|onofm|rrorncurons |n thc prcmotorcor-
tcx wh||c thc subj cct obscrvcs thc cxpcr|mcntcr grasp|ng an
obj cct shou|d a|so makc thc pr|mary motor cortcx morc cx-
c|tab|c, rcsu|t|ng |n s|gna|s scnt to thc hand musc|cs, wh|ch
wou|d tw|tch |nvo|untar||y. Cn thc othcr hand, any m|rror
ncurons wou|d bc |css cxc|tcd about thc d|mm|ng ||ght, and
any rcsu|t|ng tw|tch|ng |n thc hand wou|d bc |css pro-
nounccd. Ìndccd, Ìad|gaandco||cagucsmcasurcdj ustth|sd|f-
fcrcncc. watch|ng grasp|ng act|ons produccd b|ggcr muscu|ar
tw|tchcs than watch|ng thc d|mm|ng ||ght. Ìurthcrmorc,
thcscb|ggcrmuscu|ar tw|tchcs wcrcmcasurcdon|y |nthcspe­
cifc hn muscles that arc |nvo|vcd |n grasp|ng, not |n thc
many un|nvo|vcd musc|cs |n thc samc hand. Lvcn though
thc subj ccts wcrc comp|ctc|y st|||, thc motor systcm |n thc|r
bra|ns was qu|ct|y prctcnd|ng to pcrform ( or "s|mu|atc, " as
most sc|cnt|sts wou|d say) thc act|ons that thc subj ccts wcrc
s|mp|yobscrv|ng. º
Jhc rcsu|ts of a|| thrcc ofthcsc car||cr cxpcr|mcnts wcrc
comp|ctc|y |n ||nc w|th thc work on thc monkcys and qu|tc
conv|nc|ng as dcmonstrat|ons of thc cx|stcncc of a m|rror
ncuron systcm |n thc human bra|n. Þow, |n thc m|d- I ºº0s,
thcÌarmagroup wantcd to cn||sta||ofthccvcnncwcr tcch-
no|ogy |n thc scrv|cc ofth|s |mportantrcscarch. Jo th|s cnd,
\|ttor|o Ca||csc, thc co||caguc who brought to bcar on thc
rcscarch |n Ìarma h|s undcrstand|ng of Mcr|cau-Ìonty and
phcnomcno|ogy, organ|:cd and |cd an |ntcmat|ona| rcscarch
proj cctfundcdbythcÌumanÌront|cr5c|cnccÌrogramCrga-
n|:at|on. Jh|s group funds |ntcmat|ona| co||aborat|vc proj -
ccts, br|ng|ng togcthcr |abs from d|ncrcnt countr|cs, pcrhaps
§§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cvcnd|ncrcntcont|ncnts, as |nth|scasc.Jhc |dca |sto study
thc samc top|c us|ng d|ncrcnt mcthodo|og|cs, at thc samc
t|mc fostcr|ng |ntcmat|ona| co||aborat|ons that can prov|dc
cu|tura|cxchangcsbctwccn|abs.
Ca||csc's proj cct |nc|udcd scvcn |abs, nvc countr|cs, and
thrcc cont|ncnts. Jhrcc of thc |abs stud|cd monkcys. Jhc
Ìta||ans |n Ìarma cont|nucd thc|r |nvcst|gat|ons us|ng dcpth
c|cctrodcsto mcasurc s|ng|c-ncuronact|v|ty |nthc macaqucs.
^nothcr Luropcan group on thc bcaut|fu| Mcd|tcrrancan |s-
|andofCrctc|nvcst|gatcdthcmonkcys'm|rrorncuronsystcm
by us|ng bra|n |mag|ng rathcr than dcpth c|cctrodcs. Jhc
th|rd group work|ng w|th monkcys was a |apancsc tcam |n
Kyotothathad acccss to onc ofthc |argcst co|on|cs ofmon-
kcys |nthc who|cwor|d.Jhcywou|dbu||d asortof||brary, or
databasc, of thc monkcys' commun|cat|vc fac|a| cxprcss|ons,
wh|ch wou|d st|mu|atc futurc cxpcr|mcnts on thc monkcy
bra|n's rcsponscs tofac|a|cxprcss|ons.
Jwoothcrgroupswou|dstudythcm|rrorncuronsystcm|n
humans.Cnc, |nÌc|s|nk|, Ì|n|and, uscdmagnctocnccpha|og-
raphy ( MLC) , and thc othcr, at LCL^, ofwh|ch Ì was and
st||| am a mcmbcr, uscd ma|n|y funct|ona| magnct|c rcso-
nancc |mag|ng (fMKÌ ) . Jhc rcma|n|ng two groups wcrc, rc-
spcct|vc|y, computat|ona|ncurosc|cnt|sts |nLos^ngc|cs,who
workcd out modc|s of thc m|rror ncuron systcm, and cng|-
nccrs |nCag||ar|, Ìta|y,who|mp|cmcntcdv|rtua|rca||ty cnv|-
ronmcntsuscd|ncxpcr|mcnts.
Ìnthc cnd, thcscscvcn|absfundcdbythc Ìuman Ìront|cr
5c|cncc Ìrogram Crgan|:at|on produccd a scr|cs of cxpcr|-
mcntsthatgrcat|ycxpandcdourundcrstand|ng ofthc m|rror
§
Ó
S I M O N S AY S
ncuron systcms |n both monkcys and humans. Jhc proj cct
a|sohc|pcdcn|argcthcgroupofsc|cnt|stswork|ng|nth|sncw
nc|d. |ust a dccadc ago, m|rror ncurons wcrc known to vcry
fcwrcscarchcrsand |argc|y|gnorcdbyothcrsouts|dc thc corc
group. Ìt |shard to bc||cvc that |nj usta dccadc thcy bccamc
thc most"popu|ar"bra|ncc||sofa||.
RE S ONA T ING BODI E S
Jhcrc arc scvcra| cvo|ut|onary stcps from macaqucs, wh|ch
arc sma|| apcs, to ch|mpan:ccs, wh|ch arc grcat apcs, to thc
hom|n|dswhoprcccdcdhumans ( andarcno|ongcraroundto
bc stud|cd) , and nna||y to humans. Ìow d|d thc m|rror ncu-
ron systcm changc through thcsc many cvo|ut|onary stcps '
Vhat k|nd offunct|ons cou|d thc m|rror ncuron systcm sup-
port |n humans that arc not supportcd |n macaqucs ' Jhcsc
wcrc thcqucst|onswcwantcdtoaddrcssatLCL^.
Curnrstfocuswas |m|tat|on. Curhypothcs|swasthatm|r-
ror ncurons wcrc |nvo|vcd |n thc cvo|ut|onary progrcss|on
frommonkcys÷whohavcan|mp||c|tundcrstand|ngof|m|ta-
t|on, aswcsaw|nchaptcr I÷tohumans,who arc uttcr|ypro-
ncicnt|m|tators. Jo tcstth|shypothcs|s,wcco||aboratcdw|th
thc group |n Ìarma that d|scovcrcd m|rror ncurons |n mon-
kcys andw|th Marcc| Brass and Ìaro|d Bckkcr|ng, two mcm-
bcrs of thc Max Ì|anck Ìnst|tutc for Ìsycho|og|ca| Kcscarch
|n Mun|ch, Ccrmany. Brass and Bckkcr|ng had a|rcady pcr-
formcd scvcra| bchav|ora| |nvcst|gat|ons |nto |m|tat|on |n
ch||drcn and adu|ts, work |nsp|rcd by thc ideomotor model of
§/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
human act|on. Jh|smodc|d|ncrs substant|a||yfrom thc morc
popu|ar sensory-motor model, accord|ng to wh|ch thc start|ng
po|nt ofhuman act|ons |s somc form ofscnsory st|mu|at|on,
w|thact|onscom|ng|ntop|ayon|yas arcsponsctothc|n|t|a|
st|mu|at|on. By contrast, thc |dcomotormodc| ofhumanac-
t|onsassumcsthatthcstart|ngpo|nt ofact|ons arcthc inten­
tions assoc|atcd w|th thcm, and that act|ons shou|dbc most|y
cons|dcrcdas mcans to ach|cvc thosc |ntcnt|ons. '
Ìn tum, thc |dcomotor modc| |s rootcd |n thc |ns|ghts of
two ph||osophcrs of thc n|nctccnth ccntury, thc Ccrman
Kudo|ph Ìcrmann Lot:c and thc ^mcr|can V||||am |amcs,
who|ndcpcndcnt|yc|aboratcdonthc|dca|nthc|rd|scuss|ons
ofvo|untaryact|onsandthc|rconscqucnccs.Jhc|rma|ncon-
ccpt was that vo|untary act|ons rcqu|rc a rcprcscntat|on of
what |s go|ng to bc ach|cvcd, a rcprcscntat|on that has to bc
uncha||cngcd by a conn|ct|ng |dca. Vhcn thcsc two cond|-
t|onsarcmct, thc rcprcscntat|onofthc |ntcndcdgoa| |ssufn-
c|cnt to d|rcct|y act|vatc thc act|on. Ìow docs th|s happcn'
^ccord|ng to thc |dcomotor modc|, |t happcns bccausc wc
humanshavc|camcdabout thccncctsofourownact|ons. Ìor
|nstancc, |fyou havc |camcd |n thc past that prcss|ng a spc-
c|nc kcy of your computcr tums |t on, j ust th|nk|ng about
turn|ng |t on w||| act|vatc |n yourbra|n thc rcprcscntat|onof
thcnngcr movcmcnt youusctoprcss thc kcy. ' ºJh|s conccpt,
dcvc|opcd by two n|nctccnth-ccntury ph||osophcrs, sccms
||kcavcrygooddcscr|pt|onofwhatm|rrorncuronsdo.Ìndccd,
accord|ng to thc samc |og|c ofthc |dcomotor modc|, watch-
�ng somcbody c|sc`s act|ons and thc|r conscqucnccs shou|d
act|vatc thc rcprcscntat|ons of your own act|ons, wh|ch arc
§
0
S I M O N S AY S
typ|ca||yassoc|atcdw|ththcsamcconscqucnccs (for|nstancc,
scc|ngsomconcc|sc tumonhcrcomputcrwou|dact|vatcthc
rcprcscntat|on of your nngcr movcmcnt to tum on your
computcr) .
^t LCL^, wc bu||t on thc prcv|ous work of Brass and
Bckkcr|ngw|ththc |dcomotorparad|gmforournrst bra|n |m-
ag|ng cxpcr|mcntonthc ro|c ofthchumanm|rror ncuronsys-
tcm |n |m|tat|on. Cur too| ofcho|cc for thc cxpcr|mcnt was
fKÌ, a|argcmach|ncthatuscsapowcrfu|magncttosctupa
magnct|cnc|d.Jhcway fKÌ mcasurcsbra|nact|v|ty, spcc|n-
ca||y, |src|at|vc|ys|mp|c. 5upposcyouwanttow|gg|cthcnn-
gcrs of your r|ght hand. Ìn ordcr to do that, cc||s |n your
motor cortcx d|schargc act|on potcnt|a|s that scnd c|cctr|ca|
s|gna|stothcsp|na|cordandthcmusc|csofyournngcrs. Jh|s
ncurona|nr|ngcostscncrgy. Ìnordcrtosupp|ythc oxygcnthc
bra|n cc||s nccdwhcn thcynrc (prctty much as thc cng|nc of
your car nccds gaso||nc to kccp runn|ng) , ccrcbra| b|ood car-
ry|ng thc oxyhcmog|ob|nprotc|nrushcs |nto your motor cor-
tcx. Jhc bra|n cc||s takc up thc oxygcn from th|s protc|n,
wh|chthcnbccomcs dcoxyhcmog|ob|n÷that |s, hcmog|ob|n
w|thoutoxygcn.ÌorfKÌ, thckcyfact|sthatoxyhcmog|ob|n
and dcoxyhcmog|ob|nhavcd|ncrcntmagnct|cpropcrt|csand
bchavc d|ncrcnt|y |n thc magnct|c nc|d crcatcd by thc mag-
nctofthc MKÌ scanncr. Morcovcr, thc b|oodnowthatrushcs
|ntoanact|vatcdbra|narca÷|nth|s casc, thcmotorcortcx-
|s |n cxccss ofwhat |s nccdcd, so thc proport|onofoxyhcmo-
g|ob|n and dcoxyhcmog|ob|n |n thc b|ood changcs whcn a
g|vcn bra|n arca |s act|vatcd. ^n act|vatcd arca has a h|ghcr
proport|on ofoxyhcmog|ob|n, so thcrcforc thc |cvc| ofb|ood
§V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
oxygcnat|on |s a good |nd|catorofbra|n act|v|ty |n a hca|thy
bra|n.Jhankstothcfortu|touscomb|nat|onofa||thcscnatu-
ra| phcnomcna, |t |s poss|b|c to usc fKÌ non|nvas|vc|y to
track thc act|v|ty ofthc who|c bra|n wh||c subj ccts arc pcr-
form|ngavar|ctyoftasks.JhcfKÌ|scomp|ctc|ysafcanda|-
|owsthcstudyofthcwho|cbra|ns|mu|tancous|y. Ìthasgood,
a|though not |dca|, spat|a| and tcmpora| rcso|ut|on÷that |s,
|t a||ows rcso|ut|on to thc|cvc|ofa fcw m||||mctcrs ofbra|n
t|ssuc, but not down to thc s|ng|c cc|| ach|cvcd w|th thc
|mp|antcd c|cctrodcs |n cxpcr|mcnts w|th monkcys, and |t
p|npo|nts cvcnts to aboutonc sccond, |fnotthc m||||scconds
ofs|ng|c-cc||rcscarch. Jhc comb|nat|on ofa||thcscfactors |s
whatmakcsfKÌ sosucccssfu| |nthcncurosc|cnccstoday.
V|th fKÌ, thc on|y "catch, " rca||y, |s thc abso|utc st|||-
ncss rcqu|rcd ofthc subj cct |y|ng |ns|dc thc mach|nc. Ìcad
movcmcnts ru|n cvcryth|ng, for obv|ous rcasons. Jny movc-
mcnts arc to|crab|c÷thc softwarc p|cks thcsc up and makcs
compcnsat|ons÷but st|||ncss |s thc ru|c. ^|so, thc ho||ow
tubc |s a connncd spacc, w|th j ust a fcw |nchcs bctwccn thc
facc and thc "wa||, " so thcrc`s no room for a standard com-
putcrmon|tororproj cct|onscrccn. Ìfthc cxpcr|mcntrcqu|rcs
( and |t usua||y docs) that thc subj ccts obscrvc somc k|nd of
sccnc or d|sp|ay p|ay, subj ccts arc outnttcd w|th h|gh-tcch
gogg|cs fcatur|ng two vcry sma|| h|gh-rcso|ut|on LCL mon|-
tors. Jyp|ca||y, thcsubj cct |s onthcj ob for about anhour-
a|thoughnotanhourw|thoutmov|ng ata||.Jhcrcarca|otof
brcaks, dur|ng wh|ch onc can movc a ||tt|c. Jyp|ca||y, thc
who|c cxpcr|mcnt, |nc|ud|ngprcpworkandana|ys|s,w||| takc
scvcra|wccks, maybctwoorthrcc months. Cfcoursc, conccp-
Ó 0
S I M O N S AY S
tua||:|ng that cxpcr|mcnt m|ght havc takcn ycars ofon-and-
onpondcr|ngandnood||ngand consu|tat|on.
Ìorourma|dcn|mag|ngcxpcr|mcntonthcro|cofthc hu-
man m|rror ncuron systcm |n |m|tat|on, thc subj ccts pcr-
formcd, |m|tatcd, and watchcd ccrta|nhandmovcmcnts. Vc
rcasoncd that dur|ng |m|tat|on, our subj ccts wcrc alo ob-
scrv|ng and pcrform|ng thc |m|tatcd act|ons, by dcnn|t|on.
Ìcncc, wc cxpcctcd that bra|n arcas w|th m|rror ncurons
wou|dhavca |cvc| ofact|v|ty approx|matc|y cqua|to thc sum
ofthc act|v|ty mcasurcd dur|ng act|on cxccut|on and act|on
obscrvat|on. ( Bcforc start|ngthc cxpcr|mcnt, wchad tongurc
outhowto trans|atc thc s|ng|c-cc||datarccordcd |nmonkcys
w|ththccxpcctcdpattcm ofact|vat|on|nhumanm|rrorncu-
ronarcas. JhcdatafromÌarmac|car|ydcmonstratcd thatthc
d|schargcofm|rror ncurons wh||cthc monkcyswcrcpcrform-
|ng grasp|ng act|ons was approx|matc|y tw|cc as strong as thc
d|schargc wh||c thcy wcrc s|mp|y obscrv|ng somcbody c|sc
grasp|ng. Vc thcrcforc cxpcctcd that act|on cxccut|on was
go|ng to act|vatc human m|rror ncuron arcas approx|matc|y
tw|cc as much as act|on obscrvat|on. ) Ìndccd, wc found two
human bra|n arcas w|th such act|v|ty, and thcy corrcspondcd
n|cc|y to thc anatom|ca| |ocat|ons ofthc two macaquc bra|n
arcas ( arca Ì5 |n thc fronta| |obc and arca ÌÌ |n thc par|cta|
|obc) |nwh|chm|rrorncuronshadbccnrccordcd|nÌarma.
Jhcscanatom|ca|corrcspondcnccs, shown |nngurc I , dcm-
onstratc thc cvo|ut|onary cont|nu|ty bctwccn thc macaquc
and thc human m|rror ncuron systcm. Jhc bra|n ofthc ma-
caquc|smuchsma||crthanthchumanbra|n, w|tha |css com-
p|cx shapc. Ìowcvcr, thcrc arc many s|m||ar|t|csbctwccnthc
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Macaque
monkey
Figre Ì : Brain areas with mirror neurons in macaques and humans .
two w|th rcgard to thc maj or bumps (gyr| ) and groovcs
( su|c| ) . Jhcsc s|m||ar|t|csmakc compar|sons bctwccn thc two
spcc|cs rc|at|vc|y casy. Both bra|ns arc d|v|dcd |nto |cft and
r|ght hcm|sphcrcs, th|s ngurc shows thc r|ght hcm|sphcrc,
w|th thc hont of thc bra|n to thc r|ght. Jhc two wc||-
|dcnt|ncd, anatom|ca||y s|m||ar bra|n arcas w|th m|rror ncu-
rons |n macaqucs andhumans arc|ocatcd |nthcfronta| |obc
and|nthcpar|cta||obcbch|nd |t. Ìmportant|y,thc |cfthonta|
|obc arca w|th m|rror ncurons |s Broca`s arca, a maj orhuman
bra|n arcafor |anguagc, thus a|so support|ng thc cvo|ut|onary
hypothcs|s that m|rror ncurons may bc cr|t|ca| ncura| c|c-
mcnts |nthccvo|ut|onof|anguagc.
DO WHAT I S AY, N OT WHAT I DO
Ìm|tat|on shapcs human bchav|or vcry powcrfu||y. Vc a||
shou|drcmcmbcrth|s÷part|cu|ar|y thosc ofuswhost|||havc
Ó Z
S I M O N S AY S
rc|at|vc|y young k|ds. Ì havc not|ccd that pcop|c usua||y say
thc r|ght th|ng to thc|r k|ds. you shou|d ncvcr |osc your tcm-
pcr, a|wayscons|dcrthc po|ntofv|cwofothcr pcop|c, andso
on. Butthc qucst|on |s. Lowcdowhatwcsay' Ìnsomccascs
Ì nndmysc|fmodc||ngfor mydaughtcrcxact|ythc bchav|orÌ
tc||hcr not to adopr' Ìn thcsc cascs, Ì am afra|dshc w|||p|ck
up most|y what Ì do, not what I tc|| hcr shc shou|d do, bc-
causcthcch||d`s bra|n|scxtrcmc|ygoodatp|ck|ngupbchav-
|ors hom othcrpcop|cthrough |m|tat|on. ( ^s thc ch||d grows
o|dcr, such forms of|m|tat|on wou|d bc much morc comp|cx
than thc bas|c m|m|cr|cs obscrvcd |n vcry young |nfants, as
dcscr|bcd car||cr, and morc comp|cx than thc |m|tat|vc bc-
hav|ors |n o|dcrch||drcn, as dcscr|bcd |n thcfo||ow|ng para-
graphs. Jhcsc "h|ghcr" and morc comp|cx forms of|m|tat|on
arc thc subj cctofcxtcns|vc d|scuss|on |atcr. )
Lvcn thc young ch||dsccmsh|gh|y attuncd top|ckup thc
goal of othcr pcop|c`s bchav|or, as Ìaro|d Bckkcr|ng and h|s
co||cagucs at thc Max Ì|anck Ìnst|tutc |n Mun|ch dcmon-
stratcd |n a c|cvcr cxpcr|mcnt w|th prcschoo|crs. Ìn thc cx-
pcr|mcnt, ch||drcn wcrc s|mp|y to|d that thcy wcrc go|ng to
p|ay a gamcw|th a grown-up. Vhcn thc gamc bcgan, thc |n-
struct|ons from thc grown-up wcrc s|mp|c. "Lo what Ì do. "
5omct|mcsthcadu|ttouchcdthc|cftorthcr|ghtcarw|ththc
handonthc samc s|dc ( thc |ps||atcra|movcmcnt) , somct|mcs
w|th thc hand on thc oppos|tc s|dc ( thc contra|atcra| movc-
mcnt ) . 5omct|mcs thc adu|t uscd both hands s|mu|tancous|y
to touch thc car on thc samc s|dc, somct|mcs both hands to
touch thc car on thc oppos|tc s|dc. Jhc ch||drcn madc m|s-
takcs, most|y whcn thcy wcrc supposcd to |m|tatc a movc-
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
mcnt ofthc hand touch|ng thc oppos|tc car. Ìn thcsc cascs,
thcyoftcntouchcdthccorrcctcarbutw|ththcwronghand-
that |s, thc onc onthc samcs|dc as thc car.
Cou|d |t bc that thc ch||drcn had prob|cms |n mak|ng a
hand movcmcnt that wou|d cross thc m|d||nc of thc body'
Þo, bccauscwhcnthcy|m|tatcdmovcmcntsw|thbothhands,
thcybas|ca||ymadcnom|stakcs,cvcnwhcnthcywcrc|m|tat-
|ngthchandmovcmcntstouch|ng thc oppos|tc cars. C|car|y,
thc ch||drcn d|d not havc prob|cms |ndo|ng thc hand movc-
mcntrcach|ng thcoppos|tc car, yctwhcnj ustonchand and
onc car was |nvo|vcd, thcy madc m|stakcs. Vhat was go|ng
on'Ìtwasan |ntcrcst|ngpu::|c. Jhcch||drcn`sm|stakcsmadc
scnsc on|y |f thcy wcrc pr|or|t|:|ng, crcat|ng a h|crarchy of
sorts, an cst|mat|on ofwhat rca||y counts whcn onc |m|tatcs
othcr pcop|c. ^nd to thc ch||drcn |t must havc sccmcd as |f
whatrca||ycountcdwas thcgoal ofthchandmovcmcnt, that
|s, thc specifc ear to bc touchcd. Ìocuscd on that goa|, thcy
d|d touch thc car that was supposcd to bc touchcd, j ustw|th
thc wrong hand, probab|y bccausc |t was c|oscr to thc|r |n-
tcndcd goa|. Vhcn thc adu|ts wcrc us|ng both hands and
touch|ngbothcars, ch||drcnd|dnotnccdtofocusonthc car
tobctouchcd ( |nJccd,bothcarswcrc touchcd) andcou|dfo-
cus |nstcadonthc movcmcntsofthchands.
Jo furthcrtcstthchypothcs|sthatthckcyforthcch||drcn
wasthc apparcntgoa|ofthc act|on,Bckkcr|ngandco||cagucs
pcrformcd a sccond cxpcr|mcnt. Ìcrc thcy ||m|tcd thc hand
movcmcnts to touch|ng on|y onc car. 5omc ch||drcn wcrc
shown on|y touchcs d|rcctcd to thc |cft car, othcr ch||drcn
on|y touchcs ofthc r|ght car. V|th th|s sctup, Bckkcr|ngand
S I M O N S AY S
co||cagucsrcasoncd, thcyhad c||m|natcdfor thc ch||drcn thc
prob|cmofchoos|ngthccar.V|thout |t, thcy m|ght makcthc
|m|tat|onofthc touch|nghand thc pr|mary goa| ofthc gamc.
Ìndccd, th|s |s what happcncd. Vhcn on|y onc car was "|n
p|ay, " thc ch||drcn |m|tatcda|mosttopcrfcct|on, us|ngc|thcr
handasca||cdfor. Jhc act|on |nth|ssctup÷thccontra|atcra|
movcmcnt of onc hand across thc m|d||nc ot thc body to
touch thc oppos|tc car÷was |dcnt|ca| to thc act|on that had
causcd thc confus|on |n|t|a||y, but |n th|s s|mp|cr vcrs|on of
thc task, thc goa| ofthc act|onwas a|ways thc samc, hc|p|ng
thc |m|tat|vcpcrformancc ofthc ch||drcn.
Ìoroncnna|tcstofthchypothcs|s,Bckkcr|ngandh|sco|-
|cagucs stud|cd anothcrgroup ofch||drcn, us|ng yct anothcr
gamc. Jh|s t|mc thcy wantcd to nnd out whcthcr thc samc
hand movcmcnt canbc |m|tatcd corrcct|y dcpcnd|ngonhow
thc ch||d rcprcscnts thc goa| ofthc act|on. Ìn th|s sctup, thc
adu|t sat ononcs|dcofatab|c,thcch||donthcoppos|tcs|dc.
Ìorthc |ps||atcra| movcmcnt, thc adu|tcxtcndcd c|thcr thc
|cftorthc r|ght hand ovcr thc tab|candp|accd|tonaspcc|nc
|ocat|on on thc samc s|dc of thc body. Ìor thc contra|atcra|
movcmcnt, thc adu|t cxtcndcd thc hand ovcr thc tab|c and
p|accd |t on thc tab|c |n a spcc|nc |ocat|on on thc oppos|tc
s|dc of thc body. ^ga|n, thc ch||drcn wcrc s|mp|y to|d, "Lo
what Ì do. "^nd thcy d|d, succcssfu||y|m|tat|ngbothtypcs of
movcmcntsw|thboth|cft andr|ghthands. 5ofar, sogood. Ìn
thc ncxt scss|on, howcvcr, two rcd dots wcrc p|accd on thc
tab|c, on thc samc spots whcrc thc adu|ts had p|accd thc|r
hands |n thc prcv|ous scss|on. Lncc aga|n, thc adu|ts pcr-
formcd thc hand movcmcnts. Jh|s t|mc thcy p|accd thc
Ó
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
hands ovcr thc dots. ^ga|n |nstructcd to "dowhat Ì do, " thc
ch||drcnstartcd mak|ngm|stakcswhcnthcywcrcsupposcdto
|m|tatc thc contra|atcra| movcmcnts. Ìndccd, th|s m|stakc
was thc samc m|stakc madc by thc ch||drcn |m|tat|ng thc
hand movcmcnts touch|ng thc cars |n thc vcry nrst cxpcr|-
mcnt.5upposcdto |m|tatccontra|atcra|movcmcnts, thcch||-
drcn|nstcadrcachcdforandcovcrcdthccorrcctdot,butw|th
thcwronghand.
1hccxp|anat|onwasnowstra|ghtforward.1hcprcscnccof
thc dothad mod|ncd thc goa| ofth|s strangc gamc thcy �crc
p|ay|ng. Ìor thc ch||drcn`s bra|ns, thc goa| of thc |m|tat|on
gamcwas now to "covcrthcdot, "andthc mostd|rcctway of
do|ng |t was to usc thc hand on thc samc s|dc as thc dot. Ìn
thc |m|tat|on scss|on w|thout thc dot, thc hand movcmcnt
|tsc|f was thc goa| ofthc obscrvcd act|on, wh|ch |s why thc
ch||drcn |m|tatcdpcrfcct|ythatt|mc.
Jhcsc |m|tat|on gamcs ofBckkcr|ng and co||cagucs show
us that cod|ng thc goa| ofthc obscrvcd act|on |s thc pr|mary
factor |n dr|v|ng |m|tat|vc bchav|or |n prcschoo|crs. 5uch
goa|-or|cntcd |m|tat|on |s probab|y dr|vcn by m|rror ncuron
act|v|ty÷cvcn |nch||drcn. Bckkcr|ngandh|sco||cagucsthcn
cxtcndcd th|scxpcr|mcnta|worktoadu|tsubj ccts,pcrform|ng
an cxpcr|mcnt s|m||ar to thc onc w|th thc dots on thc tab|c
that had |nduccd thc m|stakcs |n thc prcschoo|crs. Cbv|-
ous|y÷and thank goodncss÷thc adu|ts d|d not makc m|s-
takcs, buthcrc`s thc rca||y |ntcrcst|ng payon. thc ana|ys|s of
thcresponse times bythcadu|tsdcmonstratcda pattcrns|m||ar
to thc pattcrn of m|stakcs madc by thc ch||drcn÷that |s, a
s||ght dc|ay for thc contra|atcra| movcmcnt, thus show|ng
Ó Ó
S I M O N S AY S
that cod|ng goa|s |s thc pr|mary factor tn adu|t |m|tat|on
too. ' '
Vhat do thcsc cxpcr|mcnts havc to do w|th m|rror ncu-
rons ' Lvcryth|ng, bccausc thcscncuronssccm to bc thc |dca|
bra|n cc||s to |mp|cmcntth|sformof|m|tat|onrootcd |n |m|-
tat|nggoa|s. ^swchavcsccn|nthc nrstchaptcr, cvcnm|rror
ncurons |n thc macaqucs sccmcd conccmcd much morc w|th
thc goa| ofthcact|onthanw|ththc act|on |tsc|f.
My group at LCL^, |nsp|rcd by thc|r |m|tat|on gamcs
w|th ch||drcn, now tcamcd up w|th Bckkcr|ng and onc ofh|s
co||cagucs, ^ndrcasVoh|sch|ägcr,topcrformabra|n|mag|ng
cxpcr|mcntonadu|ts.^s|nthoscgamcs, oursubj cctssawand
|m|tatcd |ps||atcra| and contra|atcra| nngcr movcmcnts, |n
somc cascs thc nngcr was p|accd on a rcd dot. 5ubj ccts wcrc
s|mp|y to|d to obscrvc and |m|tatc thc |ndcx nngcr movc-
mcnts. Þomcnt|onwasmadcofthcdots.Curhypothcs|swas
that thc bra|ns ofour subj ccts wou|d codc "covcr thc dot" as
thc goa| ofthc act|on. Jhus thc|rm|rrorncurons, morc con-
ccrncdw|thgoa|sthanw|thmcrcact|ons, shou|dbcmorc ac-
t|vc whcn thc subj ccts |m|tatcd thc nngcr movcmcnts that
covcrcd thc dot. Ìndccd, th|s |s what wc found. thc m|rror
ncuron arca |n thc fronta| |obc corrcspond|ng to Broca`s arca
had muchh|ghcract|v|tywh||csubj cctswcrc |m|tat|ngnngcr
movcmcnts covcr|ng thc dots, comparcd w|th nngcr movc-
mcnts that d|d not covcr thc dots, cvcn though thc two
movcmcntswcrc |dcnt|ca|. ' '
Vc tumcd ncxt to anothcr form of |m|tat|on that a|so
shows strong prcva|cncc |n young ch||drcn, as connrmcd a|-
most forty ycars ago by thc psycho|og|sts 5cymour Vapncr
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
and Lconard C|r|||o. Ìn th|s study, onc ofthc cxpcr|mcntcrs
gavc thc usua| |nstruct|on to a group ofch||drcn. "Ì|casc do
whatÌ do." Ìc thcnra|scd thc r|ghthand. Jhcyoungcrch||-
drcn |n thc cxpcr|mcnt÷say, nrst gradcrs÷wou|d ra|sc thc|r
|cfthand, |m|tat|ngthc adu|tas |fthcywcrc |nfrontofam|r-
ror. Ìn o|dcr ch||drcn÷k|ds |n j un|or h|gh schoo|, say÷th|s
|nst|nct for m|rror |m|tat|on d|sappcars. Jhcy ra|sc thc
anatom|ca||y corrcct hand. ^t LCL^, wc rcasoncd that |f
m|rror ncurons arc cr|t|ca| bra|n cc||s for |m|tat|on÷and cs-
pcc|a||y |n dcvc|opmcnt÷cvcn |n adu|ts thcy shou|d show
thc "prcfcrcncc" rcvca|cd not by thc o|dcr j un|or h|gh k|ds,
but by thc young ch||drcn. Lvcn |n thc adu|t bra|n, thcy
shou|d fa|thfu||y rcncct thc bchav|ora| tcndcnc|cs of ||tt|c
ch||drcn. Jo nnd out, wc sct up a bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt
ca|||ngonthcadu|tsubj cctsto |m|tatcnngcrmovcmcnts, but
w|th thc r|ghthandon|y. Ìnsomc cascs, howcvcr, thcywou|d
bc |m|tat|ngw|th thc|rr|ghthandobscrvcdnngcrmovcmcnts
ofthc left hand÷that |s, thcywou|dbcrcstr|ctcdto |m|tat|ng
as |f|nfrontofa m|rror. Vc hypothcs|:cd that |n thcsc cascs
m|rrorncurons wou|d bc much morc act|vc. ^nd thcy wcrc.
Ìndccd, thcy wcrc act|vatcd four t|mcs morc strong|y dur-
|ng thc m|rror |m|tat|on as comparcd w|th thc anatom|ca||y
corrcct |m|tat|on, cvcn though thc nngcr movcmcnts wcrc
|dcnt|ca| |nbothcascs. ' '
Ìm|tat|on| nyoungch||drcn| sbothgoa|-or|cntcdandpcr-
formcd"as|nfrontofam|rror. "Jh|s|sccrta|n.Þowthcqucs-
t|onwashowtobr|ngtogcthcrconccptua||ythcsctwoaspccts
of |m|tat|on. Ìn short, what |s thc goal of |m|tat|ng as |f |n
front ofa m|rror'Vc can start w|th thc obscrvat|onthat two
Ó 0
S I M O N S AY S
pcop|cfacc-to-faccand |m|tat|ngcachothcras |f|nfrontofa
m|rror thcrcby usc thc samc scctorofspacc. Vhcn you and Ì
arcfac|ng cach othcr and |m|tat|ngcach othcr, my r|ghthand
|s |n thc samc scctor ofspacc as your |cft hand. Vc "sharc"
th|s samc spacc and thcrcby gct ||tcra||yc|oscrto cach othcr.
Ì th|nk onc ofthc pr|mary goa|s of|m|tat|on may actua||y bc
thc fac|||tat|on ofan cmbod|cd "|nt|macy" bctwccn thc sc|f
and othcrs dur|ng soc|a| rc|at|ons. Jhc tcndcncyof|m|tat|on
andm|rrorncuronstorccapturcsuch |nt|macymay rcprcscnt
a morc pr|mary, or|g|na| form of|ntcrsubj cct|v|tyfrom wh|ch
sc|f and othcr arc carvcd out. ( Much morc on th|s subj cct
|atcr. )
Ìndccd, stud|cs on unconsc|ous forms of|m|tat|on dur|ng
natura||st|c |ntcract|ons, pcrformcd wc|| bcforc m|rror ncu-
ronswcrcd|scovcrcd,supportthcscconccpts. Ìnonc studyon
posturcs, thc psycho|og|st Mar|annc LaÌrancc |ookcd at arm
and torso pos|t|ons of studcnts and tcachcrs dur|ng rcgu|ar
c|ass pcr|ods, c|ass|p|ng |m|tat|vc posturcs as c|thcr m|m|ck-
|ng ( that |s, us|ng thc anatom|ca||ycorrcctarm,say,tcachcr`s
r|ghtarm,studcnt`sr|ghtarm) orm|rror|ng ( tcachcr`s|cftarm,
studcnt`s r|ght arm) . Vhcn LaÌrancc corrc|atcd thc ovcra||
rapport |n thc c|assroom w|th thc unconsc|ous |m|tat|on of
thc tcachcrs` posturcs, shc found that thc h|ghcr thc rapport,
thcmorcmirroring asopposcdto mim|ck|ng. Ìnanothcrstudy,
pcrcc|vcd m|rror|ng |n facc-to-facc |ntcract|ons was a|so
j udgcd to convcy morc so||dar|ty, |nvo|vcmcnt, and "togcth-
cmcss. " Ìcrc, subj ccts wcrc watch|ng pa|rs of p|cturcs dc-
p|ct|ng facc-to-facc |ntcract|ons |n wh|ch pcop|c arc |can|ng
c|thcr|noppos|tc d|rcct|ons ( bothtothc|r|cfts|dc, say)or|n
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc samc d|rcct|on ( thc |cft s|dc ofonc, thc r|ght s|dc ofthc
othcr) . Ì|cturcs ofpcop|c |can|ng toward thc samc d|rcct|on
wcrcfound to convcymorcc|oscncssthanp|cturcs ofpcop|c
|can|ngtowardoppos|tcd|rcct|ons.''
Cnccaga|n,andcvcnthough|t|spract|ca||y |mposs|b|cto
obta|n bra|n |mag|ng data |n such natura||st|c contcxts, |t
makcs scnsc to hypothcs|:c thc |nvo|vcmcnt of m|rror ncu-
rons |n thc spontancous m|rror|ng bchav|or ofpcop|c, cspc-
c|a||y |n ||ght ofourbra|n|mag|ngdataongoa|-or|cntcdand
m|rror |m|tat|on. Jhc |nt|macy ofsc|fand othcr that |m|ta-
t|onandm|rrorncuronsfac|||tatcmaybcthcnrststcptoward
cmpathy, abu||d|ngb|ockofsoc|a|cogn|t|on,aswcw|||scc|n
chaptcr 1. Jhc study ofcar|y humandcvc|opmcnt a|so shows
how |m|tat|on |spowcrfu||y ||nkcd tothcdcvc|opmcntof|m-
portant soc|a| sk|||s÷for |nstancc, thc undcrstand|ng that
othcr pcop|c havc thc|r own thoughts, bc||cfs, and dcs|rcs. Ìf
|m|tat|on |s so cr|t|ca| to dcvc|op thcsc soc|a| sk|||s, m|rror
ncuronsthatcnab|c |m|tat|onmustbctoo. ' ' Ìnthcnrstchap-
tcr Ì d|scusscd thc s|ng|c-cc|| data |n monkcys show|ng that
m|rror ncurons codc thc |ntcnt|on assoc|atcd w|th thc ob-
scrvcdact|on.Þow |ct`scons|dcrthcbra|n|mag|ng cv|dcncc
|nhumansthatsupportsthc samcconc|us|on.
HARRY P OT T E R AND P ROF E S SOR S NA P E
Cn |anuary I 0, Z00ó, thc sc|cncc wr|tcr 5andra B|akcs|cc
pub||shcd an art|c|c |n The New York Times on m|rror ncu-
rons. Jhc t|t|c was "Cc||s Jhat Kcad M|nds. " Ì gucss that
/
0
S I M O N S AY S
B|akcs|cc orhcrcd|tors wantcd to cmphas|:c onc ofthc most
aston|sh|ng |mp||cat|ons of thc d|scovcry of m|rror ncurons.
Jhc|r rc|at|vc|y s|mp|c phys|o|og|ca| propcrt|cs a||ow us to
undcrstand thc mcnta| stat
¸
s ofothcr pcop|c, an ab|||ty that
has a|ways bccn pcrcc|vcd as somcwhat c|us|vc. Jhc most
popu|ar cx|st|ng cxprcss|onfor th|s ab|||ty |s "rcad m|nds. " Ì
bc|icvc th|s cxprcss|on|s a|rcady chargcd w|th spcc|ncand |n-
corrcctassumpt|ons about thcproccsswc arc try|ng to undcr-
stand. Jhc tcrm "m|nd rcad|ng" |mp||c|t|y suggcsts that our
undcrstand|ng ofthc mcnta| statcs ofothcrs rcqu|rcs thc usc
of|nfcrcnt|a| or symbo||c th|nk|ng. Ìndccd, th|s has bccn thc
dom|nant assumpt|on among thc sc|cnt|sts |ntcrcstcd |n thc
cogn|t|vc facu|tyofundcrstand|ngthc mcnta|statcs ofothcrs.
^ccord|ngtothcdom|nantv|cw,wc ( start|ngwhcnwcarc
ch||drcn) undcrstand thc mcnta| statcs ofothcr pcop|c us|ng
thc samc approach sc|cnt|sts usc to undcrstand natura| phc-
nomcna.^ftcrobscrv|ngothcrpcop|c`s bchav|or, wc concoct
thcor|cs about thc|r mcnta| statcs, j ust as phys|c|sts wou|d
makc thcor|cs about phys|ca| systcms. Jhcn wc |ook for cv|-
dcncc |n support ofthc thcory. Ìfthccv|dcncc docs notsup-
port thc thcory, wc rcv|sc thc thcory, pcrhaps cvcn crcatc a
ncw onc. Ìor |nstancc, |f wc scc somcbody cry|ng aftcr shc
fa||s, wc thcor|:c that thc cry|ng cxprcsscs pa|n. Ìowcvcr,
|atcr on wc may scc somconc cry|ng wh||c rccc|v|ng a prcst|-
g|ousaward,wh|chforccsus torcv|scourthcoryaboutcry|ng
and thc mcnta| and cmot|ona| statcs assoc|atcd w|th |t. Jh|s
modc| ofundcrstand|ng thc mcnta| statcs ofothcr pcop|c |s
ca||cd, |n sc|cnt|nc j argon, "thcory thcory" (pcrhaps confus-
|ng|y) , bccausc thc undcrstand|ng of mcnta| statcs of othcr
/
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
pcop|c |s somcwhat s|m||ar to a sc|cnt|nc thcory. thcsc statcs
cannotbcd|rcct|yobscrvcd,butthcbchav|orofothcrscanbc
prcd|ctcdonthcbas|sofasctofcausa||awsbr|ng|ngtogcthcr
pcrccpt|ons, dcs|rcs andbc||cfs, dcc|s|onsand act|ons.
Ì havc a|ways thought that th|s modc| ofhow wc undcr-
stand thc m|nds ofothcr pcop|c |s too comp|cx and, not co-
|nc|dcnta||y, dangcrous|y s|m||ar to thc way thc pcop|c who
proposc |t ( acadcm|cs, of coursc) tcnd to th|nk. Ì basc my
doubts about thc thcory thcory on thc stra|ghtforward obscr-
vat|on that wc undcrstand thc mcnta| statcs ofothcr pcop|c
a|most cont|nuous|y, oftcn w|thout g|v|ng thc prob|cm too
muchthought. Ìnmy scm|nars, whcn Ì wantto |ntroduccthc
conccpt that naturc may havc dcv|scd a much s|mp|cr, much
|css |abor|ous way of undcrstand|ng thc mcnta| statcs ofour
fc||ows, Ìuscaconvcrsat|on bc(wccnÌarryÌottcrandÌrofcs-
sor5cvcrus5napc |nHary Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,
thcnfthbookofthcsaga. ( L|kcmostparcnts, Ì gucss, Ìstartcd
rcad|ngthcscr|csatthcbchcstofmydaughtcr, andÌwassoon
add|ctcdofmy own accord. ) Ìnth|ssccnc, Lord\o|dcmort, a
vcrymcanw|:ard |ndccd, |stry|ngtocntcr Ìarry`s m|nd |nor-
dcr to acqu|rc |mportant |nformat|on that hc can usc for h|s
cv||p|ans. Ìrofcssor5napc |ssupposcdto tcachÌarrythcart
ofocc|umcncy÷that |s, thc ab|||ty to stop othcrs fromcntcr-
|ngonc`s own m|nd.
"JhcLarkLord|sh|gh|ysk|||cdat. . . cxtractj|ng] fcc||ngs
and mcmor|cs fromanothcrpcrson`s m|nd, "hc says.
Ìarry |squ|tcsurpr|scdandcxc|tcd. "Ìccanrcadm|nds '"
"You havc no subt|cty, Ìottcr . . . Cn|y Mugg|cs ta|k of
'm|nd rcad|ng. ` Jhc m|nd |snot abook. "
/
Z
S I M O N S AY S
^|though Ì dcnn|tc|y do not ||kc 5napc, Ì must confcss
that h|s rcp|y to Ìarry summar|:cs wc|| my pos|t|on on thc
argumcnt of undcrstand|ng othcr m|nds. Jhc m|nd |s not a
book. Ì do not th|nk wc "rcad" othcr m|nds, and wc shou|d
stop us|ng tcrms that a|rcady conta|n b|as about thc way wc
th|nk about suchaproccss.Vc rcadthc wor|d, ycs, butwc do
not rcad othcr m|nds |n thc usua| scnsc that that phrasc |s
uscd.
Ì do not bc||cvc wc nccd toovcr|oadthcbra|nw|th com-
p|cx |nfcrcnt|a| thoughts on whypcop|c do whatthcy do or
whatthcyarc go|ng todoncxt, cspcc|a||yforthc morc or|css
cont|nuous undcrstand|ng of thc s|mp|c, cvcryday act|ons of
our fc||ow humans. Vc havc pcop|c around us a|| thc t|mc.
Vc wou|d notbc ab|c to copc w|th a|| th|s |fwchadtobcsc|-
cnt|sts, ||kc L|nstc|n, ana|y:|ng cvcry pcrson around us. Þor
was Ì thc |onc wo|f |n my oppos|t|on to thc thcory thcory.
Vhcn |t was thc dom|nant modc| |n thc nc|d of dcvc|op-
mcnta| psycIo|ogy÷wc|| bcforc m|rrorncurons wcrc d|scov-
crcd÷a m|nor|ty of scho|ars proposcd an a|tcmat|vc ca||cd
s|mu|at|on thcory. Jh|s onc ho|ds that wc undcrstand othcr
mcnta| statcs by ||tcra||y prctcnd|ng to bc |n othcr pcop|c`s
shocs.Jhcrc arc twovar|at|onson th|s |dca,onc morc rad|ca|
thanthcothcr.Jhc modcratcvcrs|onma|nta|nsthatthcprc-
tcnsc tobc|nsomcbodyc|sc`s shocs |sacogn|t|vc, dc||bcratc,
and cnortfu| proccss, whcrcas |n thc morc rad|ca| var|at|on |t
|s thought that wc automat|ca||y s|mu|atc |n a fa|r|y uncon-
sc|ouswaywhatothcrpcop|c do. Cn th|s qucst|on Ì amarad-
|ca|, s|ncc th|s automat|c, unconsc|ous form of s|mu|at|on
mapswc||w|thwhatwcknowaboutm|rrorncurons.
l ô
/}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
^ftcr thc d|scovcry of m|rror ncurons, thc popu|ar|ty of
thc thcory thcory as an cxp|anat|on of how wc undcrstand
othcrm|ndsdcc||ncddramat|ca||y. ^cccptancc ofthcs|mu|a-
t|onaccount|ncrcascdtrcmcndous|y. Ìowcvcr, thc cmp|r|ca|
data dcmonstrat|ng that m|rrorncurons codc thc |ntcnt|ons
assoc|atcd w|th thc obscrvcd act|ons was |ack|ng unt|| rc-
ccnt|y. Jhc nrst such study was a co||aborat|vc cxpcr|mcnt
bctwccn my |ab and thc ncurophys|o|og|sts |n Ìarma, |npar-
t|cu|ar C|acomo K|::o|att| and \|ttor|o Ca||csc. Vc had thc
|dca a |ong t|mc ago, wh||c wc wcrc |n Crctc for onc ofour
car|y mcct|ngs |n thc fa||ofI ººº. Jhc papcrthat rcports our
nnd|ngs was pub||shcd |n Z005. Ìt took us a wh||c to dcs|gn
thc cxpcr|mcnt. Ìntcnt|ons arc s||ppcry th|ngs to bc stud|cd
w|th cmp|r|ca|rcscarch.Youw|||rccogn|:c th|s cxpcr|mcnt. Ì
mcnt|oncd |t br|cf|y |n thc nrst pagcs. Vc arc back w|th thc
tcacups.
GE T T ING A GRI P ON OTHER M I NDS
Jhc way wc procccdcd was conccptua||y s|m||ar to thc
"grasp|ng-to-catorgrasp|ng-to-p|acc" cxpcr|mcnt Lco Ìogass|
pcrformcdw|thmonkcys, dcscr|bcd|nchaptcr I . ( Ìndccd,our
|mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt actua||y prcccdcd and |nsp|rcd Ìogass|`s
cxpcr|mcnt. ) Cur|n|t|a| |dca wasthatthc samc act|oncanbc
assoc|atcd w|th d|ncrcnt |ntcnt|ons. Cnc can grasp a cup for
many rcasons. Jhc two most common oncs arc probab|y to
dr|nkfrom|tortoput|t|nthcd|shwashcr.Jhccontcxtoftcn
g|vcs c|ucs to thc obscrvcr rcgard|ng wh|ch |ntcnt|on |s thc
/4
S I M O N S AY S
most ||kc|y onc. Ìor |nstancc, |fwc havc j ust bcgun cnj oy|ng
brcakfastandÌ sccmyw|fcrcach|ngforhcrtcacup, |t |s ||kc|y
that shc w||| dr|nkfrom |t. Ìowcvcr, |fwc havc nn|shcd cat-
|ngandshcrcachcsfor thc cup wh||c stand|ngup, |t |s ||kc|y
thatshc w||| put |t|nthcd|shwashcr. Jruc, shc cou|dbchav-
|nga|asts|p. Ìowcvcr,th|soutcomc|s|css||kc|ythanputt|ng
thc cup |n thc d|shwashcr, on thc bas|s of thc contcxt |n
wh|chmyw|fc`sact|on |scmbcddcd.
Ìfm|rrorncurons rcspond on|y to thc grasp|ng act|on, |t
docsnotrca||ymattcrwh|chcontcxtsurroundsthcm. Ìndccd,
|tdocsnotrca||ymattcrwhcthcrthcrc |sanycontcxtata||.^
grasp |s a grasp, w|th or w|thout contcxt. Ìf, on thc othcr
hand, m|rror ncurons rcspond to thc |ntcnt|on assoc|atcd
w|th thc obscrvcd act|on, as thcy do |n monkcys, thcn thc
contcxt shou|d |nnucncc thc act|v|ty ofm|rror ncurons. Ìo|-
|ow|ngth|s |og|c, wc dcs|gncd abra|n|mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt |n
wh|chsubj cctssawascr|csofv|dcoc||ps.Cnctypc, wh|chwc
ca||cd ^ct|on, s|mp|y d|sp|aycd ahandgrasp|ng a cup |n thc
abscncc of any contcxt. L|mrcnt k|nds of grasp|ng act|ons
wcrc prcscntcd, but a|| wcrc w|thout contcxt, andwhat hap-
pcncd aftcr thc hand graspcd thc cup was not shown. ^n-
othcr typc, wh|ch wc ca||cd Contcxt, showcd a sccnc w|th
numcrous obj ccts. a tcapot, cook|cs, a mug, and so on. (Vc
gavc thcsc Contcxt c||psa ||tt|c b|t ofan Ìta||an touchby |n-
c|ud|ng a j ar of Þutc||a, thc tasty Ìta||an ha:c|nut-bascd
sprcad. ) Ìn onc Contcxt sccnc� cvcryth|ng was ncat|y orga-
n|:cd, suggcst|ngthatsomcbodywas aboutto s|tdownto tca.
Ìn thc othcr casc, thc sccnc was qu|tc mcssy, comp|ctc w|th
cook|c crumbs and a d|rty napk|n, suggcst|ng that somcbody

M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
had j usthn|shcdhav|ng tca. Þoth|ng at a||happcns |nthcsc
Contcxt sccncs. no act|on, on|y contcxt. Ìnthc th|rd typc of
c||p, wh|chwc ca||cd Ìntcnt|on,wcputtogcthcrthcc|cmcnts
ofthchrsttwotypcs. 5ubj cctswatchcdahandgrasp|ngacup,
as |n thc ^ct|on c||p, but th|s t|mc thc grasp|ng act|on was
cmbcddcd |n c|thcr thc ncat or thc mcssy sccnc suggcst|ng a
contcxt, as |n thc Contcxtc||ps.
Jhcprcd|ct|ons rc|atcd to th|scxpcr|mcntwcrcrc|at|vc|y
s|mp|c. |fm|rror ncurons s|mp|y codc thc obscrvcd grasp|ng
act|on, act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas shou|d bc cqu|va|cnt
for thc ^ct|on c||ps and for thc Ìntcnt|on c||ps. Ìf, on thc
othcr hand, m|rror ncurons codc thc |ntcnt|ons assoc|atcd
w|th thc obscrvcd act|on, act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas
shou|d bc grcatcrfor thc Ìntcnt|on c||ps than for thc ^ct|on
c||ps, andposs|b|yd|ncrcntbctwccnthc two Ìntcnt|onc||ps.
Jhc rcsu|ts supportcd thc hypothcs|s thatm|rror ncurons
codc thc |ntcnt|ons. Jhcrc was h|ghcr act|v|ty |n thc fronta|
m|rror ncuron arca wh||c subj ccts obscrvcd thc grasp|ng ac-
t|onscmbcddcd|n c|thcrofthctwo contcxts,comparcdw|th
thc grasp|ng act|on w|thout any contcxt. Jhcrc was a|so
h|ghcr act|v|ty wh||c subj ccts obscrvcd thc grasp|ng act|on
cmbcddcd |n thc contcxt that suggcstcd dr|nk|ng, comparcd
w|th thc grasp|ng act|on cmbcddcd |n thc contcxt that sug-
gcstcdc|can|ngup.Jh|srcsu|ta|somadcscnsc, s|nccdr|nk|ng
|samuchmorcpr|mary|ntcnt|onthanc|can|ngup. ' '
Jhcsc rcsu|ts c|car|y support thc s|mu|at|on modc| ofour
ab|||ty to undcrstand thc |ntcnt|ons of othcr pcop|c. Jhc
bra|ncc||sact|vatcd wh||cwcach|cvc ourown |ntcnt|ons a|so
hrc upwhcnwcd|st|ngu|shbctwccnd|ncrcnt|ntcnt|onsasso-
S I M O N S AY S
c|atcd w|th thc act|ons ofothcr pcop|c. Jhc form ofs|mu|a-
t|on supportcd by m|rrorncurons |s probab|y thc morc auto-
mat|c, cnort|css var|at|on of thc modc|. M|rror ncurons arc
|ocatcd |n thc part of thc bra|n that |s |mportant for motor
bchav|or, c|osc to thc pr|mary motor cortcx scnd|ng c|cctr|c
s|gna|stoourmusc|cs.Jh|stypcofcc||sccmstohavcnobus|-
ncssw|th a dc||bcratc, cnortm|, andcogn|t|vcprctcnsc ofbc-
|ng|nsomcbodyc|sc`s shocs.
Buthow dom|rrorncuronsactua||yprcd|ctthc act|onthat
fo||ows thc obscrvcd onc' Ìowdo thcy |ct us undcrstand thc
|ntcnt|on assoc|atcd w|th thc act|on' My hypothcs|s |s thc
fo||ow|ng. wc act|vatc a cha|n of m|rror ncurons, such that
thcsccc||scans|mu|atca who|c scqucncc ofs|mp|c act|ons-
rcach|ng for thc cup, grasp|ng |t, br|ng|ng |t to thc mouth-
that |s qu|tc s|mp|y thc s|mu|at|on |n our bra|n of thc
|ntcnt|onofthchumanwcarcwatch|ng. ^cr|t|ca| subtypc of
m|rror ncurons forth|shypothcs|s arc thosc cc||sdcscr|bcd |n
thc nrst chaptcr as "|og|ca||y rc|atcd" m|rror ncurons. Jhcy
nrc not for thc samc act|on, but for |og|ca||y rc|atcd oncs,
suchas, |nthcmonkcycxpcr|mcnts, "grasp|ngw|ththchand"
and "br|ng|ngto thcmouth. "Jhcyarc probab|y kcyncurona|
c|cmcntsforundcrstand|ngthc |ntcnt|onsassoc|atcdw|ththc
obscrvcdact|on. Ì scc yougrasp|ngacupw|thaprcc|s|ongr|p,
and my prcc|s|on gr|p m|rror ncurons nrc. 5o far Ì am on|y
s|mu|at|ngagrasp|ngact|on. Ìowcvcr,g|vcnthatthccontcxt
suggcsts dr|nk|ng, thc nr|ng ofothcr m|rrorncurons fo||ows.
thcsc arc my "|og|ca||yrc|atcd"m|rrorncurons thatcodc thc
act|on ofbr|ng|ng thc cup to thc mouth. By act|vat|ng th|s
cha|n ofm|rror ncurons, my bra|n |s ab|c to s|mu|atc thc |n-
//
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
tcnt|ons ofothcrs. Jo put |t |nCa||csc's words, "|t |s as |fthc
othcrbccomcs anothcr sc|t. " Cr |nMcr|cau- Ìonty's words, "|t
|s as |f thc othcr's |ntcnt|on |nhab|tcd my body, and m|nc
h|s. "' ³M|rrorncuronshc|p us rccnact |n ourbra|n thc |ntcn-
t|ons ofothcr pcop|c, g|v|ng us a profound undcrstand|ng of
thc|r mcnta| statcs.
Canthcscbra|ncc||sa|sohc|puscommun|catcw|thothcr
pcop|c by fac|||tat|ng thc rccogn|t|on and undcrstand|ng of
thc gcsturcs wc usc whcn wc ta|k' Ìs |t poss|b|c that m|rror
ncurons may havc p|aycd an cvcn |argcr ro|c |ncommun|ca-
t|on, asthccvo|ut|onaryprccursorsofthcncura|systcmsthat
a||ow us to commun|catc w|th |anguagc ' Jhc answcr |s ycs,
and wc'||cxp|orchow |nthc ncxt chaptcr.
G r as p i ng L a n g u a ge
If langage wa gven to men to conceal their thoughts ,
then gesture's purpose wa to disclose them.
-] OHN NAPi 8R
(
DO YOU S EE WHAT I A M S AYING ?
am watch|ng my daughtcr ta|k|ng on thc tc|cphonc w|th
oncofhcrfr|cnds.Ìcrarmsandhandsarcvcryact|vc÷thc
spontancous movcmcnts that a|| of us makc whcn wc ta|k.
Vc cvcn havc a spcc|a| word for thcm. "gcsturcs. " But why
docs mydaughtcrgcsturc whcn ta|k|ngonthc tc|cphonc'^f-
tcr a||, hcr fr|cnd cannot scc hcr. My daughtcr |s not a|onc.
cvcn though wc know thc gcsturcs can't bc sccn, wc a|| tcnd
to gcsturc whcnwc spcak ovcrthc phonc. Ìndccd, wcgcsturc
whcn wc ta|k to thc b||nd, and thc congcn|ta||y b||nd a|so
gcsturc whcn thcy ta|k, cvcn though thcy havc never seen
othcrpcop|cgcstur|ng.
B|:arrc' Þot rca||y. Ìn h|s book Han an Min, Lav|d
McÞc||| argucs that "gcsturcs and |anguagc arc onc systcm, "
that "gcsturcsarcan |ntcgra|partof|anguagc as much asarc
M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
words, phrascs, and scntcnccs. "' Þotc that McÞc||| |s rcfcr-
ring to thc spontancous arm and hand movcmcnts that arc
uniquc to thc |ndividua| spcakcr÷gcsturcs÷not to thc nxcd
typc ofhand s|gns such as thc okay sign, wh|ch wc ca|| cm-
b|cms.Vhcnwc cannotnndthcpropcrwordtocxprcssour-
sc|vcs, hand gcsturcs can hc|p in thc rctr|cva| ofthc m|ss|ng
word. ^t othcr t|mcs, gcsturcs prov|dc information that thc
words thcmsclvcsdonotprovidc. Ìor|nstancc, k|ds oftcn usc
a dua| format to cxp|a|nthc mathconccpts thcyarc |carn|ng.
Cnc prob|cm-so|v|ng proccdurc |s statcd w|th words, a d|f-
fcrcnt proccdurc w|th gcsturcs. Ìn fact, thcsc spccch-gcsturc
m|smatchcs |nd|catc a trans|t|ona|, cxpcctcd phasc |n thc
|cam|ng proccss. 5ay a ch||d is askcd to so|vc thc prob|cm
5 + 1 + 3 = _ + 3. Ìcr|ncorrcctvcrba|rcsponsc ( "Ì addcdthc
5, thc 1, thc 3, and thc 3, and Ì got I S") may notrcvca| any
awarcncss of thc conccpt of an cquat|on. Ìowcvcr, |f hcr
hand movcs undcr thc |cft s|dc ofthc cquation, thcn stops,
thcn movcs again undcr thc r|ght s|dc ofthc cquat|on, thc
movcmcnt rcvca|s thathcr m|nd |s starting to grasp thc con-
ccpt that an cquat|on has two s|dcs that arc scparatc but
somchowrc|atcd. ^nothcrcxamp|c |swhatwcca||conscrva-
t|on tasks, wh|ch wcrc dcvc|opcd by |can Ì|agct to cxp|orc
howch||drcndcvc|opccrtainconccpts.Ìnthc||qu|d-quant|ty
task,thccxpcr|mcntcrpourswatcrfromag|asstoad|sh.J yp-
|ca||y, thcg|ass |sta||andrc|at|vc|y sk|nny, thcd|sh short and
w|dc. Jhc ch||d |s askcd whcthcr thc d|sh conta|ns thc samc
amountofwatcrasthc g|ass andtocxp|ainhcranswcr.Vhcn
thc chi|d answcrs, |ncorrcct|y, that thcrc |s |css watcr |n thc
d|shbccauscthc |cvc| ofthcwatcrinthcg|asswash|ghcr,hcr
0 0
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
hand mayform a narrowC to |nd|catc thc sk|nnyg|ass and a
w|dcr C to |nd|catc thc w|dcr d|sh. Vh||c hcr words focus
on|y on thc d|ncrcncc |n hc|ght bctwccn g|ass and d|sh, hcr
hands cmphas|:c thc compcnsatorygrcatcrw|dthofthc d|sh,
comparcd w|th thc g|ass. V|th hcr hands, shc`s catch|ng on,
andthcwordsw|||soonfo||ow.
5pccch-gcsturc m|smatchcs sccm to |nd|catc r|ch mcnta|
act|v|ty that favors thc grasp|ng of ncw conccpts |n young
|carncrs. ' Much rcscarch has connrmcd that th|s |s thc casc.
Jyp|ca||y, though not a|ways, gcsturcs arc "ahcad" of spccch
|n thcsc ch||dhood m|smatchcs. ^s |n thc cquat|on |||ustra-
t|on abovc, thc gcsturcs tcnd to convcy thc morc advanccd
conccpts. Jhcy fac|||tatc |carn|ng. ( Lur|ng count|ng tasks,
ch||drcn arc hc|pcd by po|nt|ng gcsturcs, cspcc|a||y |f thcy
pcrform thc gcsturcs thcmsc|vcs. ) Ìndccd, thc m|smatchcrs
show a bcttcr ab|||ty to gcncra||:c rcccnt|y acqu|rcd know|-
cdgcand conccpts thanthc "sk|ppcrs"÷that |s,k|dswhopro-
cccd from |nco;rcct cxp|anat|ons matchcd |n spccch and
gcsturcs d|rcct|y to corrcct cxp|anat|ons matchcd |n spccch
and gcsturcs.
Ch||drcn arc a|so vcry scns|t|vc to thc gcsturcs of thc|r
tcachcrs. Ìor math prob|cms, ch||drcn arc morc ||kc|y to
corrcct|y rcpcat a proccdurc whcn thc tcachcr`s spccch |s
matchcd w|th an appropr|atc gcsturc, comparcd w|th no gcs-
turc at a||. Jhus, gcsturcs accompany|ng spccch havc a dua|
ro|c of hc|p|ng thc spcakcrs to cxprcss thc|r thoughts and
hc|p|ngthc ||stcncrsfv|cwcrsundcrstandwhat |sbc|ng sa|d. Ìt
fo||ows that m|smatch|ng gcsturcs by thc tcachcr gct |n thc
way of |carn|ng. Ìndccd, ch||drcn arc |css ||kc|y to corrcct|y
0 ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
rcpcat aproccdurc whcn thc tcachcr`sspccch |s accompan|cd
by a m|smatch|ng gcsturc, comparcd w|th no gcsturc at a||.
Cons|dcrthc tcachcrwho cxp|a|ns thc conccpt ofthc cqua-
t|on wh||c po|nt|ng to cach numbcr on both s|dcs of thc
cquat|onw|thascr|csofmanua|gcsturcssuchasch||drcntyp-
|ca||y usc whcn so|v|ng a s|mp|c add|t|onprob|cm. Jh|s m|s-
takc on|ycncouragcs thcstudcnts tomakcthcm|stakc madc
by thc g|r| |n thc |||ustrat|on abovc÷add|ng up a|| of thc
numbcrs on both s|dcs ofthc cquat|on. Ìnstcad, thc tcachcr`s
gcsturcsshou|dv|sua||ydcp|ctthctwos|dcsofthccquat|on-
pcrhaps a brackct|ng gcsturc w|th thc |cft hand for thc |cft
s|dc, thc samc gcsturc w|th thc r|ght hand for thc r|ght s|dc.
Ìt cou|d makc a d|ncrcncc whcn tcach|ng young ch||drcn
( thoughthcy w||| cvcntual|y catchonanyway) .
^s adu|ts, our gcsturcs arc un|quc to cach ofus, but most
ncvcrthc|css d|v|dc |nto two catcgor|cs, "|con|c" and "bcat. "
Ìcon|cgcsturcs rcncct thc contcntofthc spccchthcy accom-
pany. Vhcn somconc vcrba||y dcscr|bcs pour|ng w|nc wh||c
h|shandappcarstogr|psomcth|ngandh|sarmra|scsand ro-
tatcsbyapprox|matc|yn|nctydcgrccsatthcc|bow÷that`san
|con|c gcsturc. Bcat gcsturcs, on thc othcr hand, do not
spcc|nca||y and v|sua||y rcncct what |s bc|ng sa|d. Jhcy arc
rhythm|c hand movcmcnts that a|most appcar to bcat out
mus|ca| t|mc w|th thc pu|sat|on of spccch. Ìt wou|d sccm to
fo||ow that wc arc |css ||kc|y to cmp|oy |con|c gcsturcs whcn
spcak|ng on thc phonc or |n somc othcr s|tuat|on |n wh|ch
thc ||stcncr cannot scc us, whcrcas thc usc of bcat gcsturcs
wou|d bc rc|at|vc|y unancctcd. Martha ^||ba|| and hcr co|-
G R A S P I N G L A N G U A G E
|cagucs |nvcst|gatcd th|squcst|onw|th a s|mp|c cxpcr|mcnta|
tr|ck. Jhcy |ookcd at thc spontancous gcsturcs of spcakcrs
wh||c thcywcrc tc|||ng thc storyofacartoonto a ||stcncr. Ìn
onc sctup, a scrccn scparatcd spcakcr from ||stcncr, |n thc
othcr, thc two wcrc facc-to-facc. Jhc rcsu|ts connrmcd thc
hypothcs|s. thc prcscncc of thc scrccn affcctcd on|y |con|c
gcsturcs, wh|ch thc spcakcrs produccd at a much |owcr ratc
bccauscthcykncwthcgcsturcswou|dnotbcsccn.Jhcratcof
bcat gcsturcs, |n contrast, was comp|ctc|y unancctcd by thc
prcscnccorabscnccofthc scrccn.'
^nothcr way to put thc po|nt. bcat gcsturcs sccm to bc
morc uscfu| to thc spcakcr, wh||c |con|c gcsturcs arc most|y
produccdtobcncnt thc ||stcncrfv|cwcr. Ìfth|sth|nk|ng |scor-
rcct, wccanmakca s|mp|c prcd|ct|onw|thrcgardtobra|nac-
t|v|ty, cspcc|a||y m|rror ncuron act|v|ty. Jhc hypothcs|s that
m|rror ncurons fac|||tatc commun|cat|on prcd|cts that thcy
wou|d bc act|vatcd morc strong|y dur|ng thc obscrvat|on of
|con|c gcsturcs, wh|ch fac|||tatc commun|cat|on and undcr-
stand|ng, than dur|ng obscrvat|on ofbcatgcsturcs, wh|ch arc
|css uscm| for thc obscrvcr. Ìndccd, th|s |s cxact|y what wc
found |n an fKÌ cxpcr|mcnt |cd by Ìstvan Mo|nar-5:akacs,
atthc t|mc agraduatcstudcntwork|ng|nmy |ab. Jhc cxpcr-
|mcnt was pcrformcd by ask|ng a subj cct to watch a scr|cs of
cartoons, thcn to narratc thc cartoons wh||c wc v|dcotapcd
hcr.Vc showcdth|sv|dcotapctosubj ccts|nthcMKÌscanncr
and found that bra|n arcas w|th m|rrorncurons ( as shown |n
ngurc I , a|though on|y thc oncs |n thc |cft hcm|sphcrc) wcrc
act|vatcd whcn thc narrator madc |con|c gcsturcs, whcrcas a
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
scparatc sct ofarcas |n a d|ncrcnt rcg|on not known for har-
bor|ngm|rrorncuronswcrc act|vatcdwhcnthcnarratormadc
bcatgcsturcs. '
Jhc sc|cct|vc act|vat|on ofm|rror ncurons for |con|c gcs-
turcs tc||s us that thcy arc conccmcd w|th gcsturcs that arc
|mportant forfacc-to-facc |ntcract|ons. Jh|s po|nt |s rc|cvant
tothcvcry contcnt|ous |ssucofthc|rro|c |nthcor|g|nof|an-
guagc. Lct`snowsccwhy.
HAND T O MOU T H
Ìn I oóó, thc 5oc|étédcL|ngu|st|qucdcÌar|sbanncd a|| spcc-
u|at|ononthcor|g|nsof|anguagc.^roundthcsamct|mc,thc
Br|t|sh^cadcmywarncd |tsmcmbcrsnottod|scussthctop|c,
wh|chhadapparcnt|ybccomcsocontcnt|ousandspccu|at|vc
that thc on|yrcsu|twascnd|cssd|scuss|onofunprovab|cthc-
or|cs. Cbv|ous|y, thc bans d|d not work. 5pccu|at|on on thc
or|g|nsof|anguagcd|dnotstopand probab|y ncvcrw|||, cspc-
c|a||yaftcrthcd|scovcryofm|rrorncurons.
^ |ongtrad|t|onproposcsthat |anguagcor|g|nsarcmanua|
and gcstura|. Jh|s th|nk|ng was dom|nant dur|ng thc c|gh-
tccnth ccntury÷thc Ln||ghtcnmcnt. M|rror ncurons c|car|y
support th¡s hypothcs|s, for two ma|n rcasons. Ì|rst |s thc
anatom|ca| ana|ogy bctwccn arca Ì5 of thc macaquc bra|n,
whcrc m|rror ncurons wcrc d|scovcrcd, and Broca`s arca, a
maj or |anguagc ccntcr |n thc human bra|n. ºJhc sccond rca-
sonwhym|rrorncurons supportthc thcoryofa manua|, gcs-
tura|or|g|nof|anguagc |sthcfact thatthcymakcthcmanua|
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
gcsturcs of othcr pcop|c cas||y undcrstandab|c to obscrvcrs,
thus prov|d|ng a compc|||ng form of commun|cat|on at thc
gcstura| |cvc|.
Lvcn bcforc mirror ncurons wcrc d|scovcrcd, sc|cntists
support|ng a gcstura| or|g|n of |anguagc had cmphas|:cd thc
strong conncct|ons bctwccn hand and mouth car|y |n ||fc.
Vhy wou|d that mattcr at a|| ' Jhc answcr |s cxprcsscd by a
famous d|ctum |n sc|cncc. ontogcny rccap|tu|atcs phy|ogcny.
Jhc vcrys|mp|c |dcabch|nd th|s scntcncc |s that thc cmbry-
on|c and car|y dcvc|opmcnt ofa mcmbcr ofa spcc|cs today
may g|vc us a g||mpscofwhathappcncd m||||onsofycars ago
dur|ngthccvo|ut|onofthatspcc|cs. 5pcc|nca||y, car|yhuman
dcvc|opmcnt shows strong t|cs bctwccn thc hand and thc
mouth. Ìor |nstancc, a ncwbom opcns hcr mouth |fonc ap-
p||cs prcssurc onthc pa|m ofhcrhand. Jh|s Babk|n rcncx, as
|t |s ca||cd, suggcsts that thcsc two body parts bc|ong to a
common mnct|ona| systcm. Ìurthcrmorc, a|| parcnts know
wc|| that ncwboms frcqucnt|y br|ng thc hand to thc mouth,
|ntroduc|ngthc nngcrsforsuck|ng, andforpro|ongcd pcr|ods
oft|mc. Vhat may go unnot|ccdbyparcnts |s that ncwboms
opcnthcmouthbefore thchandrcachcs |t, anactofant|c|pa-
t|ondcmonstrat|ngthat thc hand-to-mouthbchav|or |s goa|-
or|cntcd. Bab|cs bctwccn n|nc and nftccn wccks o|d show
systcmat|c rc|at|ons bctwccn hand and mouth movcmcnts.
Ìor |nstancc, cxtcns|on ofthc |ndcx nngcr usua||y co-occurs
w|th opcn|ng of thc mouth and cvcn voca||:at|on. Latcr |n
dcvc|opmcnt, othcr forms of hand-to-mouth bchav|or arc
frcqucnt. Bctwccn twcnty-s|x and twcnty-c|ght wccks ofagc
thcrc |s a notab|c |ncrcasc |n such rhythm|c movcmcnts of
0
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc arms and hands as bang|ng, sway|ng, and wav|ng. ^t
thcsamc t|mc, bab|csstartbabb||ng, produc|ngstr|ngsofthc
samcsy||ab|cs||kc "bababa"or"gagaga. "^ndofcoursc, whcn
thc baby |carns to grasp w|th thc hand, thc graspcd obj cct |s
|nvar|ab|y dc||vcrcd stra|ght tothc mouth.
^rc thc hand and thc mouth coup|cd "cqua||y" car|y |n
||fc, or |s thcrc somc cv|dcncc suggcst|ng that onc |s thc
|cadcr and thc othcr thc fo||owcr |n dcvc|opmcnt ( and con-
scqucnt|y |n cvo|ut|on, s|ncc ontogcny rccap|tu|atcs phy|og-
cny) ' Vc||, wc havc a|rcady sccn that |n ch||drcn show|ng
spccch-gcsturcm|smatchcs,thcgcsturcsgcncra||yrcvca|morc
advanccd conccpts thanthc spccch. Muchcar||cr|ndcvc|op-
mcnt, 75 pcrccnt of a|| babb||ng co-occurs w|th rhythm|c
manua| act|v|ty, wh||c approx|matc|y 10 pcrccnt of rhyth-
m|c manua| act|v|ty co-occurs w|th babb||ng. Jhcsc numbcrs
suggcst an car||cr |ndcpcndcncc of thc hand comparcd w|th
thc mouth. Most |mportant, bab|cs usc commun|cat|vc gcs-
turcscar||crthanthc|rnrst words. Jhcscprccoc|ousgcsturcs
arc po|nt|ng gcsturcs and somc |con|c gcsturcs, such as nap-
p|ng thc hands to rcprcscnt b|rds. C|vcn thc ||nks bctwccn
m|rror ncurons and |con|c gcsturcs prcv|ous|y d|scusscd, thc
usc of|con|cgcsturcsvcrycar|yon|ndcvc|opmcntrc|nforccs
thc hypothcs|s that m|rror ncurons arc cr|t|ca| bra|n cc||sfor
|anguagc dcvc|opmcnt and |anguagc cvo|ut|on.
Ch||drcn producc gcsturc-spccch comb|nat|ons÷such as
thc word "g|vc" coup|cd w|th po|nt|ng at an app|c- car||cr
thanword-word comb|nat|ons such as "g|vc app|c. "Ccsturcs
|cad, spccchfo||ows. Ìndccd, thc cmcrgcncc ofgcsturc-spccch
comb|nat|onstyp|ca||yprcd|ctswhcnthcch||dw|||bcab|cto
0 Ó
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
usc word-word comb|nat|ons. Long|tud|na| stud|cs on "|atc
ta|kcrs" a|so suggcst that gcsturcs |cad and spccch fo||ows.
5omcofthcscch||drcncatchup ( thc|atcb|oomcrs) , andoth-
crs do not ( thc tru|y dc|aycd ch||drcn) . Vhat prcd|cts thc
ch||d`s mturc |n th|s rcgard |s thc amount ofcommun|cat|vc
gcsturcs uscd. Latc b|oomcrs producc many morc such gcs-
turcsthan tru|ydc|aycdch||drcn. '
Jakcn togcthcr, a|| thcsc data show that gcsturcs prcccdc
spccchandthatm|rrorncuronsarcprobab|ythccr|t|ca|bra|n
cc||s |n |anguagc dcvc|opmcnrand|anguagccvo|ut|on. Iow-
cvcr,oncofthcdcnn|ngfcaturcsofhuman|anguagc|s|tssyn-
tax, wh|ch dcnncs somc sort ofh|crarch|ca| structurc for thc
wordsthatcomposc a scntcncc. 5ofar, wchavcd|scusscdthc
ro|cofm|rrorncurons|n|m|tat|onofrc|at|vc|ys|mp|cact|ons
and |n cod|ng for "|ntcnt|on, " but what about thc|r ro|c |n
cod|ng thc h|crarch|ca| structurc of act|ons ' ^ny cv|dcncc
|n th|s rcgard wou|d suggcst that m|rror ncurons arc a|so |n-
vo|vcd|nmorc comp|cx aspcctsofhuman |anguagc.
Jhc dcvc|opmcnta| psycho|og|st Ìatr|c|a Crccnnc|d has
stud|cd motor and |anguagc ab|||t|cs |n dcvc|op|ng ch||drcn.
Ìatr|c|aobscrvcdapara||c|progrcss|on|nthc |ncrcascduscof
h|crarch|ca| structurcs |n both manua| act|v|t|cs (d|rcctcd at
toys and too|s) and vcrba| commun|cat|on. Lraw|ng a|so on
hcr work w|th ch|mpan:ccs and othcr grcat apcs, shc pro-
poscd÷bcforc m|rrorncurons wcrc d|scovcrcd' ÷that Broca`s
arca was cr|t|ca| |n thc cvo|ut|on and dcvc|opmcnt both of
manua| act|v|t|csandof||ngu|st|ccommun|cat|on. Ìatr|c|a |s
a profcssor |n thc dcpartmcnt ofpsycho|ogy at LCL^, so |t
was v|rtua||y|ncv|tab|cthatwccndcdup co||aborat|ng |nan
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt that tcstcd thc ro|c of human m|rror
ncuron arcas |n cod|ng act|on of|ncrcascd h|crarch|ca| com-
p|cx|ty.
Ìn our cxpcr|mcnt, subj ccts watchcd an cxpcr|mcntcr
man|pu|at|ng cups and r|ngs. Ìn somc cascs thc scqucncc
of act|ons m|m|ckcd thc |ncrcas|ng|y comp|cx h|crarch|ca|
structurcs d|sp|aycd |n spontancous p|ay by ch||drcn, for |n-
stancc, cups of d|ncrcnt s|:cs may bc p|accd onc |nto thc
othcr, fo||ow|ng thc s|:c ordcr. Ìn othcr cascs, thc man|pu|a-
t|vc act|ons havc no obv|ous structurc. Ìfm|rror ncurons rc-
spondon|y to thc man|pu|at|on ofthc obj ccts, thcrc shou|d
bc no d|ncrcncc |n thc|r act|v|ty whcn subj ccts watch pur-
poscfu| man|pu|at|vc act|ons w|th and w|thout a h|crarch|ca|
structurc. Cn thc othcrhand, |fm|rrorncurons a|socodc thc
h|crarch|ca| structurc of thc obscrvcd act|on, thcy shou|d
rcspond morc strong|y whcn subj ccts watch act|ons w|th
h|crarch|ca| structurc. Ìn our study, |cd aga|n by Ìstvan
Mo|nar-5:akacs, wcfoundthcstrongcract|v|tywhcnsubj ccts
watchcdthcman|pu|at|onw|thah|crarch|ca|structurc. ºJh|s
was |mportant not j ust bccausc |t va||datcd Ìatr|c|a Crccn-
nc|d`sthcorybut, abovc a||, bccausc |tshowsthatm|rrorncu-
ronsrcspond to thc h|crarch|ca| organ|:at|on of thc act|ons
ofothcr pcop|c. Ìfm|rror ncurons can codc thc h|crarchy of
manua| act|v|t|cs, thcy may a|so codc h|crarchy |n othcr do-
ma|ns÷for |nstancc, |n ||ngu|st|c matcr|a|. ^s wc w||| scc
|atcr|nth|schaptcr,whcnwchumansarccngagcd|nconvcr-
sat|on, wc tcnd to |m|tatc cach othcr`s syntact|ca| structurcs.
Ìn ||ght ofour bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnts onboth|m|tat|on
0 0
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
and h|crarchy ofact|on, |tmakcs scnsc to assumc that m|rror
ncurons arc thc bra|n cc||sthathc|p usw|thth|s |m|tat|on.
FROM B RA I N M A P P I NG T O B RA I N Z A P P I NG
Kcca|| from chaptcr Z, |fyou w|||, thc |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnts
dcmonstrat|ngthatBroca`sarcawasact|vatcddur|ngboththc
|m|tat|on andthc obscrvat|on ofact|on. 5uchdatahavc bccn
cons|dcrcd |mportant cv|dcncc ||nk|ng m|rror ncurons and
|anguagc,butthcact|vat|onofBroca`sarca|nataskthatdocs
not cxp||c|t|y |nvo|vc |anguagc |s a|so a doub|c-cdgcd sword.
Ìs th|s act|v|ty s|mp|y thc cncct of "|ntcma| spccch" ' 5omc
sc|cnt|sts havc ra|scd th|s conccm. Ìn fact, th|s |s a c|ass|c
prob|cmw|th thcsc |mag|ng tcchn|qucs. bra|n |mag|ng|s fas-
c|nat|ng, but |t can g|vc us on|y coreltive |nformat|on. 5ub-
j cctspcrform ccrta|n tasks wh||c wc mcasurchow thc|r bra|n
act|v|ty changcsdur|ng thc pcrformancc. Ìowcvcr, wc havc
no |nformat|on about thc causal ro|c ofthc obscrvcdchangcs
|n bra|n act|v|ty. Lct mc g|vc you an cxamp|c. 5upposc you
arc |na bra|n |mag|ng scanncr and Ì askyouto w|gg|c thc nn-
gcrs of your r|ght hand scqucnt|a||y, from thumb to p|nk|c.
You comp|y, act|vat|ng your motor cortcx, and my scanncr
dctccts th|s act|vat|on. Ìowcvcr, you may cntcrta|n yoursc|f
wh||c you do th|s s|mp|c motor task by s||cnt|y nam|ng thc
nngcrs you arc w|gg||ng. By do|ng so, you a|so act|vatc your
|anguagc ccntcrs, and my scanncr dctccts th|s act|vat|on as
wc||. ÌfÌ havc no prcv|ous know|cdgc about bra|n arcas and
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc|rspcc|a|tics, Ì mustconc|udc thattwo arcas |nyourbra|n
arc|mportantto w|gg|c thcnngcrsofthc r|ghthand, whcrcas
|nfacton|yonc |stru|ycsscnt|a|topcrform thctask.
Ìtd|dnot sccm ||kc|y that "|ntcma| spccch" had produccd
|nBroca`sarcacxact|ythcpattcmofact|v|typrcd|ctcdform|r-
ror ncurons÷somc act|vat|on for act|on obscrvat|on, grcatcr
act|vat|on for motor cxccut|on, thc h|ghcst activat|on for
im|tat|on÷but wc dcc|dcd to nnd out for ccrta|n w|th trans-
cran|a|magnct|cst|mu|at|on (JM5) . ^swchavcsccn|nchap-
tcr Z, JM5worksby crcat|ng a trans|cntmagncticnc|dundcr
thc coppcr co|| p|accd on thc hcad of thc subj cct. Jh|s mag-
nct|cnc|d|nduccsan c|cctr|ccurrcnt|nthcbra|nrcg|onundcr
thc co||, wh|ch wc cau thc JM5 pu|sc. V|th a rapid scrics of
thcscJM5pu|scs,thcact|v|tyofthatbra|nrcg|on|strans|cnt|y
d|sruptcd÷in cncct, bra|n :app|ng' Ìt may sound dangcrous,
but|t`snot.Jh|s |sapowcrm|too|for |nvcst|gat|ngcausa||inks
bctwccnabra|n arca and a g|vcn funct|on. Ìndccd, |nhca|thy
subj ccts, JM5 ovcr Broca`s arca |nduccs thc trans|cnt |nab||-
|tyto spcak. Ìnourcxpcr|mcnt, wc prcd|ctcdthatJM5 ovcr
Broca`sarcawou|d|mpa|r|m|tat|on,dcmonstrat|ngthccausa|
||nkbctwccnth|sbra|narcaand thc ab|||tyto |m|tatc.
Jo pcrform th|s cxpcr|mcnt accuratc|y and to bc surc wc
wcrc st|mu|at|ng Broca`s arca, wc uscd a tcchn|quc caucd
|magc-gu|dcdJM5, wh|cha||owsustosccexatly wh|chbra|n
rcg|on wc arc st|mu|at|ng w|thout rcmov|ng thc sku|| ofthc
subj cct. Jhc way |t works |s as fo||ows. Jhc subj cct |s nrst
stud|cd w|th an MKÌ. Jhcsc |magcs ofthc subj cct`s bra|n arc
thcn transfcrrcd |nto thc JM5 |ab and |oadcd |nto a systcm
ca||cd framc|css stcrcotaxy, wh|ch uscs an |nharcd camcra to
V
0
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
rcad obj ccts markcd w|th a spcc|a|pa|nt. Ìn th|s cxpcr|mcnt,
thcsc "obj ccts" arc p|accd onto ccrta|n anatom|ca| fcaturcs
ofthcsubj cct`s hcad, typ|ca||ythc |cftandr|ghtcar, thc t|pof
thc nosc, and thc br|dgc of thc nosc. Jhc |nfrarcd camcra
rcads thc |ocat|on |n thrcc-d|mcns|ona| spacc of thcsc ana-
tom|ca|po|nts,andspcc|a|softwarca||gnsthcmw|ththcMKÌ
|magcs. ^t th|s po|nt, thc rca| anatomy of thc subj cct |s
a||gncd w|th thc v|rtua| anatomy of thc MKÌ imagcs÷vcry
soph|st|catcdstun,w|thoutadoubt, andaboutash|gh-tcchas
ncurosc|cncc gctstoday.
V|th thc stcrcotaxy systcm |n p|acc, wc can movc thc
magnct|c co|| ovcr thc sku|| ofthc subj cct and scc thc bra|n
arcas undcrncath s|mp|yby|ook|ngatthc computcr mon|tor.
Vhcn wc :appcd Broca`s arca w|th JM5, our subj ccts cou|d
not |m|tatc nngcr movcmcnts wc||.Vhcn wc :appcd ad|ncr-
cntbraInrcg|on, thcsubj ccts|m|tatcdpcrfcct|ywc||.Vc wcrc
vcry cxc|tcdw|th thcsc rcsu|ts, butwc had topcrform a con-
tro| cxpcr|mcnt to makc surc that thc |m|tat|on dcnc|ts sccn
wh||c :app|ng Broca`s arca wcrc tru|y spcc|nc to |m|tat|on
rathcr than to nonspcc|nc motor dcnc|ts. Jo th|s cnd, wc
askcd our subj ccts to pcrform a motor task |nvo|v|ng nngcr
movcmcntscxact|yas|nthc|m|tat|ontasks,butnotrcqu|r|ng
|m|tat|on.^ga|n:app|ngBroca`sarca, wcfoundmotordcnc|ts
on|y dur|ng thc |m|tat|on task. Jh|s JM5 cxpcr|mcnt dcm-
onstratcd a spcc|nc |m|tat|on dcnc|t |nduccd by a trans|cnt
|cs|on |n Broca`s arca, connrm|ng that thc rcg|on |s csscnt|a|
noton|yfor |anguagcbuta|sofor |m|tat|on. '
Jhc fact that thc maj or |anguagc arca ofthc human bra|n
|s a|so a cr|t|ca| arcafor|m|tat|onand contains mirror neurons
V
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
oncrs ancwv|cwof|anguagcandcogn|t|on|ngcncra|. Bythc
I º10s, say, cogn|t|vc sc|cncc had bccomc dom|natcd by thc
|dca that thc opcrat|ons of thc human m|nd that gcncratc
|anguagc andh|ghcrcogn|t|vc funct|onsarc ak|nto thc opcr-
at|ons of a computcr, man|pu|at|ng abstract symbo|s on thc
bas|s of spcc|nc ru|cs and computat|ons. ^ccord|ng to th|s
v|cw, mcnta| opcrat|ons arc |argc|y dctachcd from thc work-
|ngsofthcbody, w|ththcbodyamcrcoutputdcv|ccforcom-
mands gcncratcd by thc man|pu|at|on of abstract symbo|s |n
thc m|nd. Jhat |dca÷thc human m|nd as somcth|ng qu|tc
||kc a computcr÷hc|d sway for about ha|fa ccntury. Þow a
d|ncrcntv|cwhasbccomcmorcandmorcpopu|ar.^ccord|ng
to th|s a|tcrnat|vc, our mcnta| proccsscs arc shapcd by our
bod|cs and by thc typcs ofpcrccptua| and motor cxpcr|cnccs
thatarc thcproductofthc|r movcmcnt through and |ntcrac-
t|onw|ththcsurround|ngwor|d. Jh|s v|cw|sgcncra||yca||cd
cmbod|cdcogn|t|on, and thc vcrs|onofth|sthcorycspcc|a||y
dcd|catcd to |anguagc |s known as cmbod|cd scmant|cs. Jhc
d|scovcry of m|rror ncurons has strong|y rc|nforccd th|s hy-
pothcs|sthatcogn|t|onand |anguagc arc cmbod|cd.
BODY HE AT
Jhc ma|n |dca o! cmbod|cd scmant|cs | s that ||ngu|st|c con-
ccptsarcbu||t"bottomup"byus|ngthc scnsory-motorrcprc-
scntat|onsncccssaryto cnactthoscconccpts. Lctmcg|vcyou
an cxamp|c. Vhcn wc ta|k, wc oftcnusc cxprcss|ons |nvo|v-
|ng act|ons and body parts. thc kiss of dcath, kicking onthc
V
Z
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
ycar,gaping aconccpt, canyoug|vcmcahn w|thth|s,that
costanarm andalg, andprobab|yhundrcdsmorc. ^ccord|ng
to thc cmbod|cd scmant|c hypothcs|s, whcn wc say, hcar, or
rcad thcsc cxprcss|ons, wc actua||y act|vatc thc motor arcas
of our bra|n conccmcd w|th thc act|ons pcrformcd w|th
thosc body parts. Vhcn you rcad or say "thc k|ss ofdcath, "
yourbra|nact|vatcsthcmotorcc||syouact|vatcwhcnyouac-
tua||y k|ss somconc. ( Ìowcvcr, |ct`s hopc you won`t th|nk
about dcath thc ncxt t|mc you k|ss somconc. ) Jhcrc |s con-
v|nc|ngcmp|r|ca|cv|dcncc|n||ncw|ththcprcd|ct|onsofcm-
bod|cd scmant|cs, a|though |t gcncra||y docs not |nvo|vc
k|ss|ng. Ìor |nstancc, whcn subj ccts rcad a scntcncc that |m-
p||cs an act|on mov|ng "away" from thc body, such as "c|osc
thc drawcr," movcmcnts of thc arms toward thc body arc
s|owcddown.
Jhcsc k|nds of |ntcract|ons bctwccn bod||y movcmcnts
and||ngu|st|cmatcr|a|havcbccn|nvcst|gatcd|ndcta||by^rt
C|cnbcrgandh|sco||cagucsatthcLn|vcrs|tyofV|scons|nat
Mad|son.'
`
Jhc|r stud|cs suggcst that conccpts arc strong|y
t|cdw|th thcb|omcchan|ca| propcrt|cs ofbod|cs. Ìndccd, th|s
sccms to bc truc cvcn whcn h|gh|y cducatcd |nd|v|dua|s arc
d|scuss|ngcxtrcmc|yabstractconccpts, asrcvca|cdbyL|canor
Cchs and hcr co||cagucs at LCL^ |n a study of thc sc|cn-
t|nc d|scuss|on bctwccn phys|c|sts invcst|gat|ng h|gh-cncrgy
phys|cs. Cchs andco||cagucsc|car|y show that cvcn sc|cnt|sts
who arc try|ng to undcrstand a ncw hypothcs|s ground ab-
stract phcnomcna |n bod||y cxprcss|ons. Ìor |nstancc, wh||c
try|ngtocxp|a|ntrans|t|ons |nmagnct|cstatcsow|ngto tcm-
pcraturc changcs |n a substancc, thc hcad of thc |ab uscd
V}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
downwardhandgcsturcswh||csay|ng,"VhcnÌcomcdown|n
tcmpcraturc, Ì`m |nthc doma|nstatc. "' ' Jhcphys|c|st|dcnti-
ncdh|msc|fw|ththcsubstanccundcrd|scuss|onanduscdh|s
armtodcscr|bctcmpcraturcchangcs.
Lo m|rror ncurons part|c|patc |n ground|ng our undcr-
stand|ng of||ngu|st|c matcr|a| |n our bod|cs and our own ac-
t|ons ' \|ttor|o Ca||csc and thc cogn|t|vc sc|cnt|st Ccorgc
Lakonwcrc thc nrst oncs to proposc th|s hypothcs|s |n thc|r
papcr"JhcBra|n`sConccpts. "' ' L|sa^:|:-Ladch, whouscdto
bconcofmygraduatc studcnts atLCL^ and |snowafacu|ty
mcmbcrat thc Ln|vcrs|ty of5outhcmCa||fom|a, a|so |n Los
^ngc|cs, pcrformcd a bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt |n my |ab
addrcss|ng th|s hypothcs|s spcc|nca||y. L|sa askcd subj ccts to
rcad scntcnccs dcscr|b|ng hand and mouth act|ons÷for |n-
stancc, "grasp thc banana" and "b|tc thc pcach"÷wh||c shc
mcasurcdthc|rbra|nact|v|ty. Latcr,shcshowcdv|dcoc||psof
act|ons pcrformcd w|th thc hand ( grasp|ng an orangc) and
w|th thc mouth ( b|t|ng an app|c) . Vh||c subj ccts rcad thc
scntcnccsandwatchcd thc act|ons, thcyact|vatcdspcc|ncar-
casofthc|rbra|nsthatarcknowntocontro|, rcspcct|vc|y, thc
movcmcnts of thc hand and thc movcmcnts of thc mouth.
C|car|y, thcsc arcas wcrc human m|rror ncuron arcasforhand
movcmcnts and for mouth movcmcnts that wcrc a|so sc|cc-
t|vc|yact|vatcdwh||csubj cctswcrcrcad|ngscntcnccsdcscr|b-
|ng hand act|ons and mouth act|ons. ' ' Ìt |s as |f m|rror
ncurons hc|p us undcrstand whatwc rcadby |ntcma||y s|mu-
|at|ng thc act|on wc j ust rcad |n thc scntcncc. L|sa`s cxpcr|-
mcntsuggcststhatwhcnwc rcad anovc|, ourm|rrorncurons
s|mu|atc thc act|onsdcscr|bcd |n thc novc|, as |fwc wcrc do-
V4
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
|ngthosc act|onsoursc|vcs. Ìn|ts|anuary Z007 |ssuc, Discover
maga:|ncsc|cctcdhcrstudyamongthctops|xm|ndandbra|n
sc|cncc stor|cs of Z00ó. Ìn that |ssuc, L|sa dcscr|bcs our |an-
guagcfacu|ty as "|ntr|ns|ca||yt|cdto thc ncsh. "
Ìf th|s |s so, thc ro|c of m|rror ncurons |n |anguagc |s to
transformourbod||yact|onsfromapr|vatc cxpcr|cncctoaso-
c|a| cxpcr|cncc to bc sharcd w|th ourfc||owhumans through
|anguagc. 1hcor|cs ofboth |anguagc cvo|ut|on and |anguagc
acqu|s|t|onhavca|waysfocuscdonsomcsortof|tcratcd trans-
m|ss|onof|anguagc orof|tscvo|ut|onaryprccursors. Jhcprc-
va|||ngparad|gm |n|anguagcacqu|s|t|on|sthatch||drcn |cam
fromparcnts and tcachcrs and w|||, |n tum, cvcntua||y tcach
thc|r own ch||drcn. Jh|s transm|ss|on of know|cdgc |s un|-
d|rcct|ona|. 5|m||ar|y, thc prcva|||ng parad|gm |n |anguagc
cvo|ut|on |s thc onc borrowcd from gcnct|cs, |n wh|ch thc
gcnct|ccndowmcntofagcncrat|ondocsnot |nnucncc thccn-
dowmcnt of thc prcv|ous gcncrat|on. Cncc aga|n, un|d|rcc-
t|ona| now of |nformat|on. Þow, howcvcr, thc ro|c ofm|rror
ncurons |n |anguagc |nv|tcs us to |ook at |anguagc and |ts
cmcrgcncc w|th d|ncrcnt cycs. Vc shou|d |ook at thc coordi­
nated activity of|ntcract|ng |nd|v|dua|s÷a bidirectional nowof
|nformat|on÷to bcttcrundcrstand thc naturc and cmcrgcncc
ofhuman |anguagc.
C H AT ROOM S
Jh|nk about yoursc|fcngagcd |n a convcrsat|on, any k|nd of
convcrsat|on. Þow th|nk about yoursc|fcngagcd |n a mono-

M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|oguc, nrst g|v|ng a spccch, thcn ||stcn|ng to a spccch. Þow
comparc thcsc s|tuat|ons. Vh|ch onc |s "cas|cr"' Vh|ch onc
comcs morc natura||y to you' Ìor most pcop|c, g|v|ng a
spccch |s cha||cng|ng. Most a|so nnd |t dcmand|ng to fo||ow
a spccch by somcbody c|sc, wc havc to mustcr a|| our rc-
sourccs ofattcnt|on. Ìn contrast, a|mostcvcryoncfcc|s qu|tc
comfortab|c ta|k|ng w|th othcrs. Lvcn thosc pcop|c who nnd
convcrsat|on and soc|a| |ntcract|on a b|t of a cha||cngc
nnd mono|ogucs morc cha||cng|ng than convcrsat|on. Vhy
shou|d th|s bc' Ìrom thc standpo|nt ofthccogitive dcmands
ofmono|ogucs and convcrsat|ons, |tmakcs no scnsc that thc
comp||catcd g|vc-and-takc ofa convcrsat|onshou|d bc cas|cr
thandc||vcr|ngamono|oguc. Ìfanyth|ng, |tshou|dbccxact|y
thcoppos|tc.
Cons|dcrthc|ssucofp|ann|ngwhattosay. Youcanp|an a
spccchfromstart to cnd, butyoucannotp|an aconvcrsat|on.
Vhoknowswhatthcothcrpcrson |s go|ng to say' Curpow-
crsofd|sccm|ng|ntcnt|on,cvcnw|thourm|rrorncurons,arc
not that omn|sc|cnt. Jh|s d|ncrcncc a|onc shou|d makc g|v-
|ngaspccchmuchcas|crthanconvcrsat|on.^rc|atcd|ssuc|s
t|m|ng.^spcakcrcngagcd|namono|oguchascomp|ctccon-
tro| ovcr thc pacc of thc spccch. You can spccd up or slow
down, takc |ong pauscs, or do whatcvcr |s ncccssary to makc
your prcscntat|on morc powcrfu|. But pcop|c cngagcd |n a
convcrsat|on do not cnj oy any such frccdom. Ìndccd, tak|ng
tumsdur|ngaconvcrsat|on|sarca||yfastbus|ncss. Jhcpausc
bctwccn thc cnd ofthc uttcrancc ofthc spcakcr and thc bc-
g|nn|ngofthcncxtuttcranccfromad|ncrcntspcakcr|sabout
atcnthofasccond. Longcrpauscscanfcc|unbcarab|y|ongto
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
pcop|ccngagcd |nthcconvcrsat|on. 5o, aga|n, th|sd|ncrcncc
|nthc contro| oft|m|ng shou|d makc mono|ogucs cas|crthan
convcrsat|ons.
Jhat`s not a||. ^t |cast two othcr maj or factors shou|d
makc mono|ogucs cas|cr. Jhc nrst has to do w|th thc typc of
statcmcnts pcop|c makc. Mono|ogucs tcnd to havc comp|ctc
and wc||-formcd scntcnccs, wh||c convcrsat|ona| uttcranccs
arc a|most |nvar|ab|yfragmcnts thatmakc |tncccssaryforthc
||stcncr to gucss m|ss|ng |nformat|on. Jhcn thcrc`s thc rap|d-
nrc sw|tch|ng back and forth from spcak|ng to ||stcn|ng
rcqu|rcd |n convcrsat|on, a h|gh|y dcmand|ng cogn|t|vc op-
crat|on.
Ìor a|| thcsc rcasons, convcrsat|on shou|d bc much morc
d|mcu|tthandc||vcr|ngamono|oguc. Ìowcvcr, thc cxact op-
pos|tc |s thc casc. '' Convcrsat|on |s cas|cr than mono|oguc,
andÌ bc||cvc thc cxp|anat|on |srootcd |nm|rrorncuronsand
|m|tat|on. Lur|ng convcrsat|on, wc |m|tatc cach othcr`s cx-
prcss|ons, cvcn cachothcr`s syntact|c construct|ons. Vca|so
automat|ca||yand|ntcract|vc|yncgot|atcthcmcan|ngofccr-
ta|nwords,sothatthoscwordsassumcavcryprcc|scmcan|ng
w|th|n thc contcxt ofa spcc|nc convcrsat|on rathcr than thc
mcan|ng wc wou|d gct from a d|ct|onary. Jh|s |s why ovcr-
hcar|ng a convcrsat|on docsnotmcanthatwc w||| bc ab|c to
makc scnscof|t. ' ' Jry to rcad a transcr|ptofacomputcrchat
room |n wh|ch you d|d notpart|c|patc. |tfcc|s as |fyou havc
no c|uc as to what |s bc|ng ta|kcd about÷and you probab|y
don`t. Youmay th|nk that |m|tat|on has no ro|c |n thcsc v|r-
tua| convcrsat|ons, bccausc pcop|c do not scc cach othcr.
Ìowcvcr, wc can and do |m|tatc words, syntact|c construc-
V/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
t|ons, andsoon. Ìor |nstancc, |foncpcrsoncngagcd |nad|a-
|oguc uscsthcword"sofa" rathcrthanthcword"couch, "thc
othcr pcrson cngagcd |nthcd|a|ogucw|||do thcsamc.
Jhcrc arc othcr forms of |m|tat|on and |ntcract|vc a||gn-
mcnt|nafacc-to-faccconvcrsat|on.Mcan|ngandtum-tak|ng
arc automat|ca||y ncgot|atcd, s|mu|tancous gcsturcs, cyc or|-
cntat|on,andbodyrotat|onsarcvcry|mportantforhc|p|ngus
makc scnsc of what |s bc|ng sa|d. Jhcsc nonvcrba| forms of
commun|cat|oncas||yfa|| |ntopattcms. ^|though |tmayfcc|
as|fwca|ways|ookatourfc||ow|ntcr|ocutors, dcta||cdana|y-
scsofv|dcotapcdspontancousconvcrsat|onsrcvca|thatatthc
bcg|nn|ng of thc spcakcr`s tum, thc ||stcncr rarc|y |ooks at
thc spcakcr`s eyes. 5oon thcrcaftcr, thc ||stcncr ga:cs at thc
spcakcr`s cycs. ' º ^t th|s prcc|sc momcnt of mutual gaze, thc
spcakcr tcnds to start a ncw scntcncc w|thout comp|ct|ng
thc onc |n progrcss. Ìt |s a|most as |f by |ook|ng stra|ght
|nto thc othcr pcrson`s cycs, thc hcarcr |s say|ng "Co ahcad
now, |t`s your tum to ta|k and Ì won`t |ntcrrupt (for a fcw
scconds . . . ) . "
5|mp|yput, boththc words and thc act|ons |naconvcrsa-
t|on tcnd to bc part of a coord|natcd, j o|nt act|v|ty w|th a
common goa|, and th|s dancc ofd|a|oguc |s natura| and casy
for us. But nonc of |t |s gcncra|ly stud|cd by trad|t|ona| ||n-
gu|st|cs. Morc to thc po|nt, such a dancc |s a|so exactly thc
k|nd of soc|a| |ntcract|on that m|rror ncurons fac|||tatc
through |m|tat|on.
Lvcryconvcrsat|on |s a coord|natcd act|v|ty w|th a com-
mongoa|,anda||rc-crcatc toadcgrccthccvo|ut|onofancw
|anguagc. Ìndccd, thc factthat somc words |n a convcrsat|on
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
assumcspcc|ncmcan|ngsdctcrm|ncdbytac|t,mutua|conscn-
susshowsushowthcj o|ntpowcrof|m|tat|onand|nnovat|on
crcatcs commun|cat|on. Cnc of thc most start||ng cxamp|cs
|nsupport ofth|s |dca |s thc spontancousbutfu||ydcvc|opcd
s|gn |anguagc crcatcd by dcafch||drcn |n Þ|caragua schoo|s
|n thc |atc I º/0s and I ºo0s. Bcforc that t|mc, thc dcaf |n
Þ|caragua wcrc |argc|y |so|atcd, commun|cat|ng w|th fr|cnds
and fam||y throughs|mp|c gcsturcs and "homcmadc, " ad hoc
s|gnsystcms. Jhcnthc5and|n|starcvo|ut|oncncouragcdccn-
tcrsforspcc|a| cducat|on ofdcafch||drcn. Ìundrcdswcrc cn-
ro||cd |n two schoo|s |nthc Managuaarca÷acr|t|ca|mass, |t
tumcd out. Vh||c |ntcract|ng |n thc schoo| yard, on thc
buscs, and |n thc strccts, thcsc ch||drcn progrcss|vc|y dcvc|-
opcdasharcds|gn |anguagcbycomb|n|nggcsturcsfromthc|r
|nd|v|dua| systcms. Ìn|t|a||y, th|s was a rc|at|vc|y s|mp|c |an-
guagc w|th a s|mp|c grammar and fcw synonyms÷what |s
ca||cdap|dg|n|anguagc.Latcron,youngcrk|dswhohadbccn
taught th|s s|mp|c |anguagc by thc o|dcr k|ds dcvc|opcd a
morc soph|st|catcd, wc||-dcnncd, stab|c, and fu||-b|own s|gn
|anguagcthat|snowknownasÌd|omadc 5cñasdcÞ|caragua.
Ìron|ca||y, thc stanat thc schoo| cou|d not undcrstand what
thc ch||drcnwcrcs|gn|ngtocachothcrandhadtorc|yonthc
cxtcma| hc|p of|udy Kcg|, an ^mcr|can l|ngu|st cxpcrt |n
^mcr|can5|gn Languagc, to ngurc outwhat was go|ng on. ' '
Jh|sstoryofspontancous|anguagcdcvc|opmcnt| sfamous
a|| ovcr thc wor|d. 5omc sc|cnt|sts havc |ntcrprctcd thc phc-
nomcnonascv|dcnccthathumansarchardw|rcdfor|anguagc
acqu|s|t|on. ' ºÌ bc||cvc that m|rror ncurons prov|dc a s|mp|cr
cxp|anat|on, for thcy makc |t poss|b|c to automat|ca||y and
VV
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
dccp|yundcrstandthc handmovcmcnts andgcsturcsofothcr
pcop|c and to |m|tatc thosc gcsturcs. Jh|s |s a fundamcnta|
start|ngpo|ntforcrcat|ngasctofgcsturcsasthc bas|sofarc|-
at|vc|y s|mp|c s|gn |anguagc. Ìrom th|sbas|s, |t |s a|so rc|a-
t|vc|y s|mp|c to sctt|c on, through thc rcc|proca| |m|tat|on
fac|||tatcdbym|rrorncurons,amorccomp|cxstructurcofgcs-
turcs that bu||d fu||-b|own s|gn |anguagc. Jhc kcy c|cmcnt
that madc a|| th|s poss|b|c |n Þ|caragua was thc facc-to-facc
|ntcract|onamongk|dsthroughoutthc day. Jh|s |sthc sortof
contcxt |n wh|ch m|rror neurons can work thc|r mag|c to a
max|mumcncct.
Ì am not a|onc |n th|s hypothcs|s. Cthcr sc|cnt|sts havc
cmphas|:cd thc ro|c of|m|tat|on |nthc cmcrgcnccand acqu|-
s|t|on of |anguagc. Jhc psycho|og|st M|chac| Jomasc||o has
not|ccdthatch||drcn|camthcconcrctc||ngu|st|ccxprcss|ons
ofthc|r|anguagcthrough imitation, and thcytcndtost|ckw|th
thosc cxprcss|ons, rcpcat|ng thcm vcryfrcqucnt|y. 5omc ch||-
drcngo through astagc|nwh|chthcytcndtouscthccxprcs-
s|on "Ì th|nk" w|th thc mcan|ng ofsomcth|ng ||kc "maybc. "
Jhcsc ch||drcn v|rtua||yncvcruscothcrforms ofth|s cxprcs-
s|on,for |nstancc"hcth|nks"or"Ìdon`tth|nk"or"Ìthought"
orcvcn"Ì th|nk that. "Jhc rcpcatcd usc ofa nxcdcxprcss|on
c|car|y suggcsts that |m|tat|on, and not an |nst|nct for gram-
mar, hc|ps ch||drcn acqu|rc |anguagc. Latcr on, thcy start
comb|n|ng thcsc acqu|rcd nxcd cxprcss|ons and arc ab|c to
bu||d morc soph|st|catcd|anguagcforms. ' '
Cthcr sc|cnt|sts havc cxp|orcd thc cmcrgcncc ofcommu-
n|cat|on w|th wc||-contro||cd cxpcr|mcnts |n thc |aboratory.
^ typ|ca|wayofstudy|nghow humans "|nvcnt a |anguagc" |s
¡ 0 0
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
bycngag|ngpart|c|pants|naco||aborat|vcgamc, pcrhapsonc
|n wh|ch two p|aycrs arc try|ng to commun|catc cach othcr`s
pos|t|on |n a ma:c. Ìn thcsc s|tuat|ons, part|c|pants tcnd to
comcupw|thncw mcan|ngsforcx|st|ngwordsand to qu|ck|y
adopt thcsc ncwmcan|ngs, as |fcrcat|ng somc sort ofsub|an-
guagc through |m|tat|on. Ìna var|at|onofsuchgamcs, part|c-
|pantscannotcvcnta|k to cachothcr, andcancommun|catc
on|ygraph|ca||y, bydraw|ng ||ncs. 5omct|mcs thcscratchpad
prov|dcd to thc subj ccts for th|s graph|c convcrsat|on movcs
on|y vcrt|ca||y as subj ccts draw on |t, thus forc|ng thcm to
crcatc cnt|rc|y novc| forms ofv|sua| commun|cat|on. Lvcn |n
thcsc cascs, part|c|pants arc ab|c to commun|catc by coord|-
nat|ngcachothcr`s act|v|tythroughrcc|proca| |m|tat|on.
Z0
Jh|sd|scuss|on|cadstoanobv|ousqucst|on. Ìf|m|tat|on|s
such a kcy factor |n |anguagc acqu|s|t|on and cvcn in thc
cmcrgcncc of|anguagc, do thc ncura| mcchan|sms ofm|rror-
|ng occur not on|yfor act|ons ( wh|ch wc know thcy do, |n-
c|ud|ngw|th s|gn |anguagcs) buta|sofor spccchsouns ? ^ftcr
a||, thc way ch||drcn |cam |anguagc |s |n|t|a||y and ma|n|y
bascd on thc spokcn form oI |anguagc. Jhc nna| scct|on of
th|schaptcrdca|s w|thth|squcst|on.
M I RRORI NG S PE E C H AND OTHER SOUNDS
Vhcn monkcys hcar ccrta|n sounds that arc typ|ca||y assoc|-
atcdw|thccrta|nact|ons, for |nstanccbrcak|ngapcanut, m|r-
rorncurons nrc. Jh|s wc |camcd |n thc nrstchaptcr. Ìs thcrc
anycv|dcnccthathuman m|rrorncuronsdothc samc'Vh||c
¡ 0 ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
st|||a graduatc studcnt |n my |ab, L|sa^:|:-LadchuscdJM5
to mcasurc thccxc|tab|||ty ofmotorcc||s |nthchumanbra|n
wh||c |nact|vc subj ccts wcrc ||stcn|ng tod|ncrcntsounds. ^s
prcd|ctcd,shcfoundthatsubj cctshadh|ghcrmotorcxc|tab||-
|tywhcn ||stcn|ngtoact|onsounds, suchas tcar|ngpapcrand
typ|ng on a kcyboard, comparcd w|th thc rcsponsc to othcr
k|nds ofsounds÷for |nstancc, thundcr. Morcovcr, thc h|ghcr
cxc|tab|||tywasrcstr|ctcdtothosc musc|cs |nvo|vcd|nthc ac-
t|onsproduc|ngthcsounds.Vhcnthcsubj cctwas||stcn|ngto
thcsoundoftcar|ngpapcr, handmusc|cswcrc morc cxc|tab|c
thanfootmusc|cs.Jh|swas thc samcphcnomcnonof"motor
rcsonancc" Luc|anoÌad|gadcmonstratcdfor obscrvcdact|ons
|n thc cxpcr|mcnt dcscr|bcd |n chaptcr Z. ^|soprcd|ctab|y, a
bra|n |mag|ng study |cd by Chr|st|an Kcyscrs |n Ìo||and
dcmonstratcdact|vat|onofm|rror ncuron arcas wh||csubj ccts
||stcncd to act|onsounds. ''
^|though thcsc cxpcr|mcnts show n|cc|y a ||nk bctwccn
human m|rror ncurons and sounds, thcy do not tc|| us
whcthcr thc pcrccpt|on ofspeech sounds, spcc|nca||y, |sfac|||-
tatcd by somc form of ncura| m|rror|ng. Ìowcvcr, a wc||-
known bchav|ora| cncct on spccch pcrccpt|on ca||cd thc
McCurk cncct suggcsts somc form of m|rror|ng. Vhcn sub-
j ccts arc ||stcn|ng to d|scrctc sy||ab|cs p|aycd by spcakcr-
phoncs÷for |nstancc, ba÷wh||c thcy arc a|so watch|ng thc
v|dcotapc of somcbody mov|ng thc ||ps as |f to say ga, thcy
pcrcc|vc thc sound ofnc|thcr ba norga. Ìnstcad, thcy hcar B
th|rdsy||ab|c,c, thathasnotbccnprcscntcdto thcm ata|l. ''
Jhc McCurkcmctshows thatwatch|ng thc mov|ng||psofa
spcakcr cvokcs |n our bra|n thc spccch sounds that wou|d bc
¡ 0Z
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
spokcnby thatpcrson, |fwc arc s|mu|tancous|y ||stcn|ng to a
d|ncrcnt spccchsound,thctwo sounds mcrgc |nthc bra|n and
form a th|rd sound thatwchavc nothcard ata||.
5cvcra|ycarsagoatthcÌask|nsLaboratoryatYa|c,^|v|n
L|bcrmanandh|sco||cagucswcrctry|ng tobu||ddcv|ccsthat
wou|d transform tcxt |nto spokcn words so that war vctcrans
whohad|ostthc|rcycs|ghtwou|dbcab|cto"rcad"booksand
ncwspapcrs. Jo thc|r d|smay, L|bcrman and co||cagucs found
that thc vctcrans` pcrccpt|on of thc dcv|cc`s spccch output
was unbcarab|y s|ow, much s|owcr cvcn than thc pcrccpt|on
ofd|stortcdhumanspccch.Jh|sobscrvat|on|nsp|rcdthcYa|c
tcam to proposc a thcory of spccch pcrccpt|on accord|ng to
wh|ch spccch sounds arc undcrstood not so much as sounds,
but rathcr as "art|cu|atory gcsturcs"÷that |s, as thc |ntcndcd
motorp|ansncccssarytospcak. '' Jh|smotorthcoryofspccch
pcrccpt|on bas|ca||y suggcsts that thc way ourbra|n pcrcc|vcs
othcrpcop|c`s spccch |sbys|mu|at|ngthatwc arc ta|k|ngour-
sc|vcs '
Ìmmcd|atc|y aftcr m|rror ncurons wcrc d|scovcrcd |n
Ìarma,C|acomoK|::o|att|to|dLuc|ano Ìad|gathatthcprop-
crt|cs of thosc ncurons rcm|ndcd h|m ofthc motor thcory of
spccch pcrccpt|on of ^|v|n L|bcrman. Jh|s rcmark |nsp|rcd
Ìad|gatouscJM5totcstL|bcrman`smotorthcory. Ìnth|scx-
pcr|mcnt, asthcsubj ccts||stcncdtowordsthroughcarphoncs,
Ìad|ga and h|s co||cagucs st|mu|atcd thc scctor ofthc motor
cortcx that contro|s tonguc musc|cs wh||c rccord|ng thc
tonguc musc|c tw|tchcs |nduccd by thc st|mu|at|on. Jhcy
uscd two ma|n typcs of words. Cnc rcqu|rcd strong tonguc
movcmcnts whcn produccd ( doub|c r, such as
"
tera,
"
or
¡ 0
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
"ground" |n Ìta||an) . Jhc othcr typc rcqu|rcd on|y a s||ght
tonguc movcmcnt whcn produccd ( doub|c], such as "bafo,
"
or"mustachc"|nÌta||an) . Jhc motor thcoryofspccchpcrccp-
t|on prcd|cts that wh||c subj ccts ||stcn to words that rcqu|rc
strong tonguc movcmcnts, thc st|mu|at|on ovcr thc tonguc
motor cortcx shou|d producc strongcr muscu|ar tw|tchcs |n
thc tonguc comparcd w|th ||stcn|ng to words rcqu|r|ng ||tt|c
tonguc movcmcnt. Jhc rcsu|ts connrmcd |t.'' Ìn a manncr
ana|ogous to Ìad|ga`s prcv|ous cxpcr|mcnts on motor rcso-
nanccforgrasp|ngact|ons,thccxpcr|mcntdcmonstratcdthat
wh||c ||stcn|ng to othcr pcop|c ta|k, ||stcncrs m|rror thc
spcakcrw|ththc|rtongucs.
Ìo||ow|ngth|swork, 5tcphcnV||son, thcnagraduatc stu-
dcnt |n my |ab, uscd fMKÌ to |ook at bra|n act|vat|on wh||c
subj ccts sa|d a scr|cs of sy||ab|cs a|oud and ||stcncd through
carphoncs to othcr pcop|c spcak|ng thc samc sy||ab|cs. Ìn
cvcrysubj cctstud|cd,thcsamc spccch motorarcathatwasac-
t|vatcd dur|ng spcak|ng was a|so act|vatcd dur|ng ||stcn|ng. ''
Both Ìad|ga`s and V||son`s stud|cs, thcn, c|car|y show that
whcnwc ||stcn to othcrs,ourmotorspccchbra|narcasarc ac-
t|vatcd as |f wc arc ta|k|ng. But |s th|s act|vat|on of m|rror
ncurons for spccch ncccssary to pcrcc|vc spccch' Ìngo Mc|s-
tcr, aCcrmanncuro|og|stwhospcntaycar|nmy|abstudy|ng
thc ||nks bctwccn thc m|rror ncuron systcm and |anguagc,
pcrformcd a JM5 cxpcr|mcnt to answcrth|s qucst|on. Ìnthc
usua|way,acoppcrco||wasp|accdonsubj ccts`hcads|nordcr
to|nducctrans|cnt|cs|ons |nthcmotorspcccharca|dcnt|ncd
by 5tcphcnV||son.Jhus"|ncapac|tatcd, "wou|d thc subj ccts
ncvcrthc|cssbcab|ctounrstn spccch'Ìngoandthcrcstof
¡ 0
4
G RA S P I N G L A N G U A G E
us bc||cvcd thc answcrwou|d bc no, and th|s was |ndccd thc
casc. Vhcn thc JM5 pu|scsknockcd down thc subj ccts` mo-
tor spccch arcas, thc|r ab|||ty to pcrcc|vc spccch sounds was
a|sorcduccd. 'ºJhc m|rror|ngofothcrpcop|c`s spccch|s àctu-
a||yncccssaryfor ustopcrcc|vc |t.
Jhcsc stud|cs havc opcncd a who|c ncw nc|d of cxpcr|-
mcnts on ncura| m|rror|ng ofvoca||:at|on. Ìn onc rcccnt cx-
pcr|mcnt, sc|cnt|sts found that ||stcn|ng to voca||:at|ons of
amuscmcnt and tr|umph÷|aughtcr and cxc|tcd shouts, say-
act|vatcsthc samc motor arcasrcqu|rcdforsm|||ng. ''Jh|s rc-
su|t suggcsts m|rror|ng for thc shar|ng of pos|t|vc cmot|ons
cxprcsscd through voca||:at|on. 5uch a m|rror|ng mcchan|sm
wou|d sccm to bc csscnt|a| for cstab||sh|ng cohcs|vc bonds
w|th|n soc|a| groups. Jhc ncxt qucst|onfor|nvcst|gat|onfo|-
|owsautomat|ca||y.Vhat|sthcro|cofm|rrorncurons |n thc
var|ousformsofcmpathythatcharactcr|:chumanbchav|or'
¡ 0
§
FOUR
See Me, Feel Me
Wen we see a stroke aimed, and just reay hfall upon
the leg o arm of another person, we naturally shrink
and drw back our leg or our own ar; and when it does
fall, we feel it in some measure , and are hurt by it as
well as the suferer. -ADAM 8 MI 7H ( I 7 5 9 ) I
ZIDANE
'
S HE A D- B U T T
am |n Ìta|y. Ìt |s car|y ^ugust Z00ó, and a month ago Ìta|y
won thc Vor|d Cup of socccr by dcfcat|ng Ìrancc on
pcna|tyk|cksfo||ow|nga I-I t|c.^kcycp|sodc |nthc Ìta||an
tr|umphwasthcsuddcncj cct|onofL|néd|ncL|danc, Ìrancc`s
wor|d-c|assp|aycr,j ustafcwm|nutcsbcforcthccndofihccx-
trat|mc that prcccdcd thc pcna|ty k|cks. Jhc causcwas h|s
savagc hcad-butt|ng ofMarco Matcra::|, an Ìta||anp|aycr, |n
thc chcst÷an act of fo||y sccn ||vc by morc than a b||||on
pcop|c. L|danc was thc dcs|gnatcd Ìrcnch p|aycr for pcna|ty
k|cks and had a|rcady scorcd thc pcna|ty k|ck that gavc
S E E M E . F E E L M E
Ìrancc a tcmporary |cad |n thc gamc. Ìn thc cnd, Ìta|y won
thc pcna|ty k|cks, w|th onc pcna|ty k|ck m|sscd by a Ìrcnch
p|aycr. Ìt |s w|dc|ythought that L|danc`s prcmaturc cx|t from
thcgamcwasadcc|s|vcfactor|nthc outcomc.
Þow, amonth|atcr,wcarccnj oy|nga typ|ca| Ìta||ansum-
mcrt|mcd|nncrparty,w|th|otsofrc|at|vcsgathcrcdatmyun-
c|c`s bcach housc at 5an Ìc||cc C|rcco, a town about s|xty
m||cs south of Komc. ( Ì `vc bccn ||v|ng |n Los ^ngc|cs for
many ycars, and cvcry t|mc Ì rctum to Ìta|y for a short v|s|t,
wchavcagoodrcason for a fam||y fcast. ) |ustbcforc d|nncr,
my cous|n-|n-|aw |s n|pp|ng J\ channc|s and nnds a broad-
castofthc Vor|dCup nna|. Ìc |nforms mc thatonc channc|
oranothcr shows thc who|c gamc

at |cast oncc a wcck, and Ì
amnotsurpr|scd.Jhc |ast t|mc Ìta|ywonthc Vor|dCupwas
twcnty-fourycarsago. Ìta||answanttorc||vc cverymomcntof
thc|rtr|umph,bccauscwhoknowswhcnwcw|||havcanothcr
onc. Vatch|ng thc gamc aga|n, Ì know cxact|y what |s go|ng
to happcn. 5t|||, Ì nnd mysc|fcxpcr|cnc|ng strong cmot|ons
whcn L|danc hcad-butts Matcra::|. Ì w|ncc at Matcra::|`s
pa|n. Kcad thc quotc from ^dam 5m|th at thc bcg|nn|ng of
th|s chaptcr aga|n. wc|| ovcr two hundrcd ycars ago, hc dc-
scr|bcd thc phcnomcnon n|cc|y. Ì a|so fcc| cnragcd a|| ovcr
aga|natL|dancforh|sactofaggrcss|on.^fcwm|nutcs|atcrÌ
watch thc írcnch p|aycr Jré:éguct m|ss|ng h|s pcna|ty k|ck.
Jhc ba|| h|ts thc post and bounccs away-thc m|stakc that
gavcthc Ìta||ansquadthcVor|dCup.
^nd now my po|nt for th|s book. watch|ng thc L|danc
hcad-butt, Ì fcc|my or|g|na| cmot|ons ofthc momcnt a|most
¡ 0
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
as powcrfu||y as cvcr, but Ì fcc| no cmot|ons watch|ng thc
m|sscd pcna|ty k|ck, wh|ch, |n thc |ong run, onc cou|d ar-
gucwasfarmorc |mportantthanL|danc`shcad-butt.Vhyd|d
on|yL|danc`shcad-butttr|ggcrmystrongcmot|ona|rcact|on
amonth|atcr'Vhcn Ì scc thc hcad-butt, Ì amwatch|ngtwo
bod|cs co|||d|ng, a hcad h|tt|ng a chcst, and thc faccs ofthc
two mcn ro||cd by strong cmot|on. Ì havc an |mmcd|atc, un-
mcd|atcd, and automat|c undcrstand|ng of what thcsc two
|nd|v|dua|s fcc|. Vhcn Ì scc thc ba|| h|tt|ng thc post and
bounc|ng away, howcvcr, Ì am watch|ng two |nan|matc ob-
j ccts. Ìn thcory, thc m|sscd k|ck |s morc |mportant, but my
bra|n|sn`tdca||ng |n thcor|cs. Mybra|n|s dca||ng w|th what
|tsees, andwhat |tsccs dctcrm|ncs what Ìfeel.
Ì bc||cvc thc most ||kc|y cxp|anat|on of my cmpathy for
thc cmot|ons of thc hcad-butt|ng cp|sodc |s somc ncura|
mcchan|smform|rror|ng |nmy bra|n. Myfr|cnds |nC|acomo
K|::o|att|`s |ab |n Ìarma agrcc, among thcm, \|ttor|o Ca||csc
was thcnrst to proposc a ro|c ofm|rror ncurons |n both un-
dcrstand|ngandcmpath|:|ngw|th thc cmot|ons ofothcrpco-
p|c. Ca||csc, thc |nvcst|gator whosc |ntcrcst |n ph||osophy
|ntroduccdthc tcam to thc |mportantwork ofthc phcnomc-
no|og|stMaur|ccMcr|cau- Ìonty, a|so po|ntcdoutthcground-
brcak|ng work on cmpathy by thc Ccrman psycho|og|st
Jhcodor L|pps at thc bcg|nn|ng of thc twcnt|cth ccntury,
work that, |n rctrospcct, po|nts d|rcct|y at a ro|c for m|rror
ncurons. "Lmpathy" |s actua||y a |atcr Lng||sh trans|at|on of
thcCcrmanword"Einfuhlung," wh|chL|pps|n|t|a||yproposcd
to dcscr|bc thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn awork ofart and |ts ob-
scrvcr. Ìc subscqucnt|ycxtcndcdth|sconccptto |ntcract|ons
¡ 00
S E E M E . F E E L M E
bctwccn pcop|c. hc construcd our pcrccpt|on of thc movc-
mcntsofothcrs as aformof|nncr |m|tat|onandprov|dcd thc
cxamp|c of watch|ng an acrobat suspcndcd on a w|rc h|gh
abovc thc scats atthc c|rcus. Vhcnwc watch thc acrobaton
thc w|rc, L|pps says, wc fcc|oursc|vcs |ns|dc thc acrobat. Ì|s
phcnomcno|og|ca| dcscr|pt|on of watch|ng thc acrobat |s
ccr||yprcd|ct|vc ofthcpattcrnofact|v|tyd|sp|aycd by m|rror
ncurons thatnrcbothwhcnwc grasp and whcnwc sccsomc-
oncc|scgrasp|ng, as |fwcwcrc |ns|dcthatpcrson. '
Lmpathyp|ays afundamcnta|ro|c|noursoc|al||vcs. Ìta|-
|owsus tosharccmot|ons, cxpcr|cnccs, nccds, andgoa|s. Þot
surpr|s|ng|y, thcrc |s much cmp|r|ca| cv|dcncc suggcst|ng a
strong ||nk bctwccn m|rror ncurons ( or somc gcncra|forms of
ncura| m|rror|ng) andcmpathy. Jh|s cv|dcncchas bccn gath-
crcd us|ng d|ncrcnt mcthodo|og|cs |n ncurosc|cncc, from
bra|n |mag|ng to thc study of bra|n-damagcd pat|cnts, cvcn
|ook|ngatthcdatafromdcpthc|cctrodcs |mp|antcd|nncuro-
surg|ca|pat|cnts. Bcforc d|gg|ng |nto thc dcta||s ofth|s work,
though, Ì nccd to prcscnt thc scr|cs of carcfu| stud|cs of
human bchav|or by soc|a| psycho|og|sts. Jh|s work was thc
vcry nrst cv|dcncc suggcst|ng ||nks bctwccn m|rror|ng and
cmpathy.
HU M A N S OR C HA ME L EON S ?
5omct|mcs Ì th|nk ofhumans as chamc|cons, andÌ am not
thcnrsttohavcmadcthccompar|son.Vchavcan |nst|nct to
|m|tatc onc anothcr÷to synchron|:c our bod|cs, our act|ons,
¡ 0
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cvcnthcwaywcspcaktocachothcr÷j ustaswchavcsccn|n
thc prcv|ous chaptcrs. Jh|sphcnomcnonhas bccn stud|cd |n
a host ofways, from c|cvcr cxpcr|mcnts to dcta||cd obscrva-
t|ons ofhumanbchav|or. ^sL|a|nc Ìatnc|d,|ohn Cac|oppo,
andK|chard L. Kapsonput |t |n thc|r wondcrfu| book, Emo­
tional Contagion, "pcop|c |m|tatc othcrs` cxprcss|on of pa|n,
|aughtcr, sm|||ng, ancct|on, cmbarrassmcnt, d|scomfort, d|s-
gust, stuttcr|ng, rcach|ng w|th cnort, and thc ||kc, |n a broad
rangc ofs|tuat|ons. 5uchm|m|cry . . . |sacommun|cat|vc act,
convcy|ng a rap|d and prcc|sc nonvcrba| mcssagc to anothcr
pcrson."'
Jh|s rap|d and prcc|sc nonvcrba| synchrony wc "cnj oy"
w|th our fc||ows oftcn has an cmot|ona| componcnt, as |n
Ìrank Bcrn|cr|`s v|dcotapcs of young coup|cs tcach|ng cach
othcr somc madc-up words. Ic found that thc coup|cs who
dcmonstratcd thc grcatcst motor synchrony a|so had thc
strongcst cmot|ona| rapport w|th cach othcr. ^ study on thc
ro|c of an |ntcrv|cwcr`s warmth on an |ntcrv|cwcc`s rcact|on
shows that warm |ntcrv|cwcrs÷thosc |nstructcd to |can for-
ward, sm||c, and nod÷c||c|tcd |can|ng-forward movcmcnts,
sm||cs, and nods |n thc |ntcrv|cwccs. 5uch motor m|m|cry
sccms tohavcnoton|yacommun|cat|vcro|c,butcvcn apcr-
ccptua|onc, as dcmonstratcdbyL|fL|mbcrg`smcasurcmcnts
ofthc act|v|ty offac|a| musc|cs ofsubj ccts who wcrc |ook|ng
athappyorangryfaccs.Jhcact|v|tyofchcckmusc|csthatwc
contract whcn sm|||ng |ncrcascd whcn thcsc subj ccts wcrc
watch|ng happy faccs, and thc act|v|ty ofbrow musc|cs that
wc contract whcn angry |ncrcascd wh||c thcy wcrc watch|ng
¡ ¡ 0
S E E M E . F E E L M E
angryfaccs. 'Kcmcmbcr, thcrcwasnofacc-to-facc intcraction
in this cxpcrimcnt÷thc subj ccts wcrc |ooking at picturcs.
Vhat, thcn, was thc ro|c ofmimicry in that situation' Jhc
answcr comcs from a study |cd by Ìau|a Þicdcntha|, an
^mcrican socia|psycho|ogistwho |ivcs and works in Ìrancc.
Ìn hcr cxpcrimcnt, two groups ofparticipants wcrc askcd to
dctcct changcs in thc facia| cxprcssions ofothcr pcop|c. Jhc
kcy was that onc group was prcvcntcd from frcc|y moving
thcir own faccs bccausc thcy wcrc ho|ding a pcnci| bctwccn
thc tccth. Jry it. Jhc pcnci| scvcrc|y rcstricts thc abi|ity to
smi|c, frown, and do cvcrything c|sc wc do with our faccs
throughout thc day. Morcovcr, thc pcnci| scvcrc|y rcstricts
mimicry. Jhus it is no surprisc to |carn that thc participants
ho|ding thc pcnci|s bctwccn thcir tccth wcrc much |css cfn-
cicnt in dctccting changcs in cmotiona| facia| cxprcssions
than wcrc participants who wcrc frcc to mimic thc obscrvcd
cxprcssions. 'Mimickingothcrs isnotj ustaformofcommuni-
catingnonvcrba||y, ithc|psus to pcrccivc othcrs` cxprcssions
( and thcrcforc thcircmotions) inthc nrstp|acc.
Jhis sccms countcrintuitivc. Vou|dn`t wc cxpcct that in
ordcr to imitatc an obscrvcd facia| cmotiona| cxprcssion,
wc nrstshou|dbc ab|c torecogize it 'Cn|yifwc assumc that
dc|ibcratc, cxp|icitrccognitionmustncccssari|yprcccdc mim-
icry. Curon|yproofofthis isan agc-o|d thcory, andthccx|s-
tcncc ofmirrorncurons providcs an a|tcmativc cxp|anation.
thc idca that thc mimicry actua||y precedes and hc|ps thc
rccognition. Jhis is what Ì bc|icvc happcns. mirror ncurons
providc an unrcncctivc, automatic simu|ation ( or "inncr imi-
¡ ¡ ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
tation, "as Ì havc somctimcsphrascd |thcrc) ofthcfac|a|cx-
prcssions ofothcrpcop|c,andth|sproccss ofs|mu|ationdocs
not rcquirc cxp|ic|t, dc||bcratc rccognit|on ofthc cxprcss|on
mimickcd. 5imu|tancous|y,m|rrorncuronsscnds|gna|stothc
cmot|ona| ccntcrs |ocatcd |n thc ||mb|c systcm ofthc brain.
Jhc ncura| act|vity in thc ||mb|c systcm tr|ggcrcd by thcsc
s|gna|sfromm|rrorncuronsa||owsus tofcc|thc cmot|ons as-
sociatcd with thc obscrvcd facia| cxprcss|ons÷thc happincss
assoc|atcd w|th a sm||c, thc sadncss assoc|atcd w|th a frown.
Cn|yafter wcfcc|thcsccmot|onsintcma||yarcwcab|ctocx-
p||c|t|yrccogni:cthcm.Vhcnapart|c|pant|saskcdtoho|da
pcnci| bctwccn his tccth, thc motor activity rcquircd by this
action intcrfcrcs w|th thc motor act|v|ty ofm|rror ncurons
thatwou|d m|mic thc obscrvcd fac|a|cxprcss|ons. Jhc subsc-
qucntcascadcofncura|activat|onsthatwou|d|cadtocxp|ic|t
rccogn|t|onofcmotions isa|sod|sruptcd.
Ìfthisaccount ofhow m|m|crycansupportrccognit|on of
cmotions is corrcct, |tfo||ows thatgood |m|tators shou|d a|so
bc good at rccogn|:ing cmotions, and so cndowcd with a
grcatcr cmpathy for othcrs. ^nd ifthis |s truc, wc shou|d ob-
scrvc a rc|ationsh|p bctwccn thc tcndcncy to im|tatc othcrs
and thc abi|ity to cmpath|:c with thcm. ^s it happcns, th|s
is cxact|y thc hypothcsis tcstcd by thc soc|a| psycho|og|sts
JanyaChartrandand|ohnBargh. ºÌnthc|rnrstcxpcr|mcnt, a
subj cct was askcd to choosc p|cturcs from a sct of photo-
graphs.5|tt|ng|nthcsamcroomwasancxpcr|mcntcrpretend­
ing to bc anothcr subj cct. ( Ìn cxpcrimcnta| j argon, th|s was
thc "confcdcratc. ") Jhc covcr story was that thc rcscarchcrs
¡ ¡ Z
S E E M E . F E E L M E
nccdcd somc p|cturcs for a psycho|og|ca| tcst and wantcd to
knowwh|chp|cturcsthc subj cctcons|dcrcdmorc st|mu|at|ng.
Ìn fact, wh||c thc rca| subj cct was choos|ng thc p|cturcs, thc
confcdcratc was cngagcd |n a vcry dc||bcratc act|on, c|thcr
rubb|ngh|sfaccorshak|ngh|sfoot.5ubj cctswcrcv|dcotapcd,
andthc|rmotorbchav|orwasmcasurcd. ^na|y:|ngthc v|dco-
tapcs, Chartrand and Bargh found that thc subj ccts uncon-
sc|ous|y m|m|ckcd thc act|on ofthc confcdcratc a|so |n thc
room. 5ubj ccts shar|ng thc room w|th thc facc-rubb|ng con-
fcdcratc rubbcd thc|r own faccs morc than subj ccts who
sharcd thc room w|th foot-shak|ng confcdcratcs, and v|cc
vcrsa.
Ìn a sccond cxpcr|mcnt, Chartrand and Bargh tcstcd thc
hypothcs|s that onc of thc funct|ons of thc "chamc|con cf-
fcct" |s to |ncrcasc thc ||kc||hood that two |nd|v|dua|s w|||
rcad||y ||kc cach othcr. ^ga|n, part|c|pants wcrc askcd to
choosc p|cturcs |n thc company of a confcdcratc prctcnd|ng
to bc anothcr part|c|pant. Jh|s t|mc thc covcr task rcqu|rcd
part|c|pant and confcdcratc to takc turns |n dcscr|b|ng what
thcy saw |n var|ous photos. ^|| thc wh||c, thc confcdcratc
c|thcr |m|tatcd thc spontancous posturcs, movcmcnts, and
manncr|sms ofthc subj cct or kcpt a ncutra| posturc. ^t thc
cndofthcsc |ntcract|ons, thc part|c|pantswcrc askcd to com-
p|ctcaqucst|onna|rctorcporthowmuchthcy||kcdthcothcr
part|c|pant ( that |s, thc confcdcratc) andhow smooth|y thcy
thought thc |ntcract|onhad gonc. Youcanprcd|ct thc rcsu|ts
bynow. thcpart|c|pantswhowcrcm|m|ckcdbythcconfcdcr-
atcs ||kcdthoscconfcdcratcsmuchmorcthanthcpart|c|pants
¡ ¡
}
M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
who wcrc not |m|tatcd. Ìurthcr, thc m|m|ckcd subj ccts ratcd
thc smoothncss of thc |ntcract|on h|ghcr than thc part|c|-
pants whowcrcnot |m|tatcd. Jhc cxpcr|mcnt c|car|y shows
that |m|tat|on and "||k|ng" tcnd to go togcthcr. Vhcn somc-
onc |s |m|tat|ng us, wc tcnd to ||kc that pcrson morc. Ìs th|s
why wc havc such an automatic tcndcncy to m|m|c onc an-
othcr'Ì th|nkso.
Ìn thc|r nna|, most cr|t|ca| cxpcr|mcnt, Chartrand and
Bargh tcstcd thc hypothcs|s that thc morc you arc a cha-
mc|con, thc morc you arc conccmcd w|th thc fcc||ngs of
othcr pcop|c÷that |s, thc morc cmpathy you havc. Jhc sct-
t|ngofth|sth|rdcxpcr|mcntwasthcsamcas|nthcnrstsctup,
w|th thc confcdcratc c|thcr rubb|ng thc facc or shak|ng thc
foot. Jhc novc| aspcct of th|s |ast cxpcr|mcnt was that thc
part|c|pants rcspondcd to aqucst|onna|rc that mcasurcd thc|r
cmpath|c tcndcnc|cs. Þow Chartrand and Bargh found a
strong corrc|at|on bctwccn thc dcgrcc of |m|tat|vc bchav|or
d|sp|aycd by thc part|c|pants and thc|r tcndcncy to cm-
path|:c. Jhc morc thc subj cct |m|tatcd thc facc rubb|ng or
thcfootshak|ng, thcmorcthatsubj cctwasancmpath|c|nd|-
v|dua|. Jh|s rcsu|t suggcsts that, through |m|tat|on and m|m-
|cry, wc arc ab|cto fcc|whatothcrpcop|cfcc|. Bybc|ng ab|c
to fcc|what othcrs fcc|, wc arc a|so ab|c to rcspond compas-
s|onatc|yto thc|rcmot|ona|statcs.
Jhcsc arc wc||-dcs|gncd, conv|nc|ngstud|cs,andthcrc arc
many othcrs. Ìnfact, a thorough d|scuss|on ofa|| thc bchav-
|ora| data suggcst|ng thc strong ||nk bctwccn |m|tat|on and
cmpathy wou|d rcqu|rc a book of |ts own, but Ì do want to
S E E M E . F E E L M E
mcnt|on two nnd|ngs that rcprcscnt thc far cnds ofa cont|n-
uum. Cn thc onchand, wcknowthatcoup|cshavc a"h|ghcr
fac|a| s|m||ar|ty" ( thcy |ook morc ||kc cach o�hcr) aftcr a
quartcr ccntury ofmarr|cd ||fc than at thc t|mc ofthc|r mar-
r|agc. Jh|s cncct a|so corrc|atcs w|th thc qua||ty ofthc mar-
r|agc. thc h|ghcr thc qua||ty, thc h|ghcr thc fac|a| s|m||ar|ty.
Jh|s|snosurpr|sc, rca||y. Lov|ng, shar|ng, and ||v|ng togcthcr
makc us |ook morc and morc s|m||ar to cach othcr. Jhc
spousc bccomcs a sccond sc|f. Cn thc othcr hand, thcrc arc
thc "conscqucnccsoffac|a||oss, "accord|ngto|onathanCo|c,
aBr|t|shncuropsycho|og|stwho|nvcst|gatcsthcsubj cct|vccf-
fccts of fac|a| d|ncrcnccs. ^mong h|s pat|cnts, thosc born
w|th Mocb|us syndromc, a congcn|ta| |nab|||ty to movc thc
musc|csofthcfacc, rcport noton|ythca|tcrcdab|||tytocom-
mun|catc fc|t cmot|ons, but a|so thc |nab|||ty to rcad cmo-
t|ons |n othcrs. Cnc pat|cnt says, "Ìor thc facc ofthc othcr
rcqu|rcsmc torcspondandcntcr|ntoarc|at|onsh|p,butarc-
|at|onsh|p Ì cannot fu||y contro|. "Cur cstccmcd fr|cnd Mau-
r|cc Mcr|cau-Ìonty wrotc, "Ì ||vc |n thc fac|a| cxprcss|on of
thc othcr, as Ì fcc|h|m ||v|ng |n m|nc. "^|as, Co|c`s pat|cnts
cannot ||vc |nthcfac|a|cxprcss|on ofthcothcr, bccauscthcy
arc unab|c to movc thc|r own fac|a| musc|cs. Jh|s |nab|||ty,
and thc conscqucnt |nab|||ty to m|rror othcrs` fac|a| cxprcs-
s|ons, brcaks down any form of cmot|ona| |ntcract|on and
makcs |mposs|b|c a dccp|y fc|t undcrstand|ng of othcrs`
cmot|ons. '
5othccascfora||nkbctwccnthcncura|systcmsfor |m|ta-
t|on ( thc m|rrorncuron systcm) and thc ncura| systcms for
¡ ¡
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cmot|ons ( thc ||mb|c systcm) |s strong. Ìowcvcr, thcsc two
systcms arc qu|tc d|ncrcntw|th|nthc bra|n. Ìowdo thcy gct
togcthcr'Vhat |sthcncura|pathway'
E M P AT HI C M I RRORS
The features are given R man 0 the means by which he shall
express his emotions . -SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Jo bc pcrfcct|y honcst, thc prob|cm÷how arc bra|n arcas
conta|n|ng m|rror ncurons conncctcd w|th ||mb|c arcas con-
ccrncd w|th cmot|ons '÷was brought to my attcnt|on |n thc
fa||ofZ000 bya studcnt |nascm|naron|m|tat|onand m|rror
ncurons. Ìn my prcscntat|on, Ì had suggcstcd a hypothct|ca|
rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn m|rror ncurons and thc ab|||ty to cm-
path|:c. (^t that t|mc, thc rc|at|onsh|p was st||| qu|tc hypo-
thct|ca|. Vc wcrc j ust bcg|nn|ng to co||cct thc cmp|r|ca|
data. ) Ìnthc_and^thatfo||owcd, th|smanaskcd|fÌkncw
of any anatom|ca| conncct|ons bctwccn thc m|rror ncuron
systcm and thc ||mb|c systcm, g|vcn my hypothcs|s on thc
ro|c ofm|rror ncurons |n our undcrstand|ng ofthc cmot|ons
ofothcrs. Myfccb|canswcrto th|sbr||||ant qucst|onwasthat
Ì bas|ca||yhadno |dca÷anddcnn|tc|y nccdcd to |ook|nto |t.
( Ìnc|dcnta||y, th|scp|sodc |s agoodcxamp|c ofwhyÌ ||kcto
g|vc scm|nars. 5tudcnts÷and co||cagucs, of coursc÷oftcn
g|vc mc good |dcasandforccmctorccxam|ncan|ssucÌ th|nk
Ì`vc a|rcadyngurcdout. )
Vhcn wc try to undcrstand how d|ncrcnt bra|n rcg|ons
¡ ¡ Ó
S E E M E . F E E L M E
"ta|k"tocachothcr, agoodp|acctostart|sw|ththc anatomy
ofthc organ. ^ bas|c fact ofth|s anatomy |s that |n ordcr to
commun|catc w|th cach othcr, bra|n cc||s must bc conncctcd
|nsomcway. Ìnoncway, ofcoursc, cvcry cc|| |sconncctcdto
cvcry othcr cc||,j ustasthct|n|csttown|nth|s vast country-
thc Ln|tcd 5tatcs÷|s conncctcd to cvcry othcr town by thc
road systcm. You can gct from ^ to L, thc routc may bc c|r-
cu|tous, butyoucando|t.L|kcw|sc|nthcbra|n,but|nthcory
on|y, bccausc thc ma:c of conncct|ons |s cxponcnt|a||y-
|nnn|tc|y, |t|sfa|rrosay÷morccomp|cxthanthcL. 5. orany
othcrroadsystcm. Ìnordcrfor onc rcg|onofthc bra|nto ta|k
w|th anothcr, a prctty d|rcct pathway |s rcqu|rcd÷an |ntcr-
statcofsomcsort, |fyouw|||. Jhat`swhatÌnccdcdto|dcnt|p,
and whcn Ì nna||y found thc t|mc to study thc mattcr, onc
bra|n rcg|on and on|y onc stood out w|th wc||-documcntcd
anatom|ca|conncct|onstobothm|rrorncuronand ||mb|c ar-
cas. ºÌt|s ca||cd thc |nsu|a, thcnamc aLat|nword thatmcans
"|s|and. "Jhc shapc ofthc |nsu|a may rcm|nd us ofan |s|and
( at |cast |t must havc rcm|ndcd somconc of an |s|and, back
whcnarcasofthcbra|nwcrcbc|ngnamcd) , butothcrw|scthc
namc |s a m|snomcr. Ìunct|ona||y, thc |nsu|a |s not an |s|and
ata||÷|thas arcmarkab|cpattcrnofanatom|ca|conncct|ons
w|th a |argcnumbcrofothcrbra|narcas. Jh|s rca||:at|on was
vcry cxc|t|ng for mc. Ì had nna||y found cv|dcncc for an
anatom|ca|pathwayconncct|ngm|rror ncuron arcas and ||m-
b|carcas,apathwaythatm|ghtsupportmyhypothcs|sthatwc
undcrstand thc cmot|ons of othcr pcop|c thanks to our own
m|rror ncurons, wh|ch arc act|vatcd by thc s|ght ofsomconc
c|sc`s sm|||ngorfrown|ngfacc.
¡ ¡ /
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
^ftcr thc |n|t|a| cxc|tcmcnt, howcvcr, Ì sobcrcd up. Jhc
cx|stcncc ofanatom|ca| conncct|ons |s a n|cc prcrcqu|s|tc for
two bra|n rcg|ons that arc supposcd to ta|k to cach othcr.
Ìowcvcr, thc anatomydocsnottc|| uswhatk|ndofconvcrsa-
t|on |s go|ng on. Vhat Ì nccdcd was a bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|-
mcntthatsupportcdmy hypothcs|s. C|vcnthc||nksbctwccn
|m|tat|on and thc m|rrorncuronsystcm |nhumans d|scusscd
|n chaptcr Z, and g|vcn thc |argc amount ofbchav|ora| data
on |m|tat|on and cmpathy d|scusscd prcv|ous|y |n th|s chap-
tcr, Ì dcc|dcd to |ook at thc bra|n act|v|ty ofhca|thy vo|un-
tccrs wh||c thcy wcrc c|thcr watch|ng or imitating p|cturcs of
faccs cxprcss|ng thc bas|c cmot|ons of fcar, sadncss, angcr,
happ|ncss, surpr|sc, and d|sgust. Jhc |dca was rc|at|vc|y s|m-
p|c. |f |ndccd m|rror ncurons arc commun|cat|ng w|th thc
"cmot|ona|" bra|n arcas |n thc ||mb|c systcm through thc |n-
su|a, thc fKÌ tcchno|ogy shou|d show s|mu|tancous act|va-
t|on of a|| thrcc arcas÷m|rror ncurons, ||mb|c systcm, and
|nsu|a÷wh||cthcsubj cctsarcj ustwatch|ngthcfaccscxprcss-
|ngcmot|on. Ìurthcrmorc, |fm|rror ncurons arc scnd|ng thc
s|gna|s, wc shou|d nnd an |ncrcasc |n bra|n act|v|ty |n thosc
subj ccts who wcrc a|so |m|tat|ng thc cxprcss|ons. Jh|s |n-
crcasc shou|d bcobscrvcdnoton|y |nm|rror ncuron arcasbut
a|so |n thc |nsu|aand||mb|c arcas, bccausc thc |ncrcascdac-
t|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas shou|d sprcad to thc othcrs,
wh|ch arc rccc|v|ng s|gna|s from m|rror ncurons. Jh|s |ast
po|nt |s thc kcy. thc cxpcctcd act|v|ty |n thc m|rror ncuron
arcasdur|ng |m|tat|on shou|dsprcad.
Jhatwasourhypothcs|s,andthcrcsu|tsconnrmcdmytwo
prcd|ct|ons.Ìndccd,m|rrorncuronarcas,thc|nsu|a,andcmo-
¡ ¡ 0
S E E M E . F E E L M E
t|ona|bra|narcas |nthc ||mb|csystcm,part|cu|ar|ythc amyg-
da|a÷a ||mb|c structurc h|gh|y rcspons|vc to faccs÷wcrc
act|vatcd wh||c subj ccts wcrc obscrv|ng thc faccs, and thc
act|v|ty |ncrcascd |n thosc subj ccts who wcrc a|so |m|tat|ng
what thcy saw. Jhcsc rcsu|ts c|car|y supportcd thc |dca that
m|rrorncuron arcas hc|pusundcrstandthccmot|onsofothcr
pcop|c by somc form of |nncr |m|tat|on. ^ccord|ng to th|s
m|rrorncuronhypothcs|s ofcmpathy, our m|rrorncuronsnrc
whcn wc scc othcrs cxprcss|ng thc|r cmot|ons, as |fwc wcrc
mak|ngthoscfac|a|cxprcss|onsoursc|vcs.Bymcansofth|snr-
|ng, thc ncurons a|so scnd s|gna|s to cmot|ona| bra|n ccntcrs
|nthc ||mb|c systcmtomakcusfcc|whatothcrpcop|cfcc|.

KKK

E
NS
UL
A
___

NE
U
RONS
SYSTEM
t
Si mulate the
faci al expressi on
t
Feel the emoti on
Figre Z: Neural mechanisms for empathy. Miror neurons provide an inner
imitation, or simulation, of the observed facial exression. They send sigals
through the insula to the limbic system, which provides the feeling of the ob­
served emotion.
Ìn h|s famous short story "Jhc Ìur|o|ncd Lcttcr, " Ldgar
^||anÌocwr|tcs, throughthcwordsofthcprotagon|stC. ^u-
gust Lup|n, "Vhcn Ì w|sh to nnd out how w|sc, or how stu-
¡ ¡
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
p|d, or how good, or how w|ckcd |s any onc, or what arc h|s
thoughts at thcmomcnt, Ì fash|onthccxprcss|onofmy facc,
asaccuratc|yasposs|b|c,|naccordanccw|th thccxprcss|onof
h|s, and thcnwa|tto sccwhatthoughtsorscnt|mcntsar|sc |n
my m|nd or hcart, as |fto match or corrcspond w|th thc cx-
prcss|on. " Vhat rcmarkab|c prcsc|cncc' Ìoc cou|dnot havc
p|ckcd a bcttcr way to gct |nto thc |nncr ||vcs ofh|s charac-
tcrs. Ìowcvcr, hcwasnota|onc. Ìnthcsc|cnt|nc||tcraturcon
cmot|ons, thc thcory that cmot|ona| cxpcr|cncc |s shapcd by
changcs |n fac|a|muscu|aturc÷thc "fac|a| fccdbackhypothc-
s|s"÷has a |ong h|story. Char|cs Larw|n and V||||am |amcs
wcrcamongthcnrstoncstowr|tcabout|t ( a|thoughÌocprc-
datcd both by scvcra| dccadcs) . Larw|n wr|tcs, "Jhc frcc cx-
prcss|onbyoutwards|gnsofan cmot|on |ntcns|ncs |t. Cnthc
othcrhand, thc rcprcss|on, as far as |sposs|b|c, ofa||outward
s|gns softcns our cmot|ons. " Jo |amcs, th|s phcnomcnon
mcans that "our mcnta| ||fc |s kn|t up w|th our corporca|
framc, |nthc str|ctcst scnscofthc tcrm. "
'
Ì|cnty of cmp|r|ca| cv|dcncc supports thc fac|a| fccdback
hypothcs|s, wh|ch |n turn a||gns bcaut|fu||y w|th our |nvcst|-
gat|ons ofm|rrorncurons. Bynr|ng as |fwcarcactua||ymak-
|ng thosc fac|a| cxprcss|ons wc arc s|mp|y obscrv|ng, thcsc
ncuronsprov|dcthc mcchan|smfors|mu|atcdfac|a|fccdback.
Jh|ss|mu|at|onproccss |snotancffortfu|, dc||bcratcprctcnsc
ofbc|ng|nsomcbodyc|sc`s shocs. Ìt|sanefortless, automat|c,
andunconsc|ous |nncrm|rror|ng.
Vcpub||shcdthcrcsu|tsofourcxpcr|mcnt |nthc Proceed­
ings of the National Academy of Sciences. '
`
Jhc papcr attractcd
¡ Z 0
S E E M E . F E E L M E
qu|tc a b|t ofmcd|a attcnt|on, cvcn from a coup|c of maj or
J\channc|s.Jo catchthcattcnt|onofrcadcrs, somcncwspa-
pcrsandmaga:|ncsborrowcda||nc thatwasfamous|yuscdby
formcr prcs|dcnt B||| C||nton wh||c |ntcract|ng w|th ^ÌL5
dcmonstrators dur|ng h|s prcs|dcnt|a| campa|gn. "Ì fcc| your
pa|n. " (Jh|swasp|||ng |t on. C||nton`s dctractors, a|ong w|th
cvcry comcd|an|nthccountry, uscd thc ||nc to tcasc h|m un-
mcrc|fu||y for ycars . ) Cf coursc, our cxpcr|mcnt had not fo-
cuscdspcc|nca||yonwhat happcns whcnwc scc othcrpcop|c
|n pa|n. Ìo||ow|ng ourstudy, howcvcr, a scr|cs ofothcrstud-
|csd|d.
I F E E L YOUR P A IN
Cnoccas|on, thc trcatmcnt ofcho|ccfor chron|c dcprcss|on,
obscss|vc-compu|s|vc d|sordcrs, andccrta|nothcrpsych|atr|c
d|sordcrs rcqu|rcs thc rcmova| of thc c|ngu|atc cortcx, a rc-
g|on of thc ncocortcx c|osc|y conncctcd w|th thc prcmotor
cortcx. Ìr|or to thc proccdurc |tsc|f, and w|th thc pat|cnt`s
pcrm|ss|on, ofcoursc, thc ncurosurgcons may bc ab|c to usc
c|cctrodcs |mp|antcd |n thc dcpth ofthc bra|n as part ofthc
ncurosurg|ca| proccdurc to cxam|nc act|v|ty at thc |cvc| of
thc s|ng|c cc||. ( Ìorcth|ca|rcasons, thc c|ass|c s|ng|c-cc|| |n-
vcst|gat|ons w|th thc macaquc monkcys arc on-||m|ts÷w|th
rarccxccpt|ons. Jh|ssurgcry|soncofthcm. Ìcrhapsthc most
s|gn|ncantgroup ofcxccpt|ons |s thatoncrcdbycp||cpt|cs, as
wcw|||scc |n chaptcr /. ) Cbv|ous|y, thc |ocat|onofthc c|cc-
¡ Z ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P l E
trodcs |nthcscpat|cnts |sd|ctatcdcxc|us|vc|ybymcd|ca|rca-
sons, notbycxpcr|mcnta|cur|os|ty. 5t|||, w|th thc hc|pofthc
pat|cnts, |t |s poss|b|c to co||cct un|quc and cxtrcmc|y va|u-
ab|c |nformat|on.
Many mnct|onsarc assoc|atcd w|th act|v|ty |n thc c|ngu-
|atc cortcx. Cnc |s rcsponsc to pa|nfu| st|mu|at|on. V||||am
Ìutch|son and h|s co||cagucs at thc Ln|vcrs|ty of Joronto
stud|cd somc cc||s |n thc human c|ngu|atc cortcx that rc-
spondcd sc|cct|vc|y to pa|nfu| st|mu|at|on app||cd to thc pa-
t|cnts÷to p|npr|cks, |n onc |nstancc. Jhc rcscarchcrs a|so
found that onc of thcsc cc||s rcspondcd to thc sight of p|n-
pr|cksapp||cdtosomcbodyc|sc÷|nth|scasc|twasthccxam-
|ncr`s nngcrs.' ' Jh|s cc|| sccms ||kc a m|rror ncuron, cxccpt
that÷|ncontrastw|ththcm|rrorncuronsÌ dcscr|bcdsofar-
Ìutch|son`s cc|| sccms spcc|a||:cd |n proccss|ng pa|n. M|rror
ncurons typ|ca||y nrc for act|ons, not for pa|n. Jhat |s, thcy
arc pr|mar||y motor ncurons ( a|though thcy obv|ous|y havc
|mportant scnsory propcrt|cs) . Ìndccd÷w|th our |mag|ng
cxpcr|mcnt on m|rror|ng cmot|ons dcscr|bcd car||cr |n th|s
chaptcr÷wc suggcstcd thatwc m|rrorthc cmot|ons ofothcr
pcop|cby act|vat|ngnrstm|rrorncuronsfor fac|a|cxprcss|ons
( thus, motor ncurons) , wh|ch |n tum act|vatc our cmot|ona|
bra|n ccntcrs. ^ccord|ngto our modc|, m|rror|ngofcmot|on
|s mcd|atcd by act|on s|mu|at|on ( |n our casc, thc fac|a| cx-
prcss|on, as a|so shown |n ngurc Z) . Jhc human c|ngu|atc
ncuronfor¡a|ndcscr|bcdbyÌutch|sonand co||cagucsra|scd
thc poss|b|||ty ofs|mu|at|on mcchan|sms for pa|n that bypass
thc motorbchav|orassoc|atcdw|thpa|n.
Jh|s||m|tcddcpthc|cctrodc rcscarch, howcvcr, cou|dnot
¡ Z Z
S E E M E . F E E L M E
samp|cthcwho|cbra|n.Jhcrcforcthcrcsponscs|nthc c|ngu-
|atc cortcx that arc spcc|nc to pa|n do not tc|| us whcthcr or
not m|rror ncurons |n motor arcas arc a|so act|vatcd. Jhosc
motorarcasarc dcnn|tc|y act|vatcdwhcnwcj crkahandaway
from thc hot bumcron thc stovc, but arc thcy a|so act|vatcd
whcnwcs|mp|yw|tncsssomconcc|scbrush|ngahandaga|nst
thchotstovctop'Ìfourth|nk|ngaboutthcro|cofm|rrorncu-
rons |s corrcct, thc answcr |s ycs. ^ fu||-s|mu|at|on bra|n
mcchan|smwou|d m|rrornot on|y thc pa|n, but a|so thc mo-
torrcact|onofthcpcrsonwcarc watch|ng.
Jo tcstth|shypothcs|s,5a|vatorc^g||ot|andh|sassoc|atcs
at thc Ln|vcrs|ty of Komc pcrformcd an cxpcr|mcnt us|ng
transcran|a|magnct|cst|mu|at|on. ' 'Bu||d|ngon thc bas|cob-
scrvat|on that m|rror ncurons arc act|vatcd by thc s|ght of
othcrs` act|ons, ^g||ot|and co||cagucsuscdthc coppcr co|| to
mcasurc thc cxc|tab|||ty of thc motor cortcx wh||c part|c|-
pants watchcd v|dcos of nccd|cs pcnctrat|ng thc hands and
fcctofothcr pcop|c. Ìorpurposcs ofcompar|son and contro|,
thc part|c|pants a|so watchcd harm|css _-t|ps gcnt|y brushcd
ovcr thc hands and fcct, as wc|| as nccd|cs pcnctrat|ng not
hands andfcct, buttomatocs. ^|| thc wh||c, thc ^g||ot|tcam
mcasurcd thc cxc|tab|||tyofa musc|c |n thchand thata|ds |n
mov|ng thc hand toward thc nccd|c. Jhcy a|so mcasurcd cx-
c|tab|||ty |n a nc|ghbor|ng hand musc|c that has no ro|c |n
mov|ngthchandc|thcrtowardorawayfromthcnccd|c.
Jhcprcd|ct|on. an cmpath|c pa|nrcsponsc onthcpartof
thc subj cct wou|dproducc a reduced cxc|tab|||ty ofthc mus-
c|cthatwou|dmovcthchandtoward thcnccd|c. Jhcrcsu|ts.
as cxpcctcd. Jhc motor cortcx contro|||ng thc musc|c that
¡ Z
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
wou|d movc thc hand toward thc nccd|c was |css cxc|tab|c
whcn subj ccts wcrc watch|ng thc nccd|cs pcnctratc hands,
comparcd w|th watch|ng thcm pcnctratc fcct or tomatocs or
watch|ng thc _-t|ps. Jhc dccrcascd cxc|tab|||ty dur|ng thc
obscrvat|onofpa|nwas a|sospcc|nctothcmusc|cspcnctratcd
by thc nccd|cs. Þc|ghbor|ng musc|cs |n thc hand d|d not
changcthc|rcxc|tab|||ty. Ìurthcrmorc,subj cctswcrcaskcdaf-
tcrthc cxpcr|mcnttoratc thc |ntcns|tyofthc pa|nfc|tby thc
|nd|v|dua|s obscrvcd |n thc v|dcos. ^g||ot| and co||cagucs
found that thc |owcr thc motor cxc|tab|||ty |n subj ccts` mus-
c|cs dur|ng thc cxpcr|mcnt, thc h|ghcr thcy ratcd thc pa|n.
Jhat|s,thcmorcstrong|ythcycmpath|:cdw|ththcobscrvcd
pa|n, thcmorcstrong|ythc|rbra|ns|mu|atcda"w|thdraw|ng"
act|onfrom thc nccd|c.
Jh|s cxpcr|mcnt dcmonstratcs that our bra|n produccs a
]u||s|muU||on÷cvcn thc motor componcnt-ofthc obscrvcd
pa|nfu| cxpcr|cnccs ofothcrpcop|c. ^|though wc common|y
th|nkofpa|nas afundamcnta||ypr|vatccxpcr|cncc, ourbra|n
actua||y trcats |t as an cxpcr|cncc sharcd w|th othcrs. Jh|s
ncura|mcchan|sm|scsscnt|a|forbu||d|ng soc|a| t|cs. Ìt|sa|so
vcry ||kc|ythat thcsc forms ofrcsonanccw|th thc pa|nm| cx-
pcr|cnccs ofothcrs arc rc|at|vc|y car|y mcchan|sms ofcmpa-
thy, from an cvo|ut|onary and dcvc|opmcnta| po|nt ofv|cw.
Morcabstractforms ofcmpathymayrc|y|cssonsomat|cm|r-
ror|ng and morc on ancct|vc m|rror|ng. Ìn othcr words, |n
morc abstracts|tuationswc maybc ab|c to cmpath|:cby m|r-
ror|ng thc ancct|vc aspcct of pa|n. Ìor |nstancc, how do wc
cmpath|:c w|th othcrs |n s|tuat|ons |n wh|ch wc do not scc
thc|r fac|a| cxprcss|ons, thc|r body posturcs, thc|r gcsturcs '
¡ Z
4
S E E M E . F E E L M E
Ìow do wc cmpath|:c w|th thc v|ct|ms of tcrr|b|c tragcd|cs,
such as Ìurr|canc Katr|na or thc Chr|stmas Lvc tsunam| |n
5outhcast ^s|a' Ìn London, bra|n mappcr Janya 5|ngcr ad-
drcsscd spcc|nca||yth|s qucst|on bystudy|ngthc cmpath|c rc-
sponscs|ncoup|cs.'' Ìnth|ssctup,thcwomanwas|y|ng|nthc
scanncrwh||c hcr husband, nancé, orboyfr|cnd sat |n acha|r
ncarby, cach of thcm hookcd to an c|cctrodc on thc hand
throughwh|ch5|ngcrcou|ddc||vcrc|cctr|cshocks.^co|orcd
arrownash|ng on thc|r rcspcct|vc computcr mon|tors a|crtcd
thc coup|c ahcad of t|mc who was go|ng to rccc|vc thc up-
com|ngshock, thc manorthc woman, anda|so|nd|catcdthc
scvcr|tyofthc shock.
Vhcn 5|ngcr |ookcd at thc bra|n rcsponscs ofhcr fcma|c
subj ccts, shc found that thc subj cct who was shockcd hcrsc|f
showcd |ncrcascdact|v|ty |nsomatoscnsoryarcas thatproccss
tact||c |nformat|on ( ow|ng to thc scnsory st|mu|at|on ofthc
shock app||cd on thc hand ofthc subj cct) and |n brain arcas
that proccss thc cmot|ona| aspcct of pa|n ( thc unp|casant
fcc||ng assoc|atcd w|th |t, among thcsc arcas was thc samc
c|ngu|atc cortcx |nwh|chÌutch|sonandco||cagucsobscrvcd
thc bra|ncc||rcspond|ngtothcp|npr|cks) . Vhcnthcwomcn
|n thc scanncr kncw that thc|r partncrs wcrc go|ng to bc
shockcd, thcy act|vatcd only thc ancct|vc arcas rc|cvant to
pa|n,notthcscnsoryrcg|ons. Jhckeypo|nthcrc |sthatthcsc
subj cctsdonotsccthcphys|ca|harmdc|ivcrcdtothchandof
thc partncr. Jhcy do not scc thc man`s facc rcg|stcr|ng a
pa|nfu| cxprcss|on. Jhcy hcar no yc|ps of pa|n. Jhc|r forc-
know|cdgc |s rathcr abstract. a co|orcd arrow on a computcr
mon|tor |s thc on|y |nformat|onthcyhavc rcgard|ng thc pa|n
¡ Z
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
fc|t by thc partncr. Yct cvcn |n th|s art|nc|a| s|tuat|on thc
bra|ns of5|ngcr`s fcma|csubj cctsm|rrorcd thcancct|vcaspcct
ofthc pa|ncxpcr|cnccdbythc mcn.
Ìtsccmsas |fourbra|n |s built form|rror|ng, and thaton|y
through m|rror|ng÷through thc s|mu|at|on |n our bra|n of
thc fc|tcxpcr|cncc ofothcr m|nds÷do wcdccp|yundcrstand
whatothcrpcop|c arcfcc||ng.' '
M AT E RNA L E M P AT HY
Ìfm|rror|ng |s such a powcrfu| mcchan|sm for undcrstand|ng
thc cmot|ona| statcs of othcr pcop|c and cmpath|:|ng w|th
thcm,oncwou|d cxpcct|otsofm|rror|ngbctwccnparcntsand
thc|r ch||drcn. Jhcrc |s ccrta|n|y p|cnty of bchav|ora| cv|-
dcncc support|ng th|s suppos|t|on. Ì notcd |n chaptcr Z that
ncwboms arc |nst|nct|vc|y |m|tat|ng movcmcnts from thc|r
nrst hours. Ìnfants as young as tcn wccks o|d spontancous|y
|m|tatcsomcrud|mcntaryfcaturcsofhappyand angrycxprcs-
s|ons d|sp|aycd by thc|r mothcrs. Þ|nc-month-o|d |nfants
comprchcns|vc|y m|nor fac|a| cxprcss|ons ofj oy and sadncss.
^nd, ofcoursc, mothcrsalso|m|tatc thcfac|a| cxprcss|ons of
thc|r |nfants. from day onc, an opcn mouth c||c|ts an opcn
mouth. ' ' Mothcrs a|so tcnd to synchron|:c thc|r movcmcnts
morcw|th thc|rownch||drcnthanw|thunrc|atcdch||drcn. ' º
Ìnc|ass|c attachmcnt thcory, matcma| scns|t|v|ty | scvcndc-

nncd as thc mothcr`s d|spos|t|on to answcr |n a cont|ngcnt
way to hcr ch||d`s nccds. M|rror|ng a||ows hcr to ach|cvc a
¡ Z Ó
S E E M E . F E E L M E
powcrfu| ancct|vc attuncmcnt, and thc matcma| capac|ty to
m|rrorthc |nfant`s |ntcma| statcs probab|y takcsmanyforms.
Jhc ro|c of m|rror ncurons |n matcrna| cmpathy |s st|||
|argc|y unknown, a|though |t |s probab|c thatthcsc cc||s arc
|mportantfor th|s cruc|a|funct|on. Mygroup at LCL^ |s ||t-
cra||ytak|ng thcnrst stcps |n thc attcmpt to undcrstand thc
ncurob|o|og|ca| mcchan|sm undcr|y|ng matcma| cmpathy. Ì

a co||aborat|vc proj cctw|th a group ofÌta||an ncurosc|cnt|sts
andpsycho|og|sts |nRomc, Ì havcrcccnt|ystud|cdthcncura|
rcsponscs ofmoms |ook|ng at p|cturcs and |m|tat|ng thc cx-
prcss|ons ofthc|rown andanothcrbaby (whosc mothcrthcy
d|d notknow) . Jhc bab|cs arc s|x to twc|vc months o|d, and
thcy arc cxprcss|ng j oy, d|strcss, and no part|cu|ar cmot|on.
Jhc data wcrc conc|us|vc. strongrcsponscs |n m|rrorncuron
arcas, |n thc |nsu|a and |n ||mb|c arcas. Mothcrs arc h|gh|y
cmpath|c subj ccts, andwcwcrc p|cascd to sccsuchrobustrc-
sponscs|n th|sc|rcu|t,wh|ch,asdcp|ctcd|nngurc Z, connccts
m|rror ncurons w|th thc cmot|ona| bra|n ccntcrs and, |n th|s
|nstancc, a||ows thc cmpath|c undcrstand|ng of thc bab|cs`
cmot|ona| statcs by v|rtuc of s|mu|at|ng thc obscrvcd fac|a|
cxprcss|ons. ^ny othcrrcsu|twou|dhavcscnt us backto thc
draw|ng board |na statc ofshock.
Vhat about thcmothcr`scomparat|vcrcsponsctohcrown
baby and anothcr baby' ^ga|n, as wc cxpcctcd from thc bc-
hav|ora| data, thc ncura| c|rcu|t was morc act|vc wh||c thc
mothcrs wcrc watch|ng thc cxprcss|ons of thc|r own bab|cs.
But wc a|so found somcth|ng uncxpcctcd. ^nothcr rcg|on
"outs|dc" thc prcv|ous|y known c|rcu|twas strong|y act|vatcd
¡ Z /
M I R R O R I N G P E O P L E
wh||courmomswcrcwatch|ngthc|rownch||drcn, comparcd
w|thsomcbodyc|sc`s. Ìt|s ca||cd prc-5M^, andwcknow |t|s
an |mportant rcg|on for comp|cx motor p|ann|ng and motor
scqucnc|ng÷that |s, forputt|ng togcthcr a scr|cs ofconcatc-
natcdact|ons.
Ìn thc monkcy, thc homo|oguc of prc-5M^ |s arca Ìó.
Jh|s |s |ntr|gu|ng bccausc Ìó has strong anatom|ca| conncc-
t|onsw|tharcaÌ5, oncofthcarcasofthcmonkcybra|ncon-
ta|n|ngm|rrorncurons,aswcknow. Ìurthcrmorc,datasuggcst
thatarcaÌó maycontro|and modu|atc thc act|v|tyofcc||s |n
arca Ì5. ' ' Jhcrcforc thc strong rcsponsc |n prc-5M^ |n thc
mothcrs' bra|ns suggcsts thatwhcn watch|ng hcrownbaby, a
mothcr not on|y m|rrors thc cmot|ons of thc fac|a| cxprcs-
s|ons ofthcbaby buta|soact|vatcs ascr|csofmotorp|ans to
|ntcractw|ththcbaby|nancncct|vc way. ^ftcr a||, |fababy
cr|cs, |t |shard|yhc|pfu|forthc mothcrto cry too' ^ncncc-
t|vc |ntcract|on rcqu|rcs that thc mothcr rcspond appropr|-
atc|y to conso|c thc baby. Jhc h|gh act|v|ty |n prc-5M^
wh||c mothcrs arcwatch|ng thc|r ownbab|csprobab|yrcprc-
scntsthcs|mu|atcd |n|t|at|onofascr|csofappropr|atcact|ons
|nrcsponscto thc cmot|ona|s|tuat|onofthc ch||d.
Cons|dcr|ngthatthc mothcrs |nth|s cxpcr|mcntwcrc, ||kc
a|| fKÌ subj ccts, |y|ng |ncrt|y |ns|dc a b|g, no|sy mach|nc,
and that thcy wcrc s|mp|y watch|ng p|cturcs ofbab|cs, thcsc
strong rcsponscs |n prc-5M^ arc ama:|ng. Jhcy suggcst that
thc |n|t|a| automat|cm|rror|ngofthcfac|a|cxprcss|onsofthc
bab|cs tr|ggcrs awho|c cascadc ofothcr automat|c s|mu|at|vc
bra|nrcsponscsthatrccnact|ntcract|onsbctwccnmothcrand
baby |n rca| ||fc. Jh|s constant automat|c s|mu|at|on and rc-
¡ Z 0
S E E M E . F E E L M E
cnactmcnthasthcpurposcofmak|ngusrcadywhcnact|on|s
rca||y nccdcd. Jh|s |s probab|y cspcc|a||y truc |n thc doma|n
ofcmpathy, whcrc onc ofthc dcnn|ng c|cmcnts |s thc ab|||ty
to rcspond compass|onatc|y to anothcr pcrson`s d|strcss. Ìn
thc casc of matcma| cmpathy, th|s ab|||ty surc|y rcachcs |ts
h|ghcstposs|b|ccxprcss|on.
¡ Z
V
Fa c i ng Your sel f
I S I T YOU OR I S I T ME ?
lmost |nst|nct|vc|y wc humans tcnd to synchron|:c our
movcmcnts. Ì fo|dmy arms, youfo|dyours, Ì |ook atyou,
you |ook away, you |ookback, Ì |ook away, Ì |ookatyou, you
startancwscntcncc, you|ookatmc, Ì startancwscntcncc-
|t`s qu|tc a m|nuct wc`rc danc|ng' Ìn v|dcotapcd s|tuat|ons
such as Ì`vc dcscr|bcd |n car||cr chaptcrs, |t |s fasc|nat|ng to
obscrvc.Ìta|sotumsoutthatthcmorcpcop|c||kccachothcr,
thc morc thcy sccm to |m|tatc cach othcr, and th|s makcs
scnsctoo.Jh|s |m|tat|onandsynchrony|sthcg|ucthatb|nds
us togcthcr. Jhus my conndcnt asscrt|on that m|rror ncurons
arc |ntcgra| to thc rcqu|rcmcnt that wc humans nt oursc|vcs
as smooth|y as poss|b|c |nto our soc|a| contcxt. Vc`rc a|| |n
th|sboat togcthcr, andm|rrorncurons hc|p us makcthcbcst
of |t. Vc nccd thcm. Jhcy hc|p us rccogn|:c thc act|ons of
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
othcr pcop|c, |m|tatc othcr pcop|c, undcrstand thc|r |ntcn-
t|onsandthc|rfcc||ngs. Ìowcvcr, |fwcstoptoth|nkabout |t,
thcsc mnct|ons pcrformcd by m|rror ncurons crcatc an |ntcr-
cst|ng pu::|c for ncurosc|cnt|sts |nvcst|gat|ng how thc bra|n
codcsfor"agcncy"÷that |s, thc scnsc ofbc|ng thc owner ofa
g|vcn act|on. Vhcn Ì am grasp|ng a cup ofconcc wh||c you
arc a|so grasp|ng a cup of concc, how docs my bra|n d|st|n-
gu|sh my act|on from your act|on' Jh|s d|st|nct|on |s sc|f-
cv|dcnt to us s|tt|ng hcrc ta|k|ng about |t, but thc grcat
qucst|onforbra|nsc|cnt|sts|show, cxact|y, thc bra|nmakcs |t
sc|f-cv|dcnt.
Ì bc||cvc thcanswcrcan bc found |n thcvcrynrst cxpcr|-
mcnt |n wh|ch wc |nvcst|gatcd thc ro|c ofm|rror ncurons |n
|m|tat|on, whcrc wc mcasurcd bra|n act|v|ty wh||c subj ccts
wcrc pcrform|ng and |m|tat|ng hand movcmcnts. My d|scus-
s|on|nchaptcrZd|dnotmcnt|onthcmostsurpr|s|ngc|cmcnt
|n thc rcsu|ts. thc par|cta| opcrcu|um, an arca of thc bra|n
that rccc|vcs scnsory |nformat|on from thc hands (d|d thcy
opcnorc|osc'was thc touchcdobj cctsoftorsharp' ) , showcd
h|ghcr act|v|ty dur|ng |m|tat|on comparcd w|th thc mcrc
cxccut|on of thc samc movcmcnt.' Jh|s sounds ||kc m|rror
ncuron act|v|ty, docsn`t |t ' Lur|ng |m|tat|on, thcsc ncurons
bas|ca||y "add up" thc act|vat|onsfromobscrvat|on and from
cxccut|on. Jhc prob|cm |s that the par|cta| opcrcu|um |snot,
to our know|cdgc, an arca w|th m|rror ncurons and has no
knownm|rror|ngro|c. Ìndccd,thcpar|cta|opcrcu|umwasnot
act|vatcddur|ng act|on obscrvat|on.Jhchand movcmcnts |n
thc cxpcr|mcnt wcrc substant|a||y |dcnt|ca|, so thc |nforma-
t|on thcsc cc||s wcrc rccc|v|ng from thc mov|ng hands was
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
a|so substant|a||y |dcnt|ca|. Vhy, thcn, thc m|rror ncuron÷
||kcd|ncrcncc |nact|vat|on'Vc wcrc qu|tc surpr|scd.
Cur |nvcst|gat|on focuscd on thc fact that thc cnhanccd
act|v|ty |n thc par|cta| opcrcu|um was |oca||:cd |n thc r|ght
ccrcbra| hcm|sphcrc, a vcry |mportant rcg|on for thc mcnta|
rcprcscntat|on of our body and |ts cxtrcm|t|cs÷our body
schcma, as |t'sca||cd. (Vcknowth|sbccausc pat|cnts w|th|c-
s|ons |nth|srcg|onmayhavcscvcrc d|sordcrs ofbodyawarc-
ncss. Jhcy may dcny thcrc's anyth|ng wrong w|th thc|r
para|y:cd |cft arm, orc|a|mthat |t's notactua||ythc|rs, but |n
fact bc|ongs to a rc|at|vc. Jhcy may cvcn bc||cvc thcy havc
morc than two arms. ) Jhc cnhanccd act|vat|on dur|ng |m|ta-
t|onthatoccurs|nth|s|mportantrcg|onfor cstab||sh|ngbody
awarcncss m|ghtbc thcbra|n'sway ofovcrcom|nganyposs|-
b|c confus|on causcd by m|rror ncurons, any tcndcncy thcy
m|ght havc to makc us |osc our scnsc ofbc|ng thc agcnts of
our own act|ons. Jh|s |s a way thc bra|n has dcv|scd to rcaf-
nrma scnsc ofowncrsh|p ofourownact|ons.
Jo th|s po|nt |n thc book, Ì havc argucd that thc maj or
ro|cofm|rrorncurons |stoa||owthcundcrstand|ngofthc |n-
tcnt|ons and cmot|ons ofothcrs, and thus ro fac|||tatc soc|a|
bchav|or.Jhcysccmj ustaboutas"|ntcrcstcd|n"othcrpcop|c
as thcyarc |n thc sc|f|nwhosc bra|n thcyrcs|dc. Jhc|rnr|ng
pattcrnmay g|vc thc |mprcss|on that m|rrorncurons arc not
h|gh|y rc|cvant to thc construct|on of a scnsc of sc|f. Jhat
m|ght bc your|mprcss|on r|ght now, anyway, and |twou|dbc
a rcasonab|c |mprcss|on, but Ì am go|ng to spcnd thc rcst of
th|schaptcr mod|p|ng |t. Lct mc startw|th somc thcorct|ca|
cons|dcrat|ons, ofwh|chthcmost|ntr|gu|ngm|ghtbcthcpo-
¡
}
Z
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
s|t|on ofscvcra| authors ( cspcc|a||y |n thc phcnomcno|og|ca|
trad|t|on, as wc w||| scc |n thc |astchaptcr) who havc argucd
that wc cannot and shou|d not art|nc|a||y scparatc sc|f and
othcr. Jhcy arc "co-const|tutcd, " |n thc par|ancc. ^s thc
ph||osophcr phcnomcno|og|st Lan Lahav| puts |t, "Jhcy rc-
c|proca||y |||um|natc onc anothcr, and can on|y bc undcr-
stood |n thc|r |ntcrconncct|on. "' Ìcrhaps odd at nrst b|ush,
thc argumcnt qu|ck|y startsmak|ngmorcscnsc. Ìowcan wc
cvcn th|nk of"sc|f " cxccpt |n tcrms ofthc "othcr" that thc
sc|f |s not' V|thout sc|f, |t makcs ||tt|c scnsc to dcnnc an
othcr, and w|thout that othcr, |tdocsnotmakc a |ot ofscnsc
to dcnnc thc sc|f. ^nd how cou|d m|rrorncuronsnot p|ay a
ro|c hcrc' Jhcsc arc thc vcry bra|n cc||s that sccm to |ndcx
( w|ththc|rncurona|nr|ngpattcm) th|sunavo|dab|crc|at|on-
sh|p bctwccn sc|fand othcr, thc |ncv|tab|c |ntcrdcpcndcncc.
Þotccarcfu||y, howcvcr, thatthcnr|ngratcofm|rrorncurons
|snotthcsamcforact|ons ofthcsc|fand act|ons ofothcrs.^s
wchavc sccn t|mc and aga|n÷|ncvcrycxpcr|mcntcvcrcon-
ductcd on m|rror ncurons, |n fact÷thcrc |s a much strongcr
d|schargc for act|ons of thc sc|f than for act|ons of othcrs.
Jhus m|rror ncurons cmbody both thc |ntcrdcpcndcncc of
sc|fand othcr÷by nr|ngforthc act|ons ofboth÷and thc |n-
dcpcndcnccwcs|mu|tancous|yfcc|andrcqu|rc, bynr|ngmorc
powcrfu||yforact|onsofthc sc|f.
My thcory ofhow m|rror ncurons bccomc thc ncura| g|uc
bctwccn sc|fand othcrstarts w|th thc dcvc|opmcnt ofm|rror
ncurons |n thc |nfantbra|n. ^|though thcrc arc no cmp|r|ca|
data ava||ab|c yct, a vcry ||kc|y sccnar|o |s not hard to sur-
m|sc. Babysm||cs,thcparcntsm||cs|nrcsponsc. Jwo m|nutcs
¡
} }
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|atcr, baby sm||cs aga|n, thc parcnt sm||cs aga|n. Jhanks to
thc |m|tat|vc bchav|or ofthc parcnt, thc baby`s bra|n can as-
soc|atc thc motorp|an ncccssary tosm||candthc s|ghtofthc
sm|||ngfacc. Jhcrcforc÷prcsto' M|rror ncurons forasm|||ng
facc arc born. Jhc ncxt t|mc thc baby sccs somcbody c|sc`s
sm||c, thc ncura| act|v|ty assoc|atcd w|th thc motor p|an for
sm|||ng |scvokcd |n thc baby`sbra|n,simulating asm||c. Ìfth|s
account of how m|rror ncurons arc |n|t|a||y shapcd |n our
brain|struc÷andÌ bc||cvc |ta|mostccrta|n|y|s÷thcn"sc|f "
and "othcr" arc |ncxtr|cab|y b|cndcd |n m|rror ncurons. Ìn-
dccd, accord|ngtoth|saccount, m|rrorncurons |nthc|nfant
bra|nare formed by the interactions between self and other. Jh|s
|s thc kcyconccpttokccp |nm|ndforundcrstand|ngthc ro|c
of m|rror ncurons |n human soc|a| bchav|or. Ìt makcs scnsc
that|atcr |n||fc,wc usc thcsc vcry samc bra|ncc||s toundcr-
stand thc mcnta| statcs of othcr pcop|c. But |t a|so makcs
scnsc thatwc usc thcsamc cc||s to bu||da scnsc ofsc|f, s|ncc
thcsc cc||s or|g|natccar|y |n||fcwhcnothcrpcop|c`sbchav|or
|s thcrcncct|on ofour own bchav|or. Ìnothcrpcop|c, wc scc
oursc|vcsw|thm|rrorncurons.
Ìndccd, anothcrpo|nt|nfavorofthc ||nkbctwccnsc|fand
othcr, |m|tat|on and m|rror ncurons, comcs from cmp|r|ca|
data. ^ dcvc|opmcnta| study |nvcst|gatcdspontancous |m|ta-
t|on |n pa|rs ofch||drcn. V|th somc ofthcscpa|rs, both k|ds
had acqu|rcdthc ab|||ty to rccogn|:c thcmsc|vcs |nhont ofa
m|rror, w|th somc of thc pa|rs, nc|thcr k|d had yct acqu|rcd
th|s ab|||ty. Jhc rcsu|ts wcrc c|car. Jhc pa|rs ofk|ds w|th thc
ab|||ty to rccogn|:c thcmsc|vcs |n front of a m|rror |m|tatcd
¡
} 4
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
cach othcrmuch morc than thc pa|rs ofk|ds who d|dnotyct
havc thc m|rror rccogn|t|on ab|||ty.'
5c|f-rccogn|t|on and |m|tat|on go togcthcr bccausc our
m|rrorncurons arc bornwhcn thc "othcr" |m|tatcs thc "sc|f "
car|y |n ||fc. M|rror ncurons arc thc ncura| conscqucncc of
th|s car|y motor synchronybctwccn sc|fand othcr, and thcy
bccomc thc ncura| c|cmcnts that codc thc actors ofth|s syn-
chrony ( thcsc|fandthcothcr, obv|ous|y) . Cfcoursc,wcmust
havc somc m|rror ncurons at b|rth, g|vcn Mc|t:off`s data on
|m|tat|on |n |nfants. Ìowcvcr, my argumcnt |s bascd on thc
assumpt|onthatthc m|rror ncuron systcm|s|argc|y shapcd by
|m|tat|vc |ntcract|onsbctwccn sc|fand othcr, cspcc|a||y car|y
|n ||fc ( a|though Ì bc||cvc that thc cxpcr|cncc ofbc|ng |m|-
tatcdcanshapcm|rrorncuronsa|so|atcr|n||fc,aswcw|||scc
|nthc ncxtchaptcr) . ^ccord|ng to my thcory, |tmakcsscnsc
that thc pa|r of k|ds who cou|d sc|f-rccogn|:c wcrc a|so thc
oncs who |m|tatcd morc. Jhc samc ncurons÷m|rror ncu-
rons÷arc conccmcd w|th both, and whcn thcy can |mp|c-
mcnt onc funct|on ( sc|f-rccogn|t|on) , thcy can |mp|cmcnt
thc othcr funct|on ( |m|tat|on) too. But what do sc|cnt|sts
mcanw|th thc tcrm"sc|f-rccogn|t|on" '
T HE M I RROR RE COGNI T ION T E S T
Jhc conccpt ofthc sc|f|s a h|gh|y comp|cx onc. 5cvcra| fac-
tors part|c|patc |n |ts crcat|on, wh|ch |s typ|ca||y a prob|cm
for cxpcr|mcntcrs who nccd to rcducc thc comp|ex|ty of a
¡
} §
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
phcnomcnon to managcab|c d|mcns|ons. Cn th|s qucst|on,
fortunatc|y, wc now havc a rc|at|vc|y s|mp|c cxpcr|mcnta|
parad|gm that a||ows us to scarch for somc aspcct of sc|f-
awarcncss÷an |mportant aspcct, wc bc||cvc÷cvcn |n vcry
young ch||drcn, cvcn |n an|ma|s. Vc ca|| th|s thc m|rror
rccogn|t|on tcst. (Morc m|rrors ' Ìfyou`rc start|ng to fcc| that
thcrc arc too many |n th|s book, Ì can`t rca||y b|amc you, nor
can Ì do much about |t.Ccrta|n|ynothcrc. Jh|s |s an |mpor-
tant, fasc|nat|ng tcst. ) Ìtwas dcv|scd byCordonCa||up, pro-
fcssor ofpsycho|ogy at thc 5tatc Ln|vcrs|ty ofÞcw York at
^|bany, |nthc |atc I ºó0s.^swas thc cascw|ththc d|scovcry
ofm|rrorncurons,somcscrcnd|p|tycamc|ntop|ay.^sagrad-
uatc studcnt, Ca||up was tak|ng a coursc that rcqu|rcd a
rcscarch proj cct. Ìc takcs up thc story. "Ì found mysc|fcon-
tcmplat|ngwhatto do onc mom|ng as Ì wasshav|ng|nfront
ofthcm|rror.Vh||cconfront|ngmy |magc |nthc m|rrorÌ bc-
gantowondcr|fothcrspcc|csm|ghtbccapab|cofrccogn|:|ng
thc|rownrcncct|ons, and howyou cou|d tcstforth|s. "'
^s Callup soon |camcd, sc|cnt|sts had bccn us|ng m|rrors
|n j ust th|s way s|ncc thc m|d-n|nctccnth ccntury. Char|cs
Larw|n was among thc nrst, tcst|ng h|s own ch||drcn ( thcy
cvcntual|y passcd) and corrcct|ypropos|ng thatsuch ab|||ty|s
a s|gn of h|ghcr |ntc||cct. Jcst|ng th|s hypothcs|s, Larw|n
p|accdthcm|rror|nfrontoftwoorangutans|nthcLoo|og|ca|
Cardcns |nLondon. Ìc thought thc two an|ma|s bchavcd as
|fthcywcrc fac|ng two othcr an|ma|s rathcrthan thc|r own
rcncctcd|magcs.Ìoraboutaccntury, othcrsc|cnt|stsuscdthc
m|rror |n s|m||ar |nvcst|gat|ons of both an|ma|s and |nfants,
but thc|r asscssmcnt ofthc subj ccts` bchav|or |n front ofthc
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
m|rrorwas, ||kc Larw|n`s, on|y a dcscr|pt|vc onc, w|th a|| thc
shortcom|ngsthatapurc|ydcscr|pt|vcmcthod|nhcrcnt|yhas.
5|mp|y put, thosc shortcom|ngs ma|n|y |nc|udc no obj cct|vc
standard of cva|uat|on, as wc|| as unrccogn|:cd b|as on thc
partofthc |nvcst|gator.CordonCa||up took th|s o|d, |ncom-
p|ctc|y rca||:cd rcscarch |dca andforma||:cd |t w|th bcaut|fu|
s|mp||c|ty.
Ì|s nrst tcst subj ccts wcrc ch|mpan:ccs, and hc |n|t|a||y
d|d noth|ng morc than to s|mp|y obscrvc thc|r spontancous
bchav|or |n front of a m|rror. Ìn th|s rcgard a|onc Ca||up`s
work was an |mportant stcp forward. Ìor thc actua| tcst, thc
ch|mpshadtobcfam|||arw|ththcm|rror.Cthcrw|sc,thcc|c-
mcntofsurpr|scwou|dskcwa||rcsu|ts. Jhcya|sohad tohavc
thc opportun|ty to |cam about thc m|rrors, and hc nccdcd to
acqu|rc a good scnsc of thc|r spontancous bchav|or |n thc
prcscncc ofthc m|rror as |t dcvc|opcd ovcr t|mc. Jh|s |n|t|a|
phascofthcstudytookscvcra|days. Ìnthcsccondphasc, thc
an|ma|s wcrc ancsthct|:cd and an odor|css dyc was uscd to
mark thc|r forchcads. Jhc po|nt |s stra|ghtforward. thc mark
cou|dnotbcv|cwcdbythc an|ma|sd|rcct|y, on|ythroughthc
m|rror. Vhcn thc an|ma|s wokc up from thc ancsthcs|a,
Ca||up d|d not rush thc m|rror |nto p|acc. Ìc had to study
thc|r bchav|or to dctcrm|nc whcthcr thcy wcrc ab|c to fcc||t
or smc|| thc mark. Jhc ch|mpan:ccsshowcd no such awarc-
ncss, madc no attcmpt to touch thc mark, and d|d noth|ng
out of thc ord|nary at a||. Cn|y now d|d Ca||up |ntroducc
thcm|rroraga|n÷andasuddcnchangc|nthc bchav|orofthc
an|ma|s was |mmcd|atc|y not|ccab|c. Jhc ch|mpan:ccs wcrc
frcqucnt|y touch|ng thc mark, cxam|n|ng |t c|osc|y, and rc-
¡
} /
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
pcatcd|y us|ng thc m|rror' Ìroof pos|t|vc. thcy kncw thcy
wcrc |ook|ng at thcmsc|vcs |n thc m|rror. V|th thc s|mp|c
|dca of mark|ng thc forchcad ofthc an|ma|, Ca||up had dc-
v|scdancncct|vcandobj cct|vcwayoftcst|ngsc|f-rccogn|t|on
|n an|ma|s. Ìn pr|nc|p|c, thc who|c tcst cou|d bc rcduccd to
two numbcrs. thc numbcr of t|mcs thc an|ma| touchcs |ts
forchcad, w|th and w|thout thc mark.
Ca||up a|so ran a ncccssary contro| cxpcr|mcnt. 5omc
ch|mpan:ccs who had ncvcr bccn cxposcd to a m|rror wcrc
ancsthct|:cdand markcdonthc|rforchcads w|th thc odor|css
dyc.C|vcnthatthcscan|ma|shadncvcrsccnthc|rownfaccs,
Ca||up prcd|ctcd that thcy wcrc not go|ng to showthc dra-
mat|cmark-d|rcctcdbchav|ord|sp|aycdbythcprcv|ousgroup
ofch|mpan:ccs. Ìndccd, th|s sccond groupofch|mpan:ccsba-
s|ca||y |gnorcd thc mark cvcn whcn |n front ofthc m|rror.'
Vhy' Jhc mark was not rcmarkab|c. Jhcy had no way to
know |thadnota|waysbccnthcrc.
Jhc m|rror rccogn|t|on tcst qu|ck|ybccamc a w|dc|y uscd
and h|gh|y popu|ar too| |n an|ma| cogn|t|on rcscarch. Mon-
kcysfa||thctcst.Jhcysccthc|rrcf|cct|onasanothcrmonkcy,
try top|ay w|th h|m, and whcn th|s fa||s, |ook behin thc m|r-
rorto tryto nnd out what |n thc wor|d |s go|ng on. Joo bad
wc can`tpcrform s|ng|c-cc||cxpcr|mcnts undcr thcsc c|rcum-
stanccs÷thc|r m|rror ncurons arc, prcsumab|y, go|ng cra:y'
Larw|n, |ttums out, was wrong. Crangutans, cspcc|a||ythosc
ra|scd |n a human cnv|ronmcnt, pass thc tcst.º Ìu::||ng|y,
mostgor|||asdo notpass thc m|rrorrccogn|t|on tcst. Jhc fcw
whodowcrcra|scd |nar|chhumancnv|ronmcnt.
Jhc fact that thc soc|a| contcxt |s cr|t|ca| |n dcvc|op|ng
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
sc|f-rccogn|t|on ab|||t|cs |n apcs |s tc|||ng. Ìso|at|on sccms to
|nh|b|tthcab|||tytodcvc|opsc|f-rccogn|t|on, r|chsoc|a|con-
tcxt fac|||tatcs |t. Vhat |s thc ma|n d|ncrcncc bctwccn thc
two cnv|ronmcnts ' Jhc prcscncc of others-the cont|nuous
rc|at|onsand |ntcract|onsoncmusthavcw|thothcr|nd|v|du-
a|s.M|rrorncuronsnrcwhcnwcobscrvcact|onsandwhcnwc
pcrform thosc samc act|ons. Ìn shorr, whcn wc ( and apcs)
|ook at othcrs, wc nnd both thcm an ourselves . Jhc ||nk
bctwccn soc|a| cnv|ronmcnt and a scnsc of sc|f |s strong|y
|nfcrrcd.
Ìfth|s |s so, wc m|ght cxpcct that othcr h|gh|y commu-
n|cat|vc an|ma|s w|th soc|a| sk|||s wou|d show s|gns of sc|f-
rccogn|t|on |n thc m|rror rccogn|t|on tcst. Ìndccd, do|ph|ns
sccmto havc sc|trccogn|t|on, a|though |t |s d|mcu|t to study
mark-d|rcctcdbchav|or|n an|ma|sthatdonothavc ||mbs. Ìn
arcccntstudy,do|ph|nsmarkcdonvar|ousparts ofthc|rbod-
|csspcntmorct|mc|nfrontofa|argcm|rrorp|accdundcrthc
watcr, comparcd w|th whcn thc|r bod|cs wcrc not markcd.
^|so, thc do|ph|ns tw|stcd and ang|cd thc|r bod|cs |n a way
that suggcstcd thcy wcrc try|ng to |ook at thc|r marks. Con-
s|dcr|ng that |m|tat|vc and cmpath|c bchav|or has bccn
assoc|atcd w|th do|ph|ns, thc cv|dcnccforsomcformofsc|f-
rccogn|t|on|nthcscan|ma|sshows yct afurthcr||nkbctwccn
|m|tation, cmpathy, andscnscofsc|f.'
L|cphants havc a|so bccn assoc|atcd w|th soc|a| comp|cx-
|tyandcmpath|cbchav|or. Canc|cphants a|sosc|f-rccogn|:c'
^n car|y study suggcstcd that thcy camot. Ìowcvcr, tcst|ng
c|cphantsw|thm|rrors |snotatr|v|a|cntcrpr|scfromapract|-
ca|standpo|nt. ^vcry|argc m|rror |s obv|ous|yrcqu|rcd' Ìna
¡
} V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
rcccnt study us|ng a m|rror Z. 5 mctcrs ta|| and c|cphant-
rcs|stant as wc||, sc|cnt|sts d|d obta|n cv|dcncc for m|rror
rccogn|t|on.
Jhc capac|ty to sc|f-rccogn|:c |n pr|matcs, do|ph|ns, and
c|cphants÷||ncagcs that scparatcd a |ong t|mc ago |n cvo|u-
t|onary tcrms÷dcmonstratcs convcrgcnt cvo|ut|on that |s
probab|yductothc|ntcract|onbctwccnb|o|og|ca|factorsand
cnv|ronmcnta| oncs. º Most ||kc|y, thc h|gh|y soph|st|catcd
soc|a| |ntcract|ons d|sp|aycdby thcsc ||ncagcs arc cxprcss|ons
of both b|o|og|ca| prcd|spos|t|on and thc ro|c of cxpcr|cncc
|n shap|ng bchav|or. Ìndccd, a|| of thcsc an|ma|s havc r|ch
mothcr-|nfant |ntcract|ons that |ast qu|tc a |ong t|mc. ^s Ì
d|scusscd car||cr |n th|s chaptcr, parcnt- |nfant rcc|proca| |m|-
tat|on|svcry||kc|yakcyform ofcxpcr|cnt|a|shap|ngofm|r-
rorncurons.K|chand|ongmothcr- |nfant |ntcract|onsmaybc
onc of thc factors favor|ng convcrgcnt cvo|ut|ons bctwccn
pr|matcs, do|ph|ns, and c|cphants, thcrcby fac|||tat|ng thc
shap|ngofm|rrorncuronsandofascnscofsc|f.
Jhcm|rrorrccogn|t|ontcsthasnatura||ya|sobccnw|dc|y
uscd w|th chi|drcn÷w|thout thc ancsthcs|a. Ìnstcad, thc |n-
vcst|gators havc to usc somc tr|cks, c|thcr wa|t|ng unt|| thc
ch||d fa||s as|ccp or distract|ng thc ch||d wh||c app|y|ng thc
mark.Jhcrcsu|tsofthcscstud|csarcfasc|nat|ng.Þcar|ngonc
ycar |n agc, ch||drcncanspcnd an cnormousamountoft|mc
|n front ofa m|rrorbut cons|stcnt|y fa|| to pass thc tcst. Ìor
thcch||drcn, asw|thmonkcys, |t|sas |fthc |magcrcf|cctcd|n
thcm|rror|s not somuchthc|r own, butrathcrthc |magc of
anothcr ch||d thcy arc p|ay|ng w|th, as |u||an Kccnan, Cor-
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
donCa||up, andLcanÌalkput|t|nthc|rbookThe Face in the
Mirror.
Joward thc cnd ofthc sccond ycar, ch|ldrcn catch on and
cons|stcnt|y show bchav|or d|rcctcd at thc mark. ^nd along
w|th th|s bchav|or, othcr bchav|ors that clcarly show a soc|al
awarcncss a|so appcar. Ìor |nstancc, thc ch|ldrcn show thc
nrst s|gns ofcmbarrassmcnt. ' Lmbarrassmcnt rcqu|rcs at lcast
somc rud|mcntary scnsc of soc|a| norms, wh|ch arc dcr|vcd
fromda|ly|ntcract|onsw|thothcrpcop|c. Vhcnch|ldrcnarc
cmbarrasscd, thcy arc cmbarrasscd |nfrontofothcr pcoplc.
^s dcmonstratcd abovc, |t |squ|tcl|kcly that m|rror ncu-
rons play a maj or rolc dur|ng soc|al |ntcract|ons vcry car|y
|nl|fc, start|ng w|ththcnrst |ntcract|ons w|th Mom and Lad.
Ìf Ì am corrcct that soc|al |ntcract|ons shapc thc ab|l|ty to
dcvclop a scnsc ofsclf, as both thc an|mal and thc dcvclop-
mcnta| data rcv|cwcd |n th|s scct|on ofthc chaptcr suggcst,
thcn |t |s a|so||kclythatm|rror ncuronsarc |nvolvcd |n sclf-
rccogn|t|on. Lct`s cons|dcr thc bra|n data support|ng th|s
hypothcs|s.
A NOT HE R M E
5omcycarsago, Luc|naLdd|n, agraduatcstudcnt|npsychol-
ogyatLCL^, toldmc thatshcwantcdtouscbothuKÌ and
JM5 to bcttcr undcrstand thc ncural corrc|atcs of sc|f-
rccogn|t|on. 5hc had alrcady pcrformcd a couplc of cxpcr|-
mcnts|nLranLa|dcl`slab. La|dclwasoncofthcnrstsc|cnt|sts
M I R RO RI N G P E O P L E
to |ook at thc ncura| corrc|atcs of thc sc|f. V|th h|s w|fc,
Lahl|a, and thc|r mcntor, Kogcr 5pcrry, hc |nvcst|gatcd how
thctwoccrcbra| hcm|sphcrcs rccogn|:cfaccs,andhcbcganby
cxam|n|ng pat|cnts |n wh|ch thc two hcm|sphcrcs had bccn
disconnected |n anattcmpttorcducc|ntractab|c cp||cpsy.
Jhc ncurosurgconwas|ocBogcn, whohad nrst pcrformcd
th|s proccdurc÷spcc|nca||y, "scct|on|ng" thc corpus ca||o-
sum÷oncp||cpt|cs|nthccar|y I ºó0s.Jhccorpusca||osum |s
a vcry |argc bund|c ofbra|n nbcrs that connccts thc |cftand
thc r|ght ccrcbra| hcm|sphcrcs. By cutt|ng |t, Bogcn cncc-
t|vc|y stoppcd thc "sprcad" ofcp||cpt|cact|v|tyfroman |n|t|a|
arcaononcs|dcofthcbra|ntothcothcrs|dc. Jhcproccdurc
d|d hc|p thc pat|cnts. Bogcn a|so scct|oncd thc antcr|or and
postcr|or comm|ssurcs÷two othcr, much sma||cr bund|cs of
bra|n nbcrs that a|so conncct thc |cft and r|ght hcm|sphcrcs.
Ìora||pract|ca|purposcs,thcscpat|cntsnowhadtwoscparatc
bra|ns, and thcy bccamc known as sp||t-bra|n pat|cnts. Jhc
scr|cs ofopcrat|ons bccamc known as thc Vcst Coast scr|cs,
bccausc Bogcn pcrformcd thcm |n 5outhcm Ca||forn|a. ^t
that t|mc, Kogcr 5pcrry, who was at Ca|tcch |n Ìasadcna,
startcd a systcmat|c |nvcst|gat|on of thc psycho|og|ca| func-
t|ons ofcachscparatcdccrcbra|hcm|sphcrc |n Bogcn`snovc|
sp||t-bra|npat|cnts. Ìor th|s |nvcst|gat|on5pcrrywas cvcntu-
a||y awardcd thcÞobc|Ìr|:cforphys|o|ogyandmcd|c|nc.
Jhc cxpcr|mcnt that 5pcrry and thc two La|dc|s pcr-
formcd w|th thcsc sp||t-bra|n pat|cnts took advantagc ofthc
fact that, ow|ng to thc anatom|ca| organ|:at|on ofthc v|sua|
systcm|nthcbra|n,anyv|sua|st|mu|usthatappcars |nthcleft
s|dcofthc nc|dofv|s|ongocsto thc right ccrcbra|hcm|sphcrc,
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
andv|ccvcrsa.Jhcyprcscntcdto thcscpat|cntsascr|csofv|-
sua|st|mu|||noncnc|dofv|s|onorthcothcr,andthcrcforcto
onc hcm|sphcrc or thc othcr. ^mong thcsc st|mu|| was thc
facc ofthc pat|cnt. Ccncra| bc||cfat thc t|mc hc|d that thc
|cftccrcbra|hcm|sphcrcwou|dbcthc on|y onc ab|c to rccog-
n|:c thc pat|cnt`s own facc, s|ncc |t |s thc hcm|sphcrc w|th
morcdcvc|opcd|anguagcfacu|ty. Jh|s bc||cfwas bascdonthc
assumpt|on that |n ordcr to rccogn|:c onc`s own facc, onc
nccdstovcrba||:c ( at|castcovcrt|y) th|s who|c proccss. Ìow-
cvcr, 5pcrry and thc two La|dc|s d|scovcrcd that both hcm|-
sphcrcscou|drccogn|:cthcpat|cnt`sownfacc, dcbunk|ngthc
gcncra||y hc|d bc||cfthat on|y thc |cft hcm|sphcrc cou|d cn-
ab|csc|f-rccogn|t|on. ' º
Vork|ng | n La|dc|`s |ab at LCL^, Luc|na Ldd|n uscd a
s||ght|y d|ncrcnt approach to thc samc |ssuc, an approach dc-
vc|opcdbythccogn|t|vcncurosc|cnt|st|u||anKccnanatÌar-
vard Ln|vcrs|ty. Jhc v|sua| st|mu|| shc nashcd to c|thcr thc
|cft or r|ght nc|d of v|s|on wcrc a|so faccs÷of a sort. Jhcy
wcrc actua||y a scr|cs ofmorphs ofthc pat|cnt`s facc and an-
othcrfacc, morph|ng |n |ncrcmcnta| stcps of I0 pcrccntfrom
a||-sc|ftoa||-othcrfacc. Jhc taskfor thc pat|cntwas torcport
whcthcr cach morph was morc hcr own facc, or morc thc
othcr facc. Lvcn though th|s approach was qu|tc d|ffcrcnt
from 5pcrry`s |n|t|a| study, Luc|na`s rcsu|ts wcrc |n fact vcry
s|m||ar, suggcst|ng that both thc |cft and thc r|ght hcm|-
sphcrcscanrccogn|:conc`s ownfacc. ' '
Þowshc wantcd to usc a var|ctyofcxpcr|mcnta|mcthods
|nmy|abtofurthcrcxp|orcthcrc|at|onsbctwccnthcsc|fand
thc bra|n, a|| scrv|ng thc samc fundamcnta| qucst|on. Vh|ch
¡
4}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
rcg|onsofthc bra|narc cr|t|ca|for sc|f-rccogn|t|on'Jhc most
|og|ca| approach |n hcr pos|t|on was to usc an cxpcr|mcnta|
parad|gms|m||artothconcw|ththcscr|csofmorph|ngfaccs,
th|s t|mc p|ac|ng hca|thy vo|untccrs |n an fKÌ scanncr as
Luc|na mcasurcdhowd|ncrcnt bra|n arcaswcrcact|vatcd by
thcscqucnccofmorph|ngfaccs.5hccontactcdmcma|n|ybc-
causc Ì am on thc facu|ty of thc Bra|n Mapp|ng Ccntcr at
LCL^ and havc co||uboratcdw|th hcr mcntor, Lran La|dc|.
Ìnany cvcnt, shc wasn`t th|nk|ng aboutm|rrorncurons÷but
Ì dcnn|tc|y was.
My hypothcs|s that m|rror ncurons arc formcd by thc |n-
teract|ons bctwccn sc|f and othcr ( baby sm||cs, carcg|vcr
sm||cs too) and thc dcvc|opmcnta| data on sc|f-rccogn|t|on
and|m|tat|onprcd|ctcdthc |nvo|vcmcntofm|rrorncurons|n
sc|f-rccogn|t|on. Ì was not an cxpcrt |n sc|f-awarcncss, how-
cvcr, and Ì nccdcd onc |n ordcr to movc ahcad w|th cxpcr|-
mcnts. Luc|na was thc |dca| tra|ncc. shc kncw pract|ca||y
cvcryth|ngaboutthcsc"sc|fandthcbra|n"|ssucs, from cvo|u-
t|onary to dcvc|opmcnta| pcrspcct|vcs, hom ph||osoph|ca|
d|scuss|ons to thc scant data ava||ab|c at that t|mc. 5hc
nccdcd tra|n|ng on|y |n bra|n |mag|ng. Jh|s Ì cou|d prov|dc,
and Ì j umpcd at thc occas|on and cvcntua||y bccamc co-
mcntorforhcrdoctora| stud|cs. Ì hopcthatatthccndofhcr
doctora|ycarsLuc|nahas|camcdsomcth|ngfrommcw|thrc-
gardtobra|n|magIng, bccauscÌ candcnn|tc|y saythatÌ havc
|carncd a|otfrom hcrw|thrcgard to thc sc|f.
Cnc of thc prob|cms to so|vc whcn dcs|gn|ng an cxpcr|-
mcntaboutsc|f-rccogn|t|on |s thc fact thatwc typ|ca||y |ook
atourownfacc scvcra|t|mcscvcryday.Curfacc |sh|gh|yfa-
¡
44
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
m|||ar to us, cvcn |f|tchangcs as thc ycars ro||by. Jhcrcforc
anynon-sc|fst|mu|| uscd |nthc cxpcr|mcnt wou|d havc to bc
h|gh|y fam|||ar to thc subj cct too, othcrw|sc wc wou|d r|sk
nnd|ng cxpcr|mcnta| rcsu|ts hav|ng morc to do w|th changcs
|n v|sua| fam|||ar|ty than w|th sc|f-rccogn|t|on. Ìrcv|ous |n-
vcst|gators |n th|s arca had rccogn|:cd th|s prob|cm and
so|vcd |tbyus|ng, for thc non-sc|ffaccs, thosc offamouspco-
p|c. Mar||yn Monroc, ^|bcrtL|nstc|n, B||| C||nton. ^|most
cvcryadu|t|nthcVcstcrnwor|dknowsthcscfaccs.Ìowcvcr,
your typ|ca|rcscarchsubj cct |n thc bra|n |mag|ng |ab÷aco|-
|cgc studcnt or graduatc studcnt÷docs not spcnd t|mc w|th
thcscpcop|c, so thcyhavc sma|| soc|a| mcan|ng for thc sub-
j ccts. Ìncontrast, thcsubj ccts`ownfaccswou|dhavch|ghso-
c|a|rc|cvancc. Ìora||ofus,notj ustthcsubj ccts |nthcsctcsts,
ourownfacc |snots|mp|ythconcrcncctcd|nthc m|rror. Ìt|s
a|so thcfaccpcop|c scc whcn wc |ntcract w|th othcr pcop|c,
thcfacc thatcommun|catcs ourown cmot|ons to thcm. Cnc
of thc rcasons pcop|c obscss about thc|r appcarancc, and
about thc|rfacc |npart|cu|ar, |s |ts h|gh soc|a|va|cncc, as wc
say. Ìorth|srcason, Luc|na |ntroduccda novc| c|cmcnt|nhcr
bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt on sc|f-facc rccogn|t|on. thc non-
sc|ffacc, rathcrthanbc|ngah|gh|yfam|||arbutsoc|a||y |rrc|-
cvant cc|cbr|ty facc, was |nstcad a h|gh|y fam|||aran h|gh|y
soc|a||yrc|cvantfacc÷thc subj cct`s bcstfr|cnd. Ì bc||cvc that
th|s |dca was kcy to thc u|t|matc succcss of Luc|na`s cxpcr|-
mcnta|dcs|gn.
Ì rcmcmbcrwhcn Ì saw hcr rcsu|ts for thc nrst t|mc÷thc
compar|son of bra|n act|v|ty wh||c subj ccts wcrc |ook|ng at
thc scqucncc of p|cturcs morph|ng |ncrcmcnta||y from thc|r
¡

M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
own to thc|r bcst fr|cnd`s facc. Ì was stunncd. Jhc two arcas
that stood out c|car|y for sc|f-rccogn|t|on comparcd w|th
rccogn|t|onofthc bcstfricnd- onc |n thc fronta| |obc ofthc
r|ght hcm|sphcrc, onc |n thc par|cta| |obc÷arc a|so thc m|r-
ror ncuron arcas of that hcm|sphcrc. Luc|na had bcaut|fu||y
|magcd thc who|c m|rror ncuron systcm of thc r|ght hcm|-
sphcrc (ngurc I , p. óZ) . ^fcwwccksaftcrÌ sawthcscwondcr-
m|rcsu|ts, ÌwasatLartmouthCo||cgcaspartofthcfacu|tyof
a summcr coursc |n cogn|t|vc ncurosc|cncc, w|dc|y known as
Bra|n Camp. C|acomo K|::o|att| was a|so thcrc, |n fact, hc
was onc of thc organ|:crs that ycar. Cnc day wh||c wc wcrc
s|tt|ng|nthc |obbyofthchotc|, work|ngonthcpapcronm|r-
ror ncurons and undcrstand|ng thc |ntcnt|ons ofothcrs ( d|s-
cusscdatthccndofchaptcrZ) , Ì showcdC|acomothc|magcs
hom Luc|na'scxpcr|mcnt.
"Vhatdoyouth|nk|t|s '" Ì askcd.
"Ìt |s dcnn|tc|y thc m|rror ncuron systcm |n thc r|ght
hcm|sphcrc. But Ì havc rarc|y sccn such a strongm|rrorncu-
ron act|v|ty |n thc r|ghthcm|sphcrc on|y, " C|acomo addcd,
and thcnaskcd, "Vhatk|ndoftaskarc thc subj ccts do|ng'"
Vhcn Ì cxp|a|ncd thc sc|f-rccogn|t|on morph|ng cxpcr|-
mcnt, hc noddcd. Jhc rcsu|ts madc scnsc D h|m. Ì rca||:cd
thatÌ was notchas|nga fantasy. Ìf|tmadc scnsc to C|acomo
and |tmadc scnsc to mc, and as wchadncvcractua||yta|kcd
about sc|f-rccogn|t|on and m|rror ncurons bcforc that day, |t
was a good s|gn. But whyshou|d m|rror ncuron arcas |n thc
human bra|n bc |ncrcmcnta||y act|vatcd as wc |ncrcmcnta||y
rccogn|:c our own face |n a scr|cs of morphcd photographs '
^rcn't m|rror ncurons thc cc||s that nrc whcnwc pcrform an
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
act|on, or scc somconc c|sc pcrform that act|on, or |m|tatc
that act|on' Vhy shou|d thcy nrc at a|| whcn wc scc an un­
moving facc'Jhc answcr, Ì bc||cvc, |sth|s. nrst ofa||, |t|swc||
known that thchuman bra|n rcsponds to stat|c st|mu|| that
imp|y mot|on 0 if thosc st|mu|| wcrc mov|ng. Ìor |nstancc,
thc ma|nhumanbra|narcathatrcspondstomot|on(wcbra|n
sc|cnt|stsca|| |tarcaMJ) rcspondsa|soto st|||p|cturcs ofan-
|ma|s |n mot|on÷runn|ng orj ump|ng÷and cvcn to st|||p|c-
turcsofnatura|sccncs|mp|y|ngmot|on,suchasoccanwavcs.
L|kcw|sc, thc human m|rror ncuron systcm rcsponds to st|||
p|cturcs |mp|y|ngact|ons÷for |nstancc, ahand |nthcm|dd|c
ofa grasp|ng act|on. ' ' Þow, |ct`s go back to Luc|na`s cxpcr|-
mcnt. 5hcuscdst|||p|cturcsoffaccs.Ìttumsoutthatthcpcr-
ccpt|on ofa facc a|most |nvar|ab|y |mp||cs mot|on. Ìt |s vcry
d|fncu|t to |ookatafacc andnotto th|nk about |t |nmot|on,
mak|ng fac|a| cxprcss|ons. Jhc act|vat|on ofm|rror ncurons
whcn watch|ng afacc |sthcrcforcnotso surpr|s|ngaftcra||.
Vc now havc to cxp|a|n thc |ncrcascd act|vat|on |n thc
m|rrorncuronsystcm that Luc|naobscrvcdfor sc|f, comparcd
w|th othcr. Vc havc sccn that m|rror ncurons÷through a
s|mu|at|onmcchan|sm÷mapthcact|onsofthc other ontothc
self Jhcy makc thc othcr "anothcr sc|f," as Ca||csc says.
Vhcn wc scc our own p|cturc, thcrc arc actua||y two sc|vcs
fac|ng cachothcr.Jhc "pcrcc|vcdsc|f " |s thc onc |n thc p|c-
turc, wh||c thc "pcrcc|v|ng sc|f " |s thc onc watching the pic­
ture. M|rrorncurons |nthcbra|nofthcpcrcc|v|ngsc|fproccss
thc pcrcc|vcd sc|fas thcother, and aga|n |mp|cmcntthc map-
p|ng of thc othcr÷|n th|s casc thosc |mp||cd fac|a| cxprcs-
s|ons÷ontothcsc|f. Butnowthosc |mp||cdfac|a|cxprcss|ons
¡
4/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
ofthc "pcrcc|vcdsc|f " a|rcadybc|ongtothc motorrcpcrto|rc
of thc "pcrcc|v|ng sc|f. " Jhus thc s|mu|at|vc proccss |mp|c-
mcntcd by m|rror ncurons |sh|gh|yfac|||tatcd andrcsu|ts |n
h|ghcract|v|ty |nthchumanm|rrorncuronsystcm.
Jh|scxp|anat|onmadca|otofscnsctomc,and|t|s,obv|-
ous|y, thc cxp|anat|on wc put |n thc papcr thatrcportcdLu-
c|na`s nnd|ngs. ' 'Ìowcvcr, Ì thought |twas |mportant to tcst
ourhypothcs|smorcd|rcct|y.^ftcr a||, wccannotforgct that
thc data wc had obta|ncd from thc fKÌ scanncr wcrc on|y
corrc|at|vc data. Jhcy d|d not tc|| us whcthcr thcrc was a
causal ||nk bctwccn thcact|vat|on of thosc bra|n arcas and
thc ab|||ty to sc|f-rccogn|:c. ^ powcrm| too| to |nvcst|gatc
causa|||nksbctwccnabra|narcaandag|vcnfunct|on|stran-
scran|a|magnct|c st|mu|at|on, aswchavc sccn.Jhctrans|cnt
d|srupt|onofbra|n act|v|ty |n a |oca||:cd arca induccdbythc
JM5 apparatus rcvca|s whcthcr th|s arca |s ncccssary for thc
taskpcrformcd by thc subj ccts. ^ftcrLuc|nahadnn|shcdhcr
fKÌ cxpcr|mcnt, Ì urgcdhcrtouscthcJM5mach|nc to dc-
tcrm|nc whcthcrthosc act|vatcd arcas arc rca||yncccssaryfor
sc|f-rccogn|t|on.Jhankfu||y, Luc|na |s agood||stcncr ( nota||
studcntsarc) .
Z A P P I NG T HE S E L F
Luc|na was ab|c to track down hcr "morph|ng" subj ccts, and
most agrccd to bc thc subj ccts |n a ncw cxpcr|mcntus|ng thc
coppcr co||. ^s wc havc j ust sccn, hcr nrst cxpcr|mcnt had
rcvca|cd two arcas |n thc r|ght ccrcbra| hcm|sphcrc that arc
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
a|so |n "m|rror ncuron tcrr|tory" as most act|vc for sc|f-
rccogn|t|on. Vh|ch onc shou|d shc focus on |n th|s ncw cx-
pcr|mcnt 'Jo hc|panswcrth|squcst|on,shcrcv|cwcdthcvcry
rarc cascs |n thc ||tcraturc ofncuro|og|ca| pat|cnts who show
a dcnc|t |nrccogn|:|ng thc|rownfacc wh||c thcy arc |n front
ofa m|rror. Vc ca|| th|s dcnc|t thc m|rror s|gn. Ìfthcsc pa-
t|cntsdon`tsccthcmsc|vcs|nthcm|rror,whoorwhatdothcy
scc' 5omconc c|sc ( |n a way) ' Cncpat|cntdcscr|bcdanothcr
pcrson who |ookcd cxact|y ||kc hcr. ^ sccond pat|cnt dc-
scr|bcd scc|ng a youngg|r| who|ookcd ||kc hcr. ^ th|rd pa-
t|cnt saw h|s doub|c, h|s |ook-a||kc. ^nd a fourth pat|cnt
s|mp|y saw somcbody who fo||owcd h|m around. Cthcrw|sc,
thcscpat|cntswcrcpcrfcct|y ab|c to |dcnt|fy othcr pcop|c |n
thcm|rror, andthcywcrcab|c to uscthcm|rrorcorrcct|y, for
groom|ngpurposcs, for|nstancc. Jhc|rdcnc|twasstr|ct|ysc|f-
rccogn|t|on.
Ìnnoncofthcfourpat|cntsd|dthcbra|n|cs|onsuncqu|v-
oca||y p|npo|nt a spcc|nc bra|n rcg|on as rcspons|b|c for thc
sc|f-rccogn|t|on dcnc|t. Ìowcvcr, a|| d|d show morc |nvo|vc-
mcnt of thc r|ght hcm|sphcrc than of thc |cft hcm|sphcrc,
|n thc r|ght hcm|sphcrc, thcy showcd morc |nvo|vcmcnt of
bra|n arcas toward thc back, |n thc par|cta| |obc. ' ' ^mong
thcscarcas, thc supramarg|na| gyrus |sanatom|ca||yvcryc|osc
to thc arcas damagcd |n thc m|rror-s|gn pat|cnts. Ìt sccmcd
||kc an obv|ous cand|datc as a cr|t|ca| bra|n arca for sc|f-facc
rccogn|t|on.
Þo twobra|nshavc thcsamc s|:c andshapc and |ntcma|
structurc, nor docs thc act|vat|on of thc samc bra|n arca |n
d|ncrcnt |nd|v|dua|s cvcr |ook cxact|y thc samc. Luc|na uscd
¡
4V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc funct|ona| bra|n |mag|ng data ofcach |nd|v|dua| and thc
framc|css stcrcotaxy systcm w|th thc |nfrarcd camcra dc-
scr|bcd |n chaptcr 3 to p|acc thc co|| and st|mu|atc hcr tar-
gct w|th prcc|s|on. Jhat targct was about thc s|:c ofa squarc
ccnt|mctcr of bra|n surfacc, j ust undcmcath thc coppcr co||
p|accd ovcrthcsku||. Luc|nachoscto usc thc |ow-frcqucncy
rcpct|t|vc st|mu|at|on, wh|ch, |n s|mp|cst tcrms, :aps thc tar-
gctw|thoncmagnct|cpu|scpcrsccondforapro|ongcdpcr|od
oft|mc, typ|ca||ytwcntym|nutcs, trans|cnt|yrcduc|ngthcac-
t|v|ty ofthc targctcd ncurons for approx|matc|y ha|fan hour
aftcr thc cnd of thc st|mu|at|on' `÷|n th|s cxpcr|mcnt, thc
ncurons that wcrc qu|tc act|vc |n sc|f-rccogn|t|on |n thc
morph|ng-photographs cxpcr|mcnt. Luc|na`s prcd|ct|on was
stra|ghtforward. |fthcact|vat|onofth|s arca|scsscnt|a|tothc
ab|||ty to sc|f-rccogn|:c, thcn hcr subj ccts shou|d havc rc-
duccd sc|f-rccogn|t|on ab|||ty r|ght aftcr thc JM5 st|mu|a-
t|on. Jh|s |s cxact|ywhatshc obscrvcd. s|gn|ncant|y rcduccd
pcrformancc. Jhcpcrccntagcof"sc|f" |nthc morphcdphoto-
graphshad to bch|ghcr |n ordcrfor thc subj ccts to makc thc
sc|f-|dcnt|ncat|on.
Cbv|ous|y, Luc|na a|so nccdcd to st|mu|atc anothcrbra|n
arca as a contro| for nonspcc|nc cnccts ow|ng to magnct|c
st|mulat|on. Jhc obscrvcd rcduct|on |n pcrformancc cou|d
havcbccnductoavar|ctyoffactorsthathad||tt|ctodow|th
thc :app|ng ofthc st|mu|atcd bra|n arca. Ìor th|s contro| cx-
pcr|mcnt, shc uscd thc corrcspond|ng bra|n arca |n thc |cft
hcm|sphcrc. 5|ncc hcr or|g|na| |mag|ng data had shown no
act|v|ty for sc|f-facc rccogn|t|on |n th|s |cft supramarg|na|
gyrus, |t sccmcd ||kc a good cho|cc. 5t|mu|at|on ofth|s arca
F A C I N G YOU R S EL F
shou|d not affcct sc|f-rccogn|t|on capab|||t|cs. Ìf|t d|d, susp|-
c|on wou|d bc d|rcctcd at somc othcrfactor. But |t d|d not.
JhcpcrformanccofLuc|na`ssubj cctsbcforcandaftcrst|mu|a-
t|onofthcleft supramarg|na|gyruswassubstant|a||y|dcnt|ca|,
thcrcbyconnrm|ngthatthcdcnc|t|nsc|f-faccrccogn|t|on|n-
duccd by st|mu|at|ng thc right supramarg|na| gyrus rca||ywas
duc to that spcc|nc d|srupt|on. ^|though thc |nvo|vcmcnt of
th|sbra|n arca|nsc|f-rccogn|t|onhad bccn shownbyLuc|na`s
prcv|ous study and byothcrstud|cs, |npart|cu|ar thc work of
|u||an Kccnan, th|s JM5 cxpcr|mcnt dcmonstratcd for thc
nrst t|mc a fa|r|y prcc|sc causa| rc|at|on bctwccn a spcc|nc
humanbra|n arca and thc capac|ty to rccogn|:c oncsc|f. ' º Ìn
add|t|on, othcrk|nds ofncuro|og|ca| data had suggcstcd th|s
assoc|at|on. Ìt |s wc|| known thatpat|cnts w|th r|ght hcm|-
sphcrc |cs|ons may dcvc|op a ncuro|og|ca| phcnomcnon
ca||cd asomatognos|a.Jhcscpat|cntscannotrccogn|:cabody
partas thc|rown, typ|ca||yapara|y:cd|cftarmorhand.Jhcy
bc||cvc,forcxamp|c, that |tbc|ongs to onc ofthc|r rc|at|vcs.
Compar|ng thc |ocat|on of |cs|ons |n pat|cnts w|th r|ght
hcm|sphcrc damagc, w|thorw|thoutasomatognos|a,thc ncu-
ro|og|st Jodd Ìc|nbcrg found that a|| thc pat|cnts w|th th|s
dcnc|t had |cs|ons |n thc supramarg|na| gyrus, whcrcas nonc
ofthcpat|cntsw|thoutth|s dcnc|thadsuch|cs|ons. ' '
Cbv|ous|y, nc|thcr Luc|na`s bra|n |mag|ng and magnct|c
st|mu|at|ondatanoranyothcrnon|nvas|vcworkcandcmon-
stratcw|thccrta|ntythatm|rrorncurons,spcc|nca||y, arc act|-
vatcd dur|ng sc|f-facc rccogn|t|on and that thc d|srupt|on of
their act|v|ty |s rcspons|b|c for thc sc|f-rccogn|t|on dcnc|t.
Jh|s tcchno|ogy docs not havc thc rcso|ut|on of |ook|ng at
¡
§
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thc act|v|tyofs|ng|ccc||s.Ìowcvcr, aswchavcsccn|nchap-
tcr Z, thc arcast|mu|atcdby Luc|na |san arca w|th c|carm|r-
ror ncuron propcrt|cs. Ì havc argucd car||cr |n th|s chaptcr
thatthc |ntcract|onsbctwccn"sc|f "and"othcr" ( babysm||cs,
mothcr sm||cs too) shapc m|rror ncurons car|y|n||fc. M|rror
ncurons ||nk profound|y sc|f and othcr. Ì wou|d cvcn arguc
that sc|fand othcr arc b|cndcd |n m|rror ncurons as thcy arc
b|cndcd |n Luc|na`s morphcd faccs. Jhc wc||-connrmcd "|n-
tcrcst` ofm|rrorncuronsw|ththcothcrmust|nsomcwaycn-
ta|||ntcrcstw|ththcsc|f.Luc|na`sdatacompr|scthccmp|r|ca|
cv|dcncc that most strong|y supports th|s conccpt. Ìcr nnd-
|ngs show thc b|o|og|ca| roots of |ntcrsubj cct|v|ty. Lnfortu-
natc|y, ph||osoph|ca| and |dco|og|ca| |nd|v|dua||st|c pos|t|ons
cspcc|a||y dom|nant |n our Vcstcrn cu|turc havc madc us
b||nd to thc fundamcnta||y |ntcrsubj cct|vc naturc ofour own
bra|ns. Ì bc||cvc that thc ncurosc|cnt|nc work onm|rrorncu-
rons provcs |t. Ì w||| cxp|orc thc thcorct|ca| |mp||cat|ons of
th|s cr|t|ca| aspcctofourbra|ns |nthc |astchaptcr.
But how abstract |s thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn m|rror ncu-
rons and thc sc|f ' ^nothcr mcmbcrofmy |ab, |onas Kap|an,
pcrformcd a bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt to tcst whcthcr thc
human m|rror ncuron arcas arc act|vatcd dur|ng a sc|f-
rccogn|t|on task |nvo|v|ngthc voice ofthc subj ccts. |onashas
a strongcogn|t|vc and ph||osoph|ca| background, |nc|ud|ng a
spcc|a| |ntcrcst |n Lastcm ph||osophy. Ic a|so has many ta|-
cnts, |nc|ud|ngp|ay|ngthcs|tar,most|yÌnd|anmus|cbuta|so
|n a rock band. Ìmprcsscd ( as cvcryonc |n thc |ab was) w|th
Luc|na`s cxpcr|mcnt, |onas wantcd to scc whcthcr thc arcas
Luc|nahad |dcnt|ncd|nhcrsc|f-rccogn|t|ontaskw|thav|sua|
¡
§
Z
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
stimu|us÷thc facc÷wou|d a|so discriminatc bctwccn a pcr-
son`s own voicc andthat ofsomcbody c|sc. Ìfthis tumcdout
to bc thc casc, |onas thought, it wou|d suggcst that thcsc
brain arcas arc conccmcd with rc|ativc|yabstractrcprcscnta-
tions of thc sc|f. Ìor his study, |onas fo||owcd Lucina`s |cad
and choscforhiscomparisontcstthc voicc ofthc bcstfricnd
ofcach subj cct. But thcrc was a hugc catch. thcrc is no way
to morph voiccs. Civcn this fact, |onas dccidcd to usc un-
morphcdpicturcs andunmorphcdvoiccs. Jhc subj ccts inthc
cxpcrimcnt watchcd thcir ownfaccs as thcyhcard thcir own
voiccs, and thcn watchcd thcir bcst fricnds` faccs and hcard
thcir voiccs. ^ so|id p|an, but |onas had to so|vc anothcr
prob|cm, thc wc||-known fact that thc sound of our voicc
whi|c spcaking is fundamcnta||y dincrcnt from thc sound of
our tapcd voicc. Jhc physio|ogica| rcason is that whcn wc
spcak, ourvoiccistransmittcdtothccarnoton|ythroughair
but a|so through body tissucs, most|y bonc. 5o|onas n|tcrcd
thc tapcdvoiccs in such away that thc tapcd and |ivc voiccs
forcachsubj cctwcrc vcrysimi|arcvcrwork.
Vhy was|onas so intcrcstcd in chcckingwhcthcrthc hu-
man mirror ncuron arcas arc activatcd in sc|f-rccognition
tasks invo|ving both facc and voice ? Kcca|| that mirror ncu-
rons in monkcysrcspond to sounds÷inthc cxpcrimcnts dc-
scribcd in chaptcr I , thcsc wcrc "action sounds" associatcd
withobscrvcd actions, such as tcaringopcn a pcanut, ripping
a piccc ofpapcr. Ìn chaptcr 3 Ì havc discusscd thc ana|ogous
rcsu|ts inbrain imaging cxpcrimcnts with humans, as wc|| as
othcr cxpcrimcnts dcmonstrating that humans show mirror-
ing phcnomcna with rcgard to speech sounds. C|car|y, thcn,
¡
§}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
thcsc m|rrorncuronarcasarc mu|t|moda|,rcspond|ngtoboth
v|sua| and aud|tory st|mu|at|on, and wc wou|d thcrcforc cx-
pcctthatthcspcc|ncm|rrorncuronarcasact|vatcddur|ngLu-
c|na`s sc|f-rccogn|t|on cxpcr|mcnt w|th photographs shou|d
a|so act|vatc dur|ng |onas's c|osc|y para||c| cxpcr|mcnt w|th
vo|ccs. Jhc|r "fa||urc"todoso|n|onas`scxpcr|mcntwou|d bc
d|mcu|t to rcconc||c w|th thc hypothcs|s of a ro|c of m|rror
ncurons |nsc|f-rccogn|t|on.
Ì amp|cascd torcportthatthcrcwas no suchfa||urc. Jhc
samcarcasthatact|vatcdfor thcp|cturcs ofthc subj ccts a|so
act|vatcd for thc|r vo|ccs, dcmonstrat|ngthat m|rrorncurons
codc for mu|t|p|c "sc|f-rc|atcd" st|mu||, connrm|ng thc|r |m-
portancc forsc|f-rccogn|t|on ( and a rathcr abstract rcprcscn-
tat|onofthc sc|fat that) .
T WO S I DE S OF T HE S A ME COIN
Vchavc sccn from an|ma| stud|cs that thc dcvc|opmcntofa
scnsc ofsc|f |sfac|||tatcdby r|ch soc|a|contcxts. Ìrom dcvc|-
opmcnta| stud|cs, wc havc sccn that sc|f-awarcncss corrc-
sponds dcvc|opmcnta||y w|th forms of soc|a| bchav|or, hom
|m|tat|ngothcrstocxprcss|ngsoc|a||yor|cntcd cmot|onssuch
as cmbarrassmcnt. Ì|na||y, wc havcj ust sccn that arcas ofthc
human bra|n known to havc m|rror ncuron propcrt|cs arc
act|vatcd |n sc|f-rccogn|t|on tasks |nvo|v|ng both facc and
vo|cc, and that thc trans|cnt d|srupt|on of thc|r act|v|ty by
JM5 |nduccs sc|f-rccogn|t|on dcnc|ts. ^|| thcsc data, to-
gcthcr w|th thc thcorct|ca| cons|dcrat|ons d|scusscd at thc
¡ §4
F A C I N G Y O U RS E L F
bcg|nn|ng of thc chaptcr, suggcst that m|rror ncurons arc
|mportant for my two-s|dcs-of-a-co|n ana|ogy, |n wh|ch onc
s|dc |sthc sc|f, thc othcr s|dc, wc||,thc othcr.
Jhc attcmpt to scparatc thc two s|dcs ofa co|n makcs ||t-
t|c scnsc. Cnccndsup w|th not a co|n, but a worth|cssp|ccc
of mcta|. Lnfortunatc|y, Vcstcm cu|turc |s dom|natcd by
an |nd|v|dua||st|c, so||ps|st|c framcwork that has takcn for
grantcd thc assumpt|onofacomp|ctcscparat|onbctwccnsc|f
and othcr. Vc arc cntrcnchcd|nth|s |dca thatany suggcst|on
ofan |ntcrdcpcndcncc of sc|f and othcr may sound not j ust
countcr|ntu|t|vc to us, but d|fncu|t, |fnot |mposs|b|c, to ac-
ccpt. ^ga|nstth|sdom|nantv|cw, m|rrorncuronsputthc sc|f
and thc othcr back togcthcr aga|n. Jhc|r ncura| act|v|ty rc-
m|ndsusofthcpmry |ntcrsubj cct|v|ty, ' ºwh|ch|s,ofcoursc,
thccar|y |ntcract|vc capac|t|cs ofbab|csd|sp|aycd and dcvc|-
opcd|nmothcr-babyandfathcr-baby|ntcract|ons.^rcm|rror
ncurons formcd dur|ng and shapcd by th|s pr|mary |ntcrsub-
j cct|v|ty' Ì bc||cvc so. ^|though |t |s ||kcly that somc m|rror
ncurons arc funct|on|ng vcry car|y |n ||fc and fac|||tatc thc
car||cst |ntcract|ons, Ì bc||cvc that mostofour m|rrorncuron
systcm|sactua||yformcddur|ngthcmonthsandycarsofsuch
|ntcract|ons. Jhc shap|ng of m|rror ncurons |n thc baby's
bra|n |s cspcc|a||y ||kc|y to happcn dur|ng rcc|proca| |m|ta-
t|on, as wcsaw |nthc cons|dcrat|on ofsm|||ng. Ìfm|rrorncu-
rons arc actua||y shapcd |n our bra|n by thc coord|natcd
act|v|t|cs ofmothcr and fathcrandbaby, thcn thesc ccl|s not
on|y cmbody both sc|fand othcr, but start do|ng so at a t|mc
whcn thc baby has morc of an und|ncrcnt|atcd scnsc of us
( mothcr-baby or fathcr-baby) than any scnsc ofan |ndcpcn-
¡
§§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
dcntself, bcforc thc babycanpassthcm|rrorrccogn|t|ontcst.
Ìrom th|s pr|mary "us, " howcvcr, thc baby s|ow|y but surc|y
comcs to pcrcc|vc thc othcrnatura||y and d|rcct|y, and obv|-
ous|yw|thoutanycomp|cx|nfcrcncc, |tprocccdstocarvcout
apropcrscnscofsc|fandothcr. Ìow'V|ththchc|pofaspc-
c|a|typc ofm|rror ncurons, wh|ch Ì ca||cd supcr m|rror ncu-
rons.Vc`l||ook|ntothcsccc||s|nchaptcr/.Jhroughout||fc,
thcn, thc act|v|ty ofm|rrorncurons cont|nucs to bc thc ncu-
ra| s|gnaturc ofth|s scnsc ofus to wh|ch both sc|fand othcr
bc|ong.
B roken Mi r rors
B A B Y MIRRORS
s Ì notcd |n thc nrst pagcs of th|s book, a ma|n rcason
C|acomo K|::o|att| and h|s co||cagucs |n Ìarma bcgan
thc|r cxpcr|mcnts on thc ncurophys|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms for
motor contro| |n thc macaquc monkcys was thc hopc that
thc|r rcscarch wou|d cvcntua||y |cad to brcakthroughs that
cou|d hc|p humans rccovcr motor funct|ons aftcrbra|n dam-
agc. Jhcywcrc nc|thcr |ook|ngfornorcxpcct|ng tonnd m|r-
ror ncurons. But nnd thcm thcy d|d, and thc|r d|scovcry has
opcncd up a who|c ncw rca|m of hopc. ^s thc cv|dcncc
mountcdforthc ro|c ofm|rrorncurons |n soc|a| |carn|ngand
soc|a| bchav|or, onc ofthc grcat drcams wc a|| bcgan to |n-
du|gc |n was that our rcscarch wou|d tcach us morc about
soc|a| d|sordcrs, such as aut|sm, w|th cncct|vc trcatmcnts to
fo||ow.
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Lndcrstand|ng how thc m|rror ncuron systcm dcvc|ops
car|y |n ||fc |s obv|ous|yvcry|mportant|n rc|at|on to aut|sm,
a d|sordcr ancct|ng rough|y onc out ofa thousand ch||drcn.
^ut|sm |s d|agnoscd w|th|n thc sccond ycar of ||fc, as thc
ch||d bcg|nstoshow scvcrc dcnc|ts|nsoc|a|rc|at|ons. 5cvcra|
|abs arc cxp|or|ng thc hypothcs|s that a dysfunct|on of thc
m|rrorncuronsystcm |s rcspons|b|c for aut|sm, and somc sc|-
cnt|sts arc a|rcady cxp|or|ng thc |mp||cat|ons for trcatmcnt.
Cnc ofthc obv|ous stratcg|cs suggcstcdby thc m|rror ncuron
hypothcs|s |s thc usc of|m|tat|on |n trcatmcnt. Ìndccd, thcrc
arc a|rcadysc|cnt|ncrcports show|ngsomcbcncnc|a|cffcctsof
|m|tat|on-bascd trcatmcnts of ch||drcn w|th aut|sm. Jh|s |s
vcrycxc|t|ng÷and Ì gucss|t|swhyÌ amgctt|ngahcadofmy-
sc|f. I|rst Ì shou|d cxp|a|n what wc know÷or at |cast spccu-
|atc, s|ncc thcrc arc not a |ot of cmp|r|ca| data yct÷about
m|rror ncurons |n typ|ca| dcvc|opmcnt, thcn d|scuss thc data
suggcst|ng a dysfunct|on of m|rror ncurons |n aut|sm, and
nna||y|ookatthc promis|ngncwtrcatmcnts.
Vc saw |n chaptcr Z that |nfants can |m|tatc somc rud|-
mcntaryfac|a|andhand movcmcnts. Jh|scapac|tyfor |m|ta-
t|on |s probab|y supportcd by m|rror ncurons. Cbv|ous|y, wc
donothavc ( andprcsumab|yw||| ncvcrhavc) d|rcct obscrva-
t|on of s|ng|c-cc|| act|v|ty |n human |nfants to provc thc
po|nt, but somc bra|n |mag|ng data havc rcccnt|y cmcrgcd
that support thc cx|stcncc ofa m|rror ncuron systcm |n thc
|nfant bra|n. Jhc two ma|n tcchno|og|cs, fKÌ and JM5,
cmp|oycd|nthc|abatLCL^wcrcnotdcs|gncdw|th |nfants
|n m|nd, and |t |s d|mcu|t to obta|n good cxpcr|mcnta| data
whcnthcsctcchn|qucsarcapp||cdtobab|cs. Ìthasbccntr|cd,
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
but not vcry succcssfu||y. Ìowcvcr, ccrta|n "opt|ca| |mag|ng"
tcchn|qucsarc wc|| su|tcdforthc|nfantbra|nbccauscthcydo
not rcqu|rc thc subj cct to ||c st||| wh||c |ns|dc a |argc ma-
ch|nc.
Jhcma|n |dca hcrc |ss|mp|c. Vhcnwcd|rcct||ghttoward
any obj cct, somc ofthc ||ght |sabsorbcd, somc |srcncctcd. Ìn
thc casc ofthcbra|n, thcphys|o|og|ca|proccsscs|nthc act|vc
bra|nactua||ychangcthcamountofthc ||ghtthat|sabsorbcd
or rcncctcd. By mcasur|ng thcsc changcs, opt|ca| bra|n |m-
agcrs can mcasurc bra|n act|v|ty wh||c thc subj cct÷cvcn an
|nfant÷|s pcrform|ng thc task ca||cd for by thc cxpcr|mcnt.
Cncofthcsctcchn|qucs|sncar|nfrarcdspcctroscopy(ÞÌK5) ,
wh|chuscs||ghtthat| s ncar|nfrarcdtostudybra|nact|v|ty|n
bab|cs |n h|gh|y natura||st|c sctt|ngs. Ìn onc rcccnt cxpcr|-
mcnt, two |apancsc bra|n |magcrs uscd ÞÌK5 to study bra|n
act|v|ty |n |nfants j usts|xandscvcnmonthso|d.' Jhcprobcs
cm|tt|ng and dctcct|ng thc ||ght ( ca||cd optodcs) wcrc nttcd
on thc hcad ofthc w||||ng but unw|tt|ng subj cct us|ng a soft
hcadbandandaspcc|a|ho|dcrmadc spcc|nca||yfor thccxpcr-
|mcnt. ^parcntwasonhandho|d|ngthc |nfantonh|sorhcr
|ap. V|th cvcryth|ng rcady to go, thc cxpcr|mcntcrs v|dco-
tapcd thc |nfants` movcmcnts wh||c thcy p|aycd w|th toys.
5ubscqucnt|y, thcy comparcd act|v|ty |n thc bra|n dur|ng pc-
r|ods|nwh|chthcbab|csmovcda |ot aga|nst act|v|ty dur|ng
pcr|ods of rc|at|vc|y ||tt|c movcmcnt. Jh|s compar|son to|d
thcmwh|charcasofrhc |nfants`bra|nswcrc motorarcas.Ls-
|ngth|s|nformat|on,thcythcnp|accdscvcra|optodcsd|rcct|y
ovcr thcsc motor arcas to dctcrm|nc whcthcr or not thcy
wou|d bc act|vatcd whcn thc |nfants watchcd somcbody c|sc
¡
§ V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
mak|ng an act|on. Ìfthcsc motorarcas wcrc a|so act|vc wh||c
thcbab|cswcrcs|mp|ywatch|ngthcact|onsofsomcbodyc|sc,
thcnthatbra|nact|v|tywasmost||kc|yductom|rrorncurons.
Ìnth|s obscrvat|on-on|y phasc ofthc cxpcr|mcnt, thc ba-
b|cs watchcd thrcc d|ncrcnt movcmcnts. a woman p|ay|ng
w|th a toy, a toy mov|ng "by |tsc|f " (w|th thc cxpcr|mcntcr
us|nga|ongcordforman|pu|at|on) , andaba||sw|ng|ng||kca
pcndu|um (fo||ow|ngphys|ca||aws, s|ncc |twashang|ngfrom
thc cc|||ng) . 5omc bab|cswatchcd thcsc cxpcr|mcnta| cond|-
t|ons||vc, othcrswatchcdthcsamccond|t|onsthroughatc|c-
v|s|on mon|tor. Jhcspcctroscopy cqu|pmcntwas ro|||ng, and
thc cxpcr|mcntcrs wcrc a|so track|ng thc movcmcnts of thc
bab|cs as thcywatchcd thc sccncs. Ìn thc|r subscqucnt ana|y-
s|s, thc bra|n|magcrsd|dnotana|y:c pcr|ods ofcxccss|vcmo-
t|onofthcbab|cs, andwhcnthcycomparcdthccxpcr|mcnta|
cond|t|ons aga|nst cach othcr, thcy took carc |n compar|ng
on|y thosc pcr|ods |n wh|ch cach subj cct was cxh|b|t|ng
rough|y cqu|va|cnt movcmcnt ofh|s or hcr own. Jhc sc|cn-
t|sts a|so contro||cd for attcnt|on, sc|cct|ng thosc scqucnccs
whcn a g|vcn baby was pay|ng attcnt|on and watch|ng thc
st|mu|| throughout thc cxpcr|mcnt. Cbv|ous|y, somc ofthcsc
s|x- orscvcn-month-o|dsubj cctsd|dnotmanagc to comp|ctc
a|| phascs ofthc cxpcr|mcnt. Ìowcvcr, about two-th|rds d|d,
andthcrcsu|tswcrcvcry|nstruct|vc. Jhcmotorarcasofthc
bab|cs` bra|ns wcrc act|vatcd whcn thcy watchcd thc woman
p|ay|ng w|th thc toy, but not whcn thcy watchcd thc toy
mov|ng|ndcpcndcnt|y÷c|car|ya suggcst|on (a strongsuggcs-
t|on) that m|rror ncurons arc funct|on|ng wc|| |n young |n-
fants. Ìurthcrmorc, thc act|vat|on |n thcsc motor arcas was
¡ Ó0
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
h|ghcrwhcn thc bab|cs wcrc watch|ng ||vc act|ons comparcd
w|th act|ons d|sp|aycd by a mon|tor. Jh|s |s a c|ass|c nnd|ng
|n m|rror ncuron rcscarch. Kcmcmbcr that |n monkcys thcrc
|s a strong d|schargc |n m|rror ncurons whcn obscrv|ng ||vc
act|on, but pract|ca||y no rcsponsc whcn v|cw|ng thc samc
sccnconacomputcrmon|tor. Ìnhumans,m|rrorncuronarcas
do rcspond to act|ons d|sp|aycd by thc mon|tor, but not as
strong|yasfor||vcact|ons.Jhcnnd|ngsofthc|apancscÞÌK5
studywcrc r|ght |n ||nc.
Þow wc tum to bab|csonc ycar o|d, but |n a d|ncrcntcx-
pcr|mcnta|dcs|gn.Jo undcrstandth|ssctup, wcnccdtoknow
thatwhcnwc adu|ts watch othcrs mov|ng obj ccts÷say, p|ac-
|ng toys |nto a buckct÷our cycs ant|c|patc whcrc thc toys
w||| bc p|accd. Vc |ook at the buckct before thc obscrvcd
handw|ththctoyrcachcs|t.Jh|sab|||tyto"prcd|ct"w|thour
cycs whcrc obj ccts w||| bc p|accd by othcr pcop|c probab|y
comcs from our m|rror systcm. Vhy' Vhcn wc movc thosc
obj ccts oursc|vcs, our cycs do thc samc th|ng. wc |ook at thc
buckct bcforc our hand p|accs thc toys |n thc buckct, ant|c|-
pat|ng ourown act|ons. 'Ìnfants s|xmonths o|d do not ant|c-
|patc w|th thc|r ga:c whcrc somcbody c|sc`s hand |s go|ng to
p|acc thc toy. Ìn sharp contrast, ycar-o|d bab|cs do th|s as |f
thcy wcrc adu|ts. ^ga|n, th|s ab|||ty probab|y or|g|natcs from
m|rror ncurons. Ìf thc toy |s sccm|ng|y sc|f-propc||cd, thanks
to an cxpcr|mcnta| tr|ck, thc ycar-o|d bab|cs cannot ant|c|-
patc w|th thc|r ga:c whcrc thc toy w||| bc p|accd. ( L|kcw|sc
adu|ts ' Vatch|nga sc|f-propc||cd toy hcad|ngfor thc buckct,
wcdonotant|c|patcw|thourga:cwhcrc |tw|||cndup. 'Cur
undcrstand|ng of m|rror ncurons prcd|cts th|s "d|scrcpancy."
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Vith thc hand ho|ding thc toy, mirror ncurons can codc for
intcntion,without thc hand in thc picturc, thcycannot. )
^t six monthsofagc, wc cannot prcdictwhcrc thchandis
taking thc toy. ^t onc ycar, wc can. C|car|y, mirror ncurons
lar to prcdict thc actions ofothcr pcop|c. Jhis abi|ity was
notprcscntatbirth. Jhis isanothcrcxamp|cofhow thc mir-
rorncuronsystcmmaybcshapcdbycxpcricncc.
T HE T E E N B RA I N
Ìfthc mirror ncuron systcm is vcry important in car|y chi|d-
hood dcvc|opmcnt, what a ro|c it must p|ay for o|dcr chi|-
drcn' Civcn that it is such an important ncura| systcm for
socia|bchavior, how cou|d it bc |cssthancritica|askidsmovc
toward thcirtccnagc ycars, whcn thc who|c of|ifc somctimcs
sccms to bcprcttymuchdcnncdthroughsocia|nctworks and
bchavior. Ìt is thcrcforc critica| to map thc who|c dcvc|op-
mcnta| traj cctory, inc|udingino|dcrchi|drcn.
ÌnMontrca|,agroup|cdbyÌugoJhéorctatthcMontrca|
Þcuro|ogica| Ìnstitutc iscurrcnt|yusingc|cctrocnccpha|ogra-
phy to study thc mirror ncuron systcm in o|dcr kids. Vith
LLC, c|cctrodcs p|accd ovcr thc sca|p ofthc subj ccts rccord
thce|cctrica|activitycmanatingfromthcsurfaccofthcbrain.
Lsing this tcchno|ogy to |ook at mirror ncuron activity
spccinca||y, Jhéorct and his co||cagucs wcrc monitoring
somcthing ca||cd mu rhythm. Ìn simp|cst tcrms, thc mu
rhythm is thc cxprcssion ofosci||atory c|cctrica| activity that
can bc rccordcd ovcr thc ccntra| motor rcgions ofthc brain.
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
Vhcn wc movc our hands, say, thc mu rhythm |s reduced, or
"supprcsscd, " |n thc j argonofncurosc|cncc. Jh|s |nvcrsc cor-
rc|at|on bctwccn thc mu rhythm and motor act|v|ty |n thc
bra|n comcs |n vcry handy for ncurosc|cnt|sts. Mu rhythm
supprcss|on |s a c|car |ndcx of motor act|v|ty |n thc bra|n.
Þow,whatshou|dhappcntothcmurhythmwhcnwcj ustob-
scrvc thc movcmcnts of othcrs ' V|thout know|cdgc of thc
m|rror ncuron systcm, wc m|ght bc |nc||ncd to prcd|ct that
thc mu rhythm wou|d not bc supprcsscd. Vc`rc not mov|ng,
aftcr a||. But g|vcn our know|cdgc ofm|rror ncurons, wc arc
not surpr|scd to |cam that, |ndccd, s|mp|y watch|ng othcr
pcop|cpcrform act|ons a|so supprcsscs thc mu rhythm |n thc
bra|n.
Jh|s phcnomcnon had bccn d|scovcrcd somcycarscar||cr
by K||tta Ìar| and C|acomo K|::o|att|, us|ng yct anothcr
bra|n |mag|ng tcchn|quc, magnctocnccpha|ography ( MLC) .
Vh||c JM5 uscs thc coppcr co|| to |nducc an art|nc|a| mag-
nct|cnc|dto work |tsmag|c,MLCuscsan |mprcss|vcarrayof
approx|matc|y thrcc hundrcd scnsors to p|ck up thc much
|owcr ( |nnn|tcs|ma||y |ow, rca||y) magnct|c nc|ds that arc
spontancous|ycrcatcdonthc surfacc ofthcbra|nbythcc|cc-
tr|ca| act|v|ty thcrc|n. Jhc dctcctcd magnct|c nc|ds arc
most|ycrcatcdbythcact|vityofncuronsonthc bumps onthc
surfacc ofthc bra|n ca||cd gyr|. ^ct|v|ty from thc nssurcs of
thc bra|n ( thc su|c| ) |s morc d|mcu|t to mcasurc w|th MLC.
Ìowcvcr, |trcma|ns a maj orbra|n|mag|ngtcchn|quc, pr|ma-
r||y bccausc |ts vcry h|gh tcmpora| rcso|ut|on a||ows MLC
spcc|a||ststod|scr|m|natcncura|rcsponscsonthcordcroffcw
m||||scconds.Lctmcgivc you an cxamp|c. Vhcnwc hcar thc
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
tclcphonc r|ng|ng and wc wa|k toward |t, thc arcas of our
bra|n that rcspond to sounds act|vatc bcforc thc arcas that
contro| wa|k|ng. By us|ng MLC to |ook at thc tcmpora| pro-
grcss|on of act|vat|on |n d|ncrcnt bra|n arcas, thc spcc|a|-
|st can ngurc out thc commun|cat|on go|ng back and forth
bctwccnbra|n arcas.
Iar|andK|::o|att|`s d|scovcry thatthcmu rhythm |s sup-
prcsscdbothwhcnwcmakc anact|onandwhcnwcsccsomc-
bodyc|scdo|ngsogavcusyctanothcr|mportantb|omarkcrof
m|rror ncuron act|v|ty |n thc human bra|n.' Ìo||ow|ng thc|r
cxpcr|mcnt, Iugo Jhéorct and |can-Ìranço|s Lcpagc gcarcd
up to study mu rhythm supprcss|on |n norma|, hca|thy ch||-
drcn bctwccn four and c|cvcn ycars o|d. Ìor thcsc cxpcr|-
mcnts, thc ch||drcn c|thcr graspcd an obj cct or obscrvcd
somcbody c|sc grasp|ng thc samc obj cct. Ls|ng LLC, Lcpagc
andJhéorctfound musupprcss|ondur|ngboththc cxccut|on
andthcmcrcobscrvat|onofthcgrasp|ngact|on, thusdcmon-
strat|ngwhat no onc doubtcd. funct|on|ng m|rrorncurons |n
o|dcr ch||drcn. ( 5h|r|cy Ìcctcau, a studcnt ofJhéorct`s, a|so
hadthcopportun|tyto study thc LLC act|v|ty ofthc ccntra|
motor arcas ofa thrcc-ycar-o|d cp||cpt|c ch||d, and mu sup-
prcss|onwasrccordcdforbothact|onandobscrvat|on, |nth|s
casc draw|ng ap|cturc. ) ^ kcy qucst|on thcsc stud|cs d|dnot
addrcss, howcvcr, |s how c|osc|y thc m|rror ncuron systcm |s
rc|atcdtothcsoc|a|compctcnccandcmpathyofthcch||drcn.
Ìnvcst|gat|ng th|s qucst|on at LCL^, wc havc choscn to
|ookatprobab|ythc mosttumu|tuouspcr|od|nhumandcvc|-
opmcnt÷that |s, ado|csccncc. ( Ì `vc mcnt|oncd that Ì am thc
parcnt ofanc|cvcn-ycar-o|dg|r|. Ì` mtry|ng tostcc| mysc|ffor
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
thc ncxt fcw ycars . ) Ì n thc |ab, wc havc rccru|tcd a |argc
group ofprcpubcsccnt ch||drcn, and wc p|an to fo||ow thcm
( not||tcra||y, butw|th our |mag|ng cqu|pmcnt) unt|| thcy arc
nftccn. Jh|s |ong|tud|na| study |scurrcnt|yundcrway, but thc
nrstv|s|tofthcsc ch||drcnhas a|rcady bccn comp|ctcd, sowc
havc bccn ab|c to |ook at how act|v|ty |n thc m|rror ncuron
systcm oftyp|ca||ydcvc|op|ng tcn-ycar-o|d ch||drcn |s rc|atcd
to thc|r soc|a| compctcncc. Jh|s part|cu|ar study was |cd by
M|rc||a Laprctto, a dcvc|opmcnta| psycho|og|stcxpcrt |n pc-
d|atr|cbra|n|mag|ngandaut|smwho a|sohappcns to bc my
w|fc.
Ìorth|snrststudy, M|rc||auscdfMKÌfora soc|a| m|rror|ng
task that rcqu|rcd thc ch||drcn to obscrvc and |m|tatc fac|a|
cmot|ona| cxprcss|ons. Kcca|| from chaptcr 1 that wc uscd
th|s samc task |nvo|v|ng fac|a| cxprcss|ons to |nvcst|gatc thc
funct|ona| ||nk bctwccn thc m|rror ncuron systcm and thc
cmot|ona| bra|n ccntcrs |n thc ||mb|c systcm ( thc ||nk pro-
v|dcdby thc |nsu|a, as |ttums out ) . Kathcrthans|mp|y |ook
at thc m|rror ncuron systcm, as thc stud|cs w|th thc youngcr
ch||drcn had a|rcady donc, M|rc||a wantcd to |ook at thcsc
samc mnct|ona| conncct|ons bctwccn thc m|rror ncuron sys-
tcm and thc cmot|ona| bra|n ccntcrs, conncct|ons that prc-
sumab|y a||ow soc|a| m|rror|ng and thc undcrstand|ng ofthc
cmot|ona|statcsofothcrpcop|c, thusfac|||tat|ngcmpathy.
Jotcsthcrhypothcs|s, M|rc||aacqu|rcdbra|n|mag|ngdata
onthc ch||drcnand a|so asscsscdthc|rcmpath|c ab|||t|csand
thc|r |ntcrpcrsona| compctcncc. 5hc mcasurcd thc cmpath|c
ab|||t|csw|ththcÌntcrpcrsona|Kcact|v|ty Ìndcx, awc||-tcstcd
sca|c composcd of four subsca|cs, two mcasur|ng cogn|t|vc
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cmpathy, thc othcr two cmot|ona| cmpathy. Jhc cogn|t|vc
cmpathy sca|cs asscss thc ab|||ty to |mag|nc anothcrpcrson`s
pcrspcct|vcandthc tcndcncyto |mag|nc oncsc|f|n thc p|acc
ofhct|ona| charactcrs. Jhc cmot|ona| cmpathy sca|cs asscss
thc tcndcncy to bc conccmcdfor thc cmot|onsofothcrsand
thc cmot|ona| rcsponsc whcnwatch|ng somconc c|sc fcc||ng
strong cmot|ons. M|rc||a a|so tcstcd thc soc|a| ski||s of thc
ch||drcn w|th thc Ìntcrpcrsona| Compctcncc 5ca|c, a qucs-
t|onna|rc comp|ctcd by thcparcnts. Jh|s sca|c mcasurcshow
"popular" thc ch||d |s, how many fr|cnds and p|aydatcs thc
ch|ld has, andsoon.'
Jhchrstqucst|on M|rc||a wantcd to answcr was whcthcr
thc bra|n ofthc typ|ca| tcn-ycar-o|d shows thc samc pattcm
of act|v|ty as thc adu|t bra|n, |n wh|ch obscrvat|on ofothcr
pcop|c cxprcss|ng fac|a| cmot|ons act|vatcs thrcc kcy ncura|
systcms. hrst,m|rrorncuronarcasthatprov|dcan|nncr|m|ta-
t|on (or s|mu|at|on) of thc obscrvcd fac|a| cxprcss|on, thcn
thc |nsu|a that connccts m|rror ncuron arcas w|th thc cmo-
t|ona|bra|nccntcrs|nthc||mb|csystcm, andhna||y, thc||m-
b|c systcm |tsc|f Lur|ng imitation of fac|a| cxprcss|ons, thc
samcbra|nc|rcu|try|sact|vatcd, butcvcnmorcstrong|y, s|ncc
|m|tat|on"addsup" thc ncura| act|v|ty ofobscrvat|on and ac-
t|on, aswchavc sccn. M|rc||a`sk|dsdcmonstratcdcxact|ythc
samc pattcrn of bra|n act|v|ty prcv|ous|y obscrvcd |n adu|ts.
Þosurpr|sc.
Hcrsccondandmost|mportantqucst|onwaswhcthcrthc
act|v|ty |nthc m|rrorncuronsystcmofthcch||drcncou|d tc||
ussomcth|ngaboutthc|rab|||tytocmpath|:cw|thothcrpco-
p|candtohavca succcssfu|soc|a|||fc.Jo hndthcscanswcrs,
¡ ÓÓ
B R O K E N M I R R O R S
Mirc||a corrc|atcd thc scorcs obtaincd from thc bchaviora|
sca|cs of cmpathy and intcrpcrsona| compctcncc with thc
brain activity mcasurcd with fKÌ. Vhat shc found is com-
pc||ing. Jhc cmotiona| cmpathy scorcs of thc chi|drcn
strong|y corrc|atcd with thc activity in mirror ncuron arcas
during observation offacia| cmotiona| cxprcssions. Jhc morc
thcchi|dwascmotiona||ycmpathic, thcmorcthcmirrorncu-
ron arcas wou|dnrc up whi|c thc chi|dwatchcd othcr pcop|c
cxprcssing thcir cmotions. Ìurthcrmorc, thc intcrpcrsona|
compctcncc ofthc chi|drcn was a|so strong|y corrc|atcd with
thc activity in mirror ncuron arcas during imitation of facia|
cmotiona| cxprcssions. Kids who wcrc rcportcd to bc socia||y
compctcnt÷had |ots of fricnds and p|aydatcs÷a|so dcmon-
stratcd mirror ncuron arcas that wou|d activatc strong|y dur-
ing imitation. º
5tudying thcsc rcsu|ts, Mirc||arca|i:cdhow critica| mirror
ncurons arc for socia| bchavior. By simp|y |ooking at thc ac-
tivityofmirrorncurons,aninvcstigatorcanhavcagoodgrasp
ofthc socia| abi|itics ofthc subj cct. Ìt is as ifthc activity of
mirror ncurons is somc kind of biomarkcr of human socia|
compctcncc÷and avcrynuanccdbiomarkcrat that,bccausc
cmotiona| cmpathy, thc abi|ity to rcsonatc cmotiona||y with
othcrs, is most|y a privatc cxpcricncc. Ìr makcs scnsc that
Mirc||a found thc corrc|ation bctwccn cmotiona| cmpathy
and brain activity whi|c chi|drcnwcrcsimp|yobscrvingothcr
pcop|c`scmotions.Likcwiscthc tcndcncy to ovcrt|ymimic thc
cmotiona|cxprcssionsofothcrs isan importantcomponcntof
succcssfu| socia| intcractions. Ìfyoudisp|ay intcnsc happincss
ordccpsorrowandothcrsrcspondwith a stonc facc, you fcc|
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
m|sundcrstood. Kcc|proca|m|m|cry, aswchavcsccn|nchap-
tcr1, |sakcyaspcctofsoc|a| |ntcract|on.Jhus |tmakcsscnsc
thatM|rc||aa|sofoundthccorrc|at|onbctwccnm|rrorncuron
act|v|tydur|ngovcrt|m|tat|onofcmot|ona|fac|a|cxprcss|ons
and|ntcrpcrsona|compctcncc.
Ìcrrcsu|tsw|ththcscch||drcnshowushowthcb|o|ogyof
thc m|rrorncuron systcm |s 8 comcrstonc |nshap|ngourcm-
path|c sk|||s and our |ntcrpcrsona| compctcncc car|y |n ||fc.
But what |f thc dcvc|opmcnt ofthc m|rror ncuron systcm |s
somchowa|tcrcdord|sruptcd'
I MI T AT ION AND AU T I S M
5c|cnt|hcrcportson|m|tat|ondchc|ts|nch||drcnw|thaut|sm
datc at lcast to thc I º50s. 'Ìowcvcr, for dccadcssuchdcnc|ts
wcrc not cons|dcrcd |mportant for undcrstand|ng thc funda-
mcntal causc of aut|sm, ma|n|y bccausc thc "thcory thcory"
hcldsway, athrst |mpl|c|t|y, thcncxp||c|t|y|nthc I ºo0s.^s Ì
cxpla|ncd|nchaptcr Z, th|s modc|c|a|msthatch||drcnundcr-
stand thc bc||cfs and dcs|rcs of othcr pcop|c bccausc thcy
havc an |nnatc modu|c |n thc|r bra|n that hc|ps thcm con-
struct thcor|cs about othcrpcop|c, as |fk|ds wcrc ||tt|c sc|cn-
t|ststcst|ng thc|rhypothcscsonothcrs. ºLndcrthcorythcory,
dysfunct|on |n thc hypothcs|:cd modu|c |n thc bra|n wou|d
rcsult |n thc sort of dchc|ts dcmonstratcd by ch||drcn w|th
aut|sm, whogcncra||yfa||whatwcca||thcfa|scbc||cftcst. Ìn
th|stcst, ch||drcnarcshownal|tt|cstory|nvo|v|ng^nncand
¡ Ó0
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
5a||y.Jhcscch||drcnarc typ|ca||y|mpcrsonatcdc|thcrbypup-
pcts orby rca| pcop|c. 5a||y and ^nnc arc |n thc samc room.
5a||y puts hcr ba|| |n a baskct and covcrs |t. Vhcn 5a||y
|cavcsthc room,^nncmovcs5a||y`sba||fromthcbaskctto a
ncarby box. ^t th|s po|nt thc subj cct ch||drcn arc askcd.
Vhcrc w||| 5a||y |ookforhcr ba|| whcn shc comcs back' Jo
answcrcorrcct|y, thc ch||dmust rca||:c that 5a||y d|d not scc
^nncmov|ngthcba||andthcrcforcho|dsthcfa|scbc||cfthat
thc ba|| |s st||| |n thc baskct. Jhc ch||d who says that 5a||y
w||| |ook for thc ba|| |n thc box c|car|y fa||s to scc thc s|tua-
t|onfrom5a||y`spcrspcct|vc. 5uchdcnc|tswcrccons|dcrcdby
"thcory thcor|sts" thc pr|mary lactor |n thc soc|a| bchav|or
prob|cmsofaut|st|cs. Jh|s |dcarcachcd |tspcakpopu|ar|ty |n
thc nc|d |n thc car|y I ºº0sorso, cvcnthough|thad onc s|g-
n|ncant prob|cm. aut|sm was gcncra|ly d|agnoscd bctwccn
two and thrcc ycars ofagc ( nowcvcn car||cr' ) , whcrcas cvcn
typ|ca||y dcvc|op|ng ch||drcn do not cons|stcnt|y pass thc
fa|scbc||cftcstunt||thcyarc aboutfour. Ìftwo-ycar-o|dsw|th
an without aut|smcannotpassthc fa|scbc||cftcst, Ì wou|dar-
guc that |tcanhard|ybccons|dcrcd a spcc|nc tcstforaut|sm.
^tthct|mc÷thccar|y I ºº0s÷|m|tat|ondcnc|tswcrcnot
cons|dcrcd a pr|mary dcnc|t and wcrc, accord|ng|y, undcr-
stud|cd.Jhcywcrc not, howcvcr, |gnorcdbycvcryonc. 5w|m-
m|ng aga|nst a strong t|dc, 5a||y Kogcrs and hcr co||caguc
Brucc Ìcnn|ngton at thc Ln|vcrs|ty ofCo|orado Hca|th 5c|-
cnccs Ccntcr suggcstcd that |m|tat|on dcnc|ts |n ch||drcn
w|thaut|smhadtobc stud|cdmuchmorcthorough|y, bccausc
thcycou|dbc thc kcyto thc soc|a| dcnc|tsotaut|sm. ' Jo th|s
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
day Ì am fasc|natcd that thcy had such a grcat |ns|ght at a
t|mc whcn h|gh|y "mcnta||st|c" ( that |s, cogn|t|vc) cxp|ana-
t|ons wcrc a|| thc ragc, and |ntcrcst |n thc|r |dca has |n-
crcascd,pcrhapsbccausc thc |m|tat|ondcnc|ts |n aut|st|csarc
qu|tcv|s|b|c. Ìm|tat|on,howcvcr,takcsmanyforms.Vas|m|-
tat|on |n ch||drcn w|th aut|sm |mpa|rcd across thc board'
Ìctcr Ìobson at thc Ln|vcrs|ty Co||cgc, London, d|d not
th|nkso.
V|thh|s co||caguc Jony Lcc, Ìobsondcc|dcd to tcst thc
hypothcs|s that ch||drcn w|th aut|sm |m|tatc othcr pcop|c
poor|ybccauscthcycannot"|dcnt|p"w|ththoscothcrs. Jh|s
hypothcs|s was |nsp|rcd|n tum by a scr|cs ofprcv|ousstud|cs
Ìobson had pcrformcd, a|| cha||cng|ng thc dom|nant v|cw
thatthccorcprob|cmsofpat|cntsw|thaut|smarcfa||urcsofa
hypcrrat|ona| thcory of m|nd modu|c. Ìc argucd that thc
ma|ndcnc|t wascmot|ona|.Jo makch|scasc, Ìobson andh|s
co||caguc |anc Vccks had dcv|scd a vcry s|mp|c cxpcr|mcnt
totcstwhcthcrch||drcnw|thaut|smandtyp|ca||ydcvc|op|ng
ch||drcnwou|dnot|ccthcsamcsortsofth|ngsaboutpcop|c.
I O
Jo th|scnd,thcyshowcdthck|dsp|cturcsofc|thcrwomcnor
mcn, wcar|ngc|thcrwoo|cncaps ornoppyhats, and show|ng
c|thcrhappy faccs org|oomyfaccs. Vccks and Ìobson askcd
thc ch||drcn to p|ck one way |n wh|ch thc p|cturcs d|ncrcd
and to sort thcm accord|ng|y |n two boxcs. Cbv|ous|y, thc
ch||drcn cou|d havcd|ffcrcnt|atcdonthc bas|sofgendcr, hat,
orfac|a|cxprcss|on.Ìnthcnrst"round, "boththctyp|ca||ydc-
vc|op|ng ch||drcnand thosc w|th aut|sm uscd gcndcr to sort
thcp|cturcs. ^tth|spo|nt,VccksandÌobsonaskcdthcmto
sort thc picturcs aga|n, w|thout |ook|ngatgcndcr. Ìcrc camc
¡
/
0
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
thc d|ncrcncc, and Ì` msurc you a|rcady know what that d|f-
fcrcncc was. typ|ca||y dcvc|op|ng ch||drcn p|ckcd thc fac|a|
cmot|on as thc sort|ng factor, whcrcas ch||drcn w|th aut|sm
p|ckcd thc hat. Ình|s charm|ng bookThe Cral of Thought,
Ìobson suggcsts that |t |s as |f "ch||drcn w|th aut|smarc a|-
mostb||ndtothcfcc||ngsofothcrs, "as|fthcy"arcnotmovcd
by pcop|c`s fcc||ngs. "' ' 5uch rcsu|ts on|y cncouragcd Ìobson
|nh|sconv|ct|on that cogn|t|on and "thcory" dcnc|ts arc not
thcprob|cmforaut|st|cch||drcn. Jhc prob|cm |s thc m|ss|ng
cmot|ona|conncct|on.
Jcst|ng whcthcr thc |m|tat|on dcnc|ts of ch||drcn w|th
aut|smwcrc a|so duc to thc ch||drcn`s |nab|||ty to "rcsonatc"
cmot|ona||yw|thothcrpcop|c,ÌobsonandLcccamcupw|th
an cxpcr|mcnt|nwh|chch||drcncou|d|m|tatcbothhowpco-
p|caccomp||shcdagoa|andthc"sty|c"w|thwh|chthcycon-
ductcdthcmsc|vcs÷namc|y, |nc|thcragcnt|coraharshway.
Jhcy tcstcd typ|ca||y dcvc|op|ng ch||drcn and ch||drcn w|th
aut|sm,andthcch||drcnwcrc |n|t|a||ynotcvcn to|d thatthcy
wcrcsupposcdto|m|tatcwhatthcywatchcd.Ìnanrstdcmon-
strat|on scss|on, Lcc s|mp|y to|d a|| thc k|ds, "Vatch th|s. "
Jhcnhcpcrformcd s|mp|c act|ons w|th a numbcrofobj ccts.
Ìorcxamp|c, hcstrummcdast|cka|ongap|pcrackorprcsscd
a toy po||ccman, wh|ch thcn movcd a|ong undcr |ts own
stcam. Vhcnus|ng thc st|ckand p|pc rack, hc madc a gracc-
fu| and gcnt|c strumm|ng act|on for ha|fofcach group ( thc
ch|ldrcnw|thaut|smandthctyp|ca||ydcvc|op|ngch||drcn) , a
harshstrumm|ngforthc othcr ha|f. Vhcnhc prcsscd thc po-
||ccmanw|thh|shand, hcuscdc|thcrh|spa|mortwonngcrs.
^ftcr that ||tt|c gamc, for d|vcrs|on`s sakc, thc ch||drcn
¡
/
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
wcrcg|vcna|anguagctcst.JhcnLccshowcdthcch||drcnthc
p|pc rack, thc po||ccman, and othcr toys, and sa|d s|mp|y,
"Lscthcsc. "Vhatd|dthc ch||drcndo' Ìttums outthatboth
typ|ca||y dcvc|op|ng ch||drcn and ch||drcn w|th aut|sm uscd
thctoysto ach|cvcthc samc goa| that Jony Lcc had dcmon-
stratcd |n front of thcm÷for |nstancc, strumm|ng thc st|ck
a|ongthcp|pcrackorprcss|ngthcpo||ccman.Ìowcvcr,wh||c
typ|ca||ydcvc|op|ngch||drcna|so |m|tatcdthc "sty|c"Lcchad
adoptcd |n front of thcm, ch||drcn w|th aut|sm d|d not. Ìt
sccmcdas|fthcch||drcnw|thaut|smwcrc|m|tat|ngthcation
that Jony Lcc had dcmonstratcd, whcrcas typ|ca||y dcvc|op-
|ngch||drcnwcrc|m|tat|ngthcperson, asÌobsonputs |t. ' '
Jhc kcypo|ntthatcmcrgcshomÌobsonand Lcc`s cxpcr-
|mcnts and from othcr stud|cs on |m|tat|on |n ch||drcn w|th
aut|sm|sthatthc mostcr|t|ca||y|mpa|rcdfacu|ty|sthcsoc|a|,
ancct|vcform of|m|tat|on,morc thanthc"cogn|t|vc"formof
|m|tat|on ( wh|ch,bythcway,a|soshowssomc|cvc|of|mpa|r-
mcnt) . Jhc cr|t|ca| |mpa|rmcnt |n pat|cnts w|th aut|sm |s so-
c|a| m|rror|ng, wh|ch |s supportcd by thcncura| |ntcract|ons
bctwccn m|rror ncurons and thc ||mb|c systcm through thc
|nsu|a.Ìowcvcr, thcdatad|scusscdsofaron |m|tat|ondcnc|ts
|n aut|sm |s a|| bchav|ora|. Ìs thcrc morc d|rcct cv|dcncc of
m|rrorncurondysfunct|on|n pat|cnts w|thaut|sm'
T HE MIRROR NE URON HYP OT HE S I S OF AU T I S M
^ fcw ycars ago, two groups of sc|cnt|sts work|ng |ndcpcn-
dcnt|ysuggcstcd that aut|smmay |ndccdbc assoc|atcd

|th a
¡
/
Z
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
dysfunct|on |n thc m|rrorncuron systcm. Cnc group |n 5cot-
|and was |cd by |ust|n V||||ams, an cxpcrt |n aut|sm who
tcamcd up w|th ^ndrcw Vh|tcn, an cxpcrt |n imitativc
bchav|or |n pr|matcs, and w|th Lavc Ìcrrctt, an cxpcrt |n
monkcy ncurophys|o|ogy. Jhc |m|tat|on dcnc|ts obscrvcd |n
ch||drcn w|th aut|sm, thc ncurophys|o|og|ca| propcrt|cs of
m|rror ncurons |n monkcys, and thc bra|n imag|ng cxpcr|-
mcntson|m|tat|onpcrformcdbymyrcscarchgroupatLCL^
|cd thc 5cottish tcam tohypothcs|:cancarlydcvc|opmcnta|
fa||urc of thc m|rror ncuron systcm that wou|d subscqucnt|y
rcsu|t in a cascadc of dcvc|opmcnta| |mpa|rmcnts lcad|ng
to aut|sm. ' ' Cnc of thc|r kcy argumcnts was that |mitat|on
dcnc|tsmay accountfor |atcrdcnc|ts |n "thcory ofm|nd, "bc-
causc both |m|tat|on and thcory of m|nd rcqu|rc thc ch||d
w|th aut|smto trans|atcfromthcpcrspcct|vc ofanothcr |nd|-
v|dua| to onc`s own pcrspcct|vc. Ìfth|s |s thc casc, thcy bc-
||cvcd,thckcyncura|dcnc|t|naut|smwasthcdysfunct|onof
m|rrorncurons.
^t j ust about thc samc t|mc, \i|ayanur Ramachandran
andh|sco||cagucs at thc Ln|vcrs|tyofCa||fom|a, 5an L|cgo,
wcrc |ook|ng at thc mu wavc supprcss|on of ch||drcn w|th
aut|sm watch|ng act|ons of othcr pcop|c. Jhc LLC cxpcr|-
mcnts dcscr|bcd car||cr |n th|s chaptcr dcmonstratcd that
such mu wavc supprcss|on |s cons|dcrcd a good |ndcx ofm|r-
ror ncuron act|v|ty. L|kc|ust|n Vi|l|ams |n 5cot|and, Rama-
chandran dcc|dcd that m|rror ncuron dysfunct|on |s a corc
dcnc|t|naut|smandstartcdtcst|ngh|shypothcs|scmp|r|ca||y.
Jhc group |n 5an L|cgoprcscntcd thc prc||m|nary data from
thc|rLLC cxpcr|mcntsat thc 5oc|ctyforÞcurosc|cncc mcct-
¡
/}
MIRRO RI N G P E O P L E
|ng, thc |argcst gathcr|ng of ncurosc|cnt|sts |n thc who|c
wor|d, |nÞovcmbcrZ000. ' "Jh|swas thcnrstprcscntat|on of
cv|dcnccforthc hypothcs|sofam|rrorncurondysfunct|on|n
aut|sm, and thc convcrgcncc of thcorct|ca| cons|dcrat|ons
and |n|t|a| cmp|r|ca| nnd|ngs |nsp|rcd much morc work on
m|rror ncurons and aut|sm. ^t |cast s|x d|ncrcnt |aborator|cs
us|ng a var|cty of tcchn|qucs for study|ng thc human bra|n
havc rcccnt|yconnrmcddcnc|ts |n m|rrorncuron arcas |n |n-
d|v|dua|sw|th aut|sm.
BROKE N M I RRORI NG
K||tta Ìar|, who was rcspons|b|c w|th C|acomo K|::o|att|for
d|scovcr|ng that thc supprcsscdmurhythmdur|ngact|onand
|ts obscrvat|on |s an |mportant b|omarkcr of m|rror ncuron
act|v|ty, rcccnt|y|ookcdathowbra|nact|v|ty|npat|cntsw|th
^spcrgcr's syndromc, a m||dcr form of aut|sm, d|ncrs from
"thcnorm. "Jhcpat|cntswcrcaskcdto|m|tatcascr|csofs|m-
p|c movcmcnts ofthc mouth andfacc, such as protrus|on of
thc ||ps, opcn|ng of thc mouth, contract|on of thc chcck.
Jhosc movcmcnts arc bas|ca||y mcan|ng|css and do not cx-
prcssanypart|cu|arcmot|ona|statc.
Ì' vc dcscr|bcdhow MLC p|cks up thc t|ny magnct|cnc|ds
surround|ng thchcad thatarccrcatcd by thc c|cctr|ca| act|v-
|ty ofbra|ncc||s. Ìtcan dctcct cvcnts |n thcbra|n on thcor-
dcr ofafcw m||||scconds.Jhat'snot much t|mc at a||, and |t
a||owsusto |nvcst|gatcthcprogrcss|onofact|vat|on|nd|ncr-
¡ /4
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
cnt bra|n arcas over time. Jak|ng advantagc ofth|s cxtrcmc|y
h|gh tcmpora| rcso|ut|on, Ìar| and hcr co||cagucs |ookcd at
thc t|m|ng of act|vat|on |n thc m|rror ncuron systcm and
found that pat|cnts w|th aut|sm act|vatcd substant|a||y thc
samc bra|n arcas as hca|thy vo|untccrs dur|ng thc |m|tat|ons,
[
ut w|th delyed act|vat|on |n thc m|rror ncuron arca of thc
fronta| |obc ( sccngurc I , p. óZ) . ' ' Jhcncura|commun|cat|on
bctwccn thc m|rror ncurons |n thc par|cta| |obc and thosc
|n thc fronta| |obc was s|ugg|sh. Jhc w|r|ng was not work-
|ng propcr|y |n thcsc pat|cnts, crcat|ng prob|cms |n soc|a|
bchav|or.
Jh|s cxpcr|mcnt and othcrs |n d|ffcrcnt |abs and d|ncrcnt
cont|ncnts using d|ncrcnt tcchn|qucs÷comp|ctcd and pub-
||shcd|nsc|cnt|ncj ouma|s|nthc |astfcw ycars÷a||convcrgc
|nsuggcst|ngam|rrorncurondcnc|t |npat|cntsw|thaut|sm. ' º
Ìowcvcr, thcsc stud|cs wcrc mcasur|ng act|v|ty | nthc m|rror
ncuron systcm dur|ng tasks that had no cmot|ona| va|cncc.
Kcca||ÌctcrÌobson`s |dcathat |nd|v|dua|s w|th aut|smhavc
prob|cms w|th |m|tat|on bccausc thcyhavc prob|cms |n |dcn-
t|p|ngw|th othcrpcop|c. ^ dccp|y fc|tm|rror|ng that movcs
pcop|c c|oscr to cach othcr and makcs cmot|ona| conncctcd-
ncss poss|b|c sccms to bc thc ma|n dcnc|t of pat|cnts w|th
aut|sm. Jhc othcr cruc|a| |ssuc that thc raft ofrcccnt stud|cs
|cft uncxp|orcd was thc funct|ona| s|gn|ncancc of a m|rror
ncuron dcnc|t. Þo onc had |nvcst|gatcd whcthcr thc rcduc-
t|on ofm|rror ncuron act|v|ty was at a|| corrc|atcd w|th thc
scvcr|tyofthc |mpa|rmcnt ofcach pat|cnt w|th aut|sm.
My w|fc, M|rc||a Laprctto, dcc|dcd to |nvcst|gatc thcsc
¡

M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
uncxplorcd qucst|ons bybu|ld|ng on hcr |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt
on typ|cally dcvclop|ng ch|ldrcn obscrv|ng and |m|tat|ng
cmot|onal fac|al cxprcss|ons. Ìnthat cxpcr|mcnt, shc d|scov-
crcdthatm|rror ncuron act|v|tydur|ngsuch soc|al m|rror|ng
tasks corrclatcd w|th thc soc|al compctcncc and cmpath|c
conccrn of thc ch|ldrcn. M|rclla thought thcsc samc tasks
would bc |dcal to tcst forsoc|al m|rror|ng dcnc|ts |n aut|st|c
ch|ldrcnow|ngtom|rrorncurondysfunct|on.Mar|an5|gman,
a cl|n|cal psycholog|st at LCL^ who has dcvotcd hcr l|fc to
thc studyofaut|sm, hcadcd thc group thatasscsscdthc scvcr-
|ty ofthc autism |n thosc ch|ldrcn, all ofwhom wcrc twclvc
ycarsold.Jh|sasscssmcntallowcdM|rcllatocorrclatcthcac-
t|v|ty |nthcbra|nas mcasurcd bytMKÌ w|th thc |mpa|rmcnt
ofthc ch|ldrcn, and to tcst whcthcr act|v|ty |n spcc|nc bra|n
arcas |s afa|thfulmarkcrofthcd|scasc.
Jhc rcsults wcrc r|ght |n l|nc w|th all our prcd|ct|ons.
Vh|lc obscrv|ng and |m|tat|ng fac|al cxprcss|ons, thc ch|l-
drcn w|th aut|sm hadmuch lowcr act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron
arcascomparcdw|thtyp|callydcvclop|ng ch|ldrcn. Morcovcr,
M|rclla found a clcar corrclat|on bctwccn act|v|ty |n m|rror
ncuron arcas and scvcr|ty ofd|scasc. thc morc scvcrc thc |m-
pa|rmcnt, thc lowcr thc act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas'
V|thth|sstudy, M|rclladcmonstratcdthata dcnc|tofm|rror
ncurons |s |ndccd a kcyfactorforthc soc|al d|sordcrs of|nd|-
v|duals w|th aut|sm. ^nd ascvcry good sc|cnt|nc cxpcr|mcnt
w|ll, M|rclla`sstudyalsora|scdncwqucst|ons, twourgcntoncs
|n part|cular. Wy arc m|rrorncurons dysmnct|onal |n somc
ch|ldrcn, andwhatcanwcdoabout |t'
¡ /Ó
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
F I XING T HE B ROKE N MIRRORS
My hypothcs|s as to why thc m|rror ncuron systcm fa||s to
funct|on |n somc ch||drcn |s |nsp|rcd by thc work of ^m|
K||n, a Bra:|||anpsych|atr|stwork|ngatthcYa|cCh||d5tudy
Ccntcr. ^s a Bra:|||an, ^m| |snatura||y a socccrfanat|c, and
whcnwc mcct, ourconvcrsat|onoftcndr|fts from thc bcaut|-
fu| bra|n to thc bcaut|fu| gamc. ^n cnd|css po|nt of d|scus-
s|on, obv|ous|y, arcthcmatchcsbctwccnourtwohomc|ands
|n var|ous cd|t|ons of thc Vor|d Cup. Cnc day, ^m| and Ì
agrccd thatthc Bra:|||an squad Ìta|y managcd to bcat |n I ºoZ
wasthcbcstsocccrtcam|nthch|storyofthcgamc. Ìt|sst|||a
mystcry÷to mc, to ^m|, to cvcryonc÷how thc Bra:|||ans
|ost that gamc. Jhcy sccmcd |nv|nc|b|c. But thcy d|d |osc,
and Ìta|y procccdcd to w|n thc Cup. Cnc of thc fasc|nat|ng
aspcctsofsocccr |s |tsunprcd|ctab|||ty, wh|ch Ì gucssrcm|nds
both^m|and mc ofthc unprcd|ctab|||ty ofthchumanbra|n
andofourrcscarch |nto|tsfathom|cssdcpths. VhcnÌ J|scuss
thc bra|n w|th ^m|, Ì |ovc to go back to h|s work on how
ch||drcnw|th aut|sm |ookatsoc|a| sccncs |nacomp|ctc|yd|f-
fcrcnt way from typ|ca||y dcvc|op|ng k|ds. Ìn thosc cxpcr|-
mcnts, ^m|andh|s co||cagucs atYa|cuscd an cyc trackcr to
mon|tor thc "v|sua| nxat|on pattcrns" of subj ccts w|th and
w|thout aut|sm wh||c |ook|ng at comp|cx, dynam|c soc|a|
st|mu|| such as mov|c c||ps of pcop|c cngagcd |n an|matcd
convcrsat|on. Jhc subj ccts w|th aut|sm do not |ook at thc
cycsncar|y as much as thc contro|group, and thc grcatcrthc
¡
/ /
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|mpa|rmcnt|nasubj cct, thc grcatcrthcv|sualnxat|ononob-
j ccts. Ìn contrast, thcbcttcrthc soc|al adj ustmcnt, thc morc
thc subj cctsw|thaut|sm lookcdatthcmouthsofthcobscrvcd
pcoplc÷notcycs, butmouths.
^nothcr of ^m|`s fasc|nat|ng nnd|ngs |s rclatcd to thc
str|k|ngd|ssoc|at|on|nthcpcrformanccofsubj cctsw|thaut|sm
|nspontancouss|tuat|onscomparcdw|thwcll-structurcdoncs.
Ls|ng thc |nvaluablc cyc trackcr, ^m| lookcd athow h|s two
groups ofsubj ccts, thosc w|th and w|thoutaut|sm, rcspond to
po|nt|ng gcsturcs. Jhc obscrvcd sccnc was from thc mov|c
Wo's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , |n wh|ch a charactcr po|nts
at a pa|nt|ng on thc wall and asks, "Vho d|d thc pa|nt|ng'"
Jhcrc arc a bunch of pa|nt|ngs on thc wall, so thc vcrbal
qucst|on alonc |s not vcry |nformat|vc. Ìowcvcr, a po|nt|ng
gcsturc accompany|ng thc qucst|on makcs clcar wh|ch pa|nt-
|ng |s |n qucst|on. ^m|`s cyc trackcr rcvcalcd that subj ccts
w|thout aut|sm |mmcd|atcly and automat|cally follow w|th
thc|r ga:c thc po|nt|ng gcsturc and |dcnt|p thc dcs|gnatcd
pa|nt|ng. 5ubj cctsw|thaut|sm,bycontrast, donotfollowthc
po|nt|ng gcsturc and movc thc|r cycs only aftcr thc vcrbal
qucst|on |s complctcd. Jhcyhavcno |dcawh|chpa|nt|ngthc
charactcr|srcfcrr|ngtoandpo|nt|ngat,sothcysh|ftthc|rat-
tcnt|on from pa|nt|ng to pa|nt|ng randomly. Latcr, thc sub-
j ccts wcrc cxpl|c|tlyaskcdabout thc po|ntinggcsturcand |ts
mcan|ng. Ìn th|s structurcd s|tuat|on, thcy wcrc ablc to pro-
v|dc an adcquatc answcr w|th rcgard to thc mcan|ng ofthc
po|nt|ng gcsturc |n thc sccnc thcy had j ust obscrvcd. Ìow-
cvcr, dur|ng thc spontancous obscrvat|on, thc|r cyc movc-
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
mcnts dcmonstratcd that thcy had not graspcd thc mcan|ng
ofwhatwasgo|ngonbctwccnthc twocharactcrs.
I B
5ubj ccts w|th aut|smshow thcsc d|ncrcnccs | nv|sua|nxa-
t|onsatavcrycar|yagc. Ìt|shardtosaywhyth|s |s. Ìt|spos-
s|b|c that thcy arc |css cndowcd w|th m|rror ncurons than
othcr ch||drcn and thus nnd watch|ng thc act|ons of othcrs
|css rcward|ng. Ìt|s a|soposs|b|cthatthc|rd|ncrcnt|a| pattcm
of v|sua| nxat|on |s not |n|t|a||y rc|atcd to m|rror ncurons.
Lvcn|nth|scasc, howcvcr,thcrcwou|dbcancncctonm|rror
ncurons. ^s Ì dcscr|bcd |nchaptcr 1, avcry||kc|ysccnar|o on
how cxpcr|cncc shapcs and rc|nforccs m|rror ncurons |s that
thc rcc|proca| |m|tat|on dur|ng |nfancy a||ows thc baby to
makcanassoc|at|onbctwccnccrta|nk|ndsofmovcmcnts and
thc s|ght of somconc c|sc mak|ng cxact|y thosc movcmcnts.
Ch||drcn

who w||| dcvc|op aut|sm tcnd not to |ook at thc
mothcr, thc fathcr, or thc carcg|vcr, and thcy cannot makc
thc assoc|at|ons bctwccn thc|r own movcmcnts and thc
movcmcnts of pcop|c |m|tat|ng thcm. Ìt fo||ows that thc|r
m|rrorncurons cannot bcshapcd orrc|nforccd. Ì bc||cvc th|s
|s a probab|c dcvc|opmcnta| sccnar|o, wh|ch takcs |nto ac-
count thc propcrt|cs of m|rror ncurons, thc data from ^m|
K||n`scyc-track|ngwork, andthcro|cof|m|tat|on|ncar|yso-
c|a| |ntcract|ons. Þow a|| ofus want to know whcthcr thcsc
dataandhypothcscscou|d|nsp|rcformsofcncct|vctrcatmcnt
to "rcstorc" somc m|rror ncuron funct|ons |n pat|cnts w|th
aut|sm.
Ì havc bccn g|v|ng thc samc answcrfor somc ycars. Ì bc-
||cvc thatforms oftrcatmcntbascd on |m|tat|onmay bcvcry
¡
/V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cncct|vc |n hc|p|ng pat|cnts w|th aut|sm w|th thc|r soc|al
problcms.K|ghtnow, at |castthrccsc|cnt|stsarcstudy|ngthc
cncctsof|m|tat|ononch||drcnw|thaut|sm.|acquc||ncÞadcl
|nÌar|s, 5allyKogcrsatthcLn|vcrs|tyofCal|forn|aatLav|s,
and Brookc Ìngcrsol||nCrcgon. Ì havc rcccntlywatchcd onc
ofKogcrs's v|dcos dcmonstrat|ng thck|nd of|ntcrvcnt|onhcr
group |s do|ng w|th vcry young ch||drcn w|th aut|sm. Vhcn
thc ch|ld sccms uncngagcd w|th othcrs, 5ally starts |m|tat-
|ng thc ch||d, |ntcract|ngp|ayfu|ly and cmot|onal|y. Immedi­
ately, thc ch|ld |s much morc rcspons|vc to 5a|ly and cngagcs
|n cmot|onally mcan|ngful |ntcract|ons. Ìow could such |n-
tcrvcnt|onnot bcbcncnc|a| '
Jalk|ng about 5a||y`s v|dco rcm|nds mc ofan cp|sodc at a
mcct|ng organ|:cd by Curc ^ut|sm Þow ( www.curcaut|sm
now. org) |n Z00I . Ì hadj ustnn|shcddc||vcr|ngmy |ccturc on
m|rror ncurons, |m|tat|on, and thc poss|b|c dcnc|ts |n m|rror
ncuron funct|ons |n aut|sm. Ì had answcrcd a|| thc qucst|ons
and |cft thc stagc whcn a man whoworksw|thpat|cnts w|th
aut|sm approachcd and sa|d, "Youknow, what you arc say|ng
on |m|tat|on as a poss|b|c form of trcatmcnt makcs a lot of
scnscto mc. Ì workw|thscvcrcly |mpa|rcdpat|cnts, andsomc
days |t sccms rcal|y |mposs|b|c to conncct w|th thcm |n any
way. Ìowcvcr, whcn cvcryth|ng clsc has fa|lcd, Ì havc a last
stratcgy thatgcncrallyworksqu|tc wc||. Most ofmy pat|cnts
makc rcpct|t|vc, stcrcotypcd movcmcnts. Vhcn Ì do not
knowwhat clsc to do to cstabl|sha conncct|on, Ì |m|tatc thc
stcrcotypcdmovcmcnts. ^|most|mmcd|atc|ythcysccmc,wc
nna|ly|ntcract, and Ì canstartwork|ngw|th mypat|cnts. "
Vc havc sccn how pcop|c tcnd to |m|tatc cach othcr, to
¡ 00
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
synchron|:c thc|r movcmcnts, and how such synchron|c mo-
tor bchav|or gcncra||y fostcrs a soc|a| conncct|on. Vhat |s
th|s |mmcd|atc conncct|on that |m|tat|on cvokcs ' ^|though
thcrc |snowc||-contro||cddataonthcscspontancousformsof
|m|tat|on, |t|s||kc|ythatm|rrorncurons arc |nvo|vcd.Vhcn
thc thcrap|st |m|tatcs h|s pat|cnts, hc may act|vatc thc|r m|r-
ror ncurons, wh|ch |n tum may hc|p thc pat|cnts to see thc
thcrap|st, ||tcra||y. Jh|s |s on|y a thcoryofm|nc, but whatwc
know about m|rror ncurons g|vcs |t somc p|aus|b|||ty. 5omc
t|mc ago, |acquc||nc Þadc| |n Ìar|s scnt mc an cxtraord|nary
v|dco ofa twc|vc-ycar-o|dboyw|th aut|sm, qu|tc w|thdrawn,
whoshowsa bchav|oroftcnassoc|atcdw|th aut|sm. hc makcs
stcrcotypcd motor manncr|sms w|th h|s hands ( thcsc motor
manncr|sms maytakcmanyforms, |nth|scasc, |t|shandnap-
p|ng) . Ìc|s |nahosp|ta|room, a|onc, butw|th p|cntyoftoys
andobj ccts top|ayw|th. Ìnfact, thcrcarc two cop|cs ofcvcry
toy and cvcry obj cct. ^nothcr ch||d comcs |n, a |ow-Ì_ g|r|
w|thout aut|sm whom thc boy knows wc||. 5hc starts p|ay|ng
w|th somcofthcobj ccts |nthcroomandbas|ca||y |nc|tcs thc
boy to do thc samc. 5hc puts on a cowboy hat, and thcn shc
puts thc sccond cowboyhaton thc boy. 5hc hc|ps thc boy to
put on onc pa|r of sung|asscs, thcn shc puts on thc sccond
pa|r. Jhc ch||drcn shakc hands and |augh. Jhc stcrcotypcd
gcsturcs ofthc boyw|th aut|sm arc rap|d|y d|sappcar|ng. Jhc
g|r| now takcs an umbrc||a, opcns |t, and paradcs aroundthc
room. Jhc boy w|th aut|sm spontancous|y |m|tatcs hcr.
5tcrcotypcd gcsturcs arc entrely gonc. hc |s a ch||d fu||y cn-
gagcd w|th h|s pccr. Jhc ch||drcn p|ay var|ous |m|tat|vc
gamcs for a wh||c, somct|mcs thc boy |m|tat|ng hcr, somc-
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
t|mcs thc g|r| |m|tat|ng h|m. Vhcn shc |cavcs thc room at
onc po|nt, thc boy a|most |mmcd|atc|y w|thdraws and starts
h|shandnapp|ngaga|n.Vhcnthcg|r|comcsback, thoscgcs-
turcsd|sappcar.Jhccncctsccmsa|mostmag|ca|.Cbv|ous|y|t
|snot. 5oc|a|m|rror|ngconnccts|nd|v|dua|s cmot|ona||y and
maybcah|gh|ycncct|vcwayofhc|p|ngch||drcnw|th aut|sm
to ovcrcomcsomcof1hc|rsoc|a|prob|cms.
Jo tcst th|s hypothcs|s morc r|gorous|y, Þadc| pcrformcd
two cxpcr|mcnts w|th aut|st|c ch||drcn. Ìnboth cxpcr|mcnts,
onc group ofch||drcn |ntcractcd w|th an adu|twho |m|tatcd
thc ch||drcn, thc othcr group |ntcractcd w|th an adu|t who
s|mp|yp|aycdw|th thcm. Þadc|found that thc ch||drcnwho
hadbccn|m|tatcdbythc adu|tdcmonstratcdmuchmorc "so-
c|a|bchav|or"andcngagcd|nmuchmorcrcc|proca|p|ayw|th
thc adu|t than thc ch||drcn who had not bccn |m|tatcd.
Ìurthcrmorc, thc ch||drcnwhohadbccn|m|tatcdspcntmorc
t|mc c|osc to, bcs|dc, and touch|ng thc adu|t, comparcd w|th
thcch||drcnwhohadnotbccn|m|tatcd. '
'
1hcsc cxtrcmc|y cxc|t|ng rcsu|ts makc a |ot of scnsc |n
||ght of what wc know about m|rror ncurons. Ìn Crcgon,
BrookcÌngcrso||hasa|souscd|m|tat|onasatrcatmcnt|nch||-
drcn w|th aut|sm, obta|n|ng st||| morc cxc|t|ng rcsu|ts w|th
natura||st|c bchav|ora| trcatmcnts. Lur|ng sccm|ng|y sponta-
ncous and p|ayfu| |ntcract|ons, thc thcrap|st starts to |m|tatc
thcch||d`sgcsturcs, voca||:at|ons,andact|onsd|rcctcdattoys.
Jhcnthcthcrapist|nv|tcsthcch||dto |m|tatchcrownbchav-
|or.Ch||drcncxposcdtoth|sk|ndoftrcatmcntdur|ngnatura-
||st|c |ntcract|ons show c|car bcncnts, and thcsc bcncnts go
wc|| bcyond |m|tat|on a|onc. Jh|s |s thc |mportant ncws.
B RO K E N M I RRO RS
Cthcr soc|a|-commun|cat|vc bchav|ors, such as |anguagc and
prctcnd p|ay, a|so show robust |mprovcmcnt. Jhc tcchn|qucs
dcs|gncd by Ìngcrso|| can a|so bc taught to parcnts, who can
usc thcm athomc wh||c spontancous|y |ntcract|ng w|th thc|r
k|ds. Jhcycanon|yhc|p,and thcydohc|p.
!O
Jhcsc tcchn|qucs do not rcqu|rc any spcc|a| tcchno|ogy
and can bc cas||y taught. Jhcy cou|d bc d|sscm|natcd w|th|n
thccommun|tyofparcntsofch||drcnw|thaut|smqu|tcrap|d|y
andrcacha|argcnumbcrofancctcdch||drcn.^nawarcncssof
thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn m|rror ncurons and |m|tat|on may
prom|scpotcnt|a||y||fc-chang|ngbcncntsforthcsc ch||drcn.
5 E
Su p er Mi r rors a n d the Wi red B r a i n
DARK WA VE S IN T HE B RAIN
� nthc spr|ng ofZ00I , \|ttor|oCallcscand Ì, alongw|thsomc
l othcrncurosc|cnt|sts,wcrc |n5cv|llccnj oy|ngthc spcctacu-
lar local tapas. Vc got |nto a d|scuss|on ofhow thc grass al-
wayssccmsgrccncron thc othcrs|dc ofthc fcncc. \|ttor|o, a
grcat s|nglc-ccll rcscarchcr, adm|ttcd that hc cnv|cs thc rcla-
t|vccascw|thwh|chwc bra|n|magcrscanpcrformourcxpcr-
|mcnts, comparcdw|th thc cxtcns|vctra|n|ngrcqu|rcdfor h|s
monkcys, thc surgcry to |mplant thc clcctrodcs, and so on. Ì
had to agrcc that thc log|st|cs of|mag|ng arc cas|cr, but what
about thc rcsults of our cxpcr|mcnts ' Jhcy rcqu|rc complcx
stat|st|calanalyscsandcvcnthcnarcusuallynotsouncqu|vo-
calas s|nglc-ccllrccord|ngs.Jh|scanbcfrustrat|ng. Mypo|nt
clcarly rcsonatcd w|th my fr|cnd. Ìc noddcd h|s hcad. Ì|s
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
cycs bctraycd h|s cxc|tcmcnt as hc sa|d, "Vhcn you nnd a
bcaut|m|ncuron, |trca||y|sbcaut|fu|. "Ìndccd.
Vcncurosc|cnt|stsfacc trcmcndousbarr|crs |n our ||nc of
work.Jhctypcofrcscarch thata||owcd\|ttor|o andthc tcam
|nÌarmatod|scovcrm|rrorncurons |nthcnrstp|acc bypccr-
|ng |ns|dc thcbra|ns ofmonkcys at thc most cxqu|s|tc, nnc-
gra|ncd |cvc|÷thc s|ng|c cc||÷|s |nvas|vc, rcqu|r|ng surgcry
to |mp|ant thc c|cctrodcs. ^|though cxtrcmc carc |s takcnby
monkcy ncurophys|o|og|sts to avo|d d|scomfort |n thc |m-
p|antcd subj ccts, thc |ssucs prcc|udc such rcscarch on apcs
andhumans( w|thrarccxccpt|ons, aswchavc sccn,andw|th
onc morc÷thc most |mportant÷st||| to comc) . Mcanwh||c,
thc |ncrcd|b|c tcchno|ogy w|th wh|ch |abs such as m|nc at
LCL^ study thc human bra|n÷fKÌ, pr|mar||y÷mcasurcs
cnscmb|c act|v|ty, that |s, thc act|v|ty of a |argc numbcr of
cc||s,and|thasnotbccnsu|tab|cforuscw|than|ma|sorcvcn
ch||drcn, who arc not vcry dcpcndab|c about |y|ng qu|ct|y
w|thoutmov|ngwh||c |ns|dc |oudmach|ncs.
5|mp|y put, thc var|ous tcchno|og|cs |cnd thcmsc|vcs to
d|ncrcnt k|nds of|nvcst|gat|ons, andcachonc |s constra|ncd
by a un|quc sct of factors, somc pract|ca|, somc |og|st|ca|,
somc nnanc|a|, and somc cth|ca|. V|th thc monkcys, wc
havcn`t bccn cas||y ab|c to movc from thc s|ng|c cc|| to thc
cnscmb|c, and w|th humans wc havcn`t bccn cas||y ab|c to
movc from thc cnscmb|c to thc s|ng|c cc||. Ìn th|s nc|d, wc
havc tru|y bccn caught bctw|xt and bctwccn. Jhc conun-
drums havc |cft us w|th |nfcrcncc as our ma|n mcans of
knock|ng down thc fcncc and putt|ng cvcryth|ng togcthcr,
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
and |nfcrcncc, wh||cva|uab|c andncccssary, |sccrta|n|ynota
pcrfcct too|. Ìt wou|dn`t bc pcrfcct cvcn whcn work|ng w|th
our c|oscst ||v|ng rc|at|vcs, ch|mpan:ccs, and thc macaquc
monkcys arc scvcra| cvo|ut|onary stcps bc|ow both ch|mps
andus.Lnfortunatc|y, thcrc|s ||tt|c wccandoton||th|sgap.
Vc cannotchangcthccvo|ut|onaryproccss,andwcdcnn|tc|y
arc not go|ng to changc our m|nds about thc cons|dcrat|ons
thatprcvcntthcmost|nvas|vcsc|cnt|nc|nvcst|gat|onsonhu-
mans and grcat apcs. Jhc soc|cty that docs changc |ts m|nd
aboutth|squcst|on |snotonc Ì wou|dchoosc to ||vc |n.
Vc can`t usc s|ng|c-cc|| tcchn|qucs on humans, but what
about us|ng cnscmb|c tcchn|qucs on monkcys ' 5ucccss hcrc
wou|d a||ow us to comparc s|ng|c-cc|| and cnscmb|c ncura|
act|v|ty |n thc monkcys, and thcn to comparc cnscmb|c ncu-
ra| act|v|ty |n monkcys and humans. Jhcsc two scqucnt|a|
compar|sons wou|d ccrta|n|y a||cv|atc thc |nfcrcnt|a| burdcn
andhc|pusput|ta||togcthcr. Ìnrcccntycarsanumbcrofrc-
scarchcrsand|aborator|cshavcdcvc|opcdtcchn|qucstostudy
thc monkcybra|nw|thfKÌ . Ch|cfamongthcm|sÞ|kosLo-
gothct|s, at thc Max Ì|anck Ìnst|tutc |n Jüb|ngcn, Ccrmany .
V|th an |ngcn|ous scr|cs of mod|ncat|ons of thc standard
hardwarc adaptcdforbra|ncxpcr|mcntsw|th monkcys, Logo-
thct|s was ab|c to pcrform simultneously both s|ng|c-cc||
rccord|ngsw|th |ntracran|a| c|cctrodcsandfKÌ . Jh|sfcat |s
|mposs|b|cw|ththcstandardsctup.Logothct|suscsamodincd
sctup |nwh|chc|cctrodcsdonotbumthc t|ssucaroundthcm
( wh|ch standard c|cctrodcs wou|d |ns|dc a scanncr) , do not
p|ckup"art|facts"fromthcscanncract|v|ty, anddonotcrcatc
art|facts for thc scanncr`s own s|gna|. Ìt |s an ama:|ng fcat.
¡ 0Ó
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D T H E W I RE D B RA I N
V|thhis |mp|antcd c|cctrodcs, Logothct|s mcasurcd thc ncu-
ra|nr|ng of|nd|v|dua| cc||s wh||c a|somcasur|ngthc changcs
|nthc fKÌ s|gna|. Bydo|ng so, hccou|dtcstwhcthcrthc nr-
|ngofs|ng|ccc||s |scorrc|atcdw|th thc bra|n s|gna|mcasurcd
by fKI. Ìrcscntcd w|th v|sua| st|mu||, thc v|sua| cortcx of
thc monkcy`s bra|n rcspondcd w|th |ncrcascd d|schargc from
|nd|v|dua| cc||s and |ncrcascd fKÌ s|gna|. Jh|s was a con-
v|nc|ng corrc|at|on and rca| progrcss |n thc qucst to a||gn
s|ng|c-cc|| and cnscmb|c ncura| act|v|ty. Jhc progrcss can
on|y p|ck up pacc, bccausc thc numbcr of |aborator|cs us|ng
fKÌ |nmonkcysw|||on|y |ncrcasc.`
Jhcnthcrc`sa th|rdwayto n|| thcgapbctwccnthc s|ng|c-
cc||rccord|ngs|nmonkcysandthc |mag|ngofcnscmb|cncu-
ra|act|v|ty |nhumans. Ì ca||th|sopportunistic science, wh|ch|s
a|rcady p|ay|ng a s|gn|ncant ro|c |n ncurosc|cncc and, Ì bc-
||cvc, w||| bc |mportant for m|rror ncuron rcscarch. Bcforc Ì
tc|| you whcrc wc stand |n th|s rcgard now and whcrc Ì bc-
||cvcthcmturc||cs, Ìw|||showyouhowgood|tcangctwhcn
opportun|st|c sc|cncc comb|ncs w|th scrcnd|p|ty and answcrs
onc ofthc |ongcst-stand|ng and most |mportant qucst|ons |n
thc nc|d ofncuro|ogy.
Jh|sstorytakcsusbacktothc craofpos|tron-cm|ss|onto-
mography ( ÌLJ) , wh|ch was w|dc|y uscd |n thc I ºo0s and
car|y `º0s buthasbccn |argc|y rcp|accd byfKÌ bccausc |trc-
qu|rcs thc usc ofrad|oact|vc matcr|a|. ^s notcd |n chaptcr Z,
oncofthcnrst|mag|ngstud|csw|ththc m|rrorncuronsystcm
wasa"grasp|ng"cxpcr|mcntw|thÌLJpcrformcdbyK|::o|att|
andco||cagucs. Ìnthosc ycars, Ì was us|ng ÌLJto |nvcst|gatc
bra|n rcg|ons |mportant to our rccogn|t|on ofcvcryday ob-
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
j ccts÷my nrst cxpcr|mcnt w|th th|s tcchno|ogy. ^s rcqu|rcd
bythc ÌL1tcchn|quc,wc|nj cctcdasma||amountofrad|oac-
t|vc matcr|a| |n thc b|ood of thc subj cct, who was askcd to
watch a var|cty of v|sua| st|mu|| from a computcr mon|tor.
5|mp|y put, thc rad|oact|vc compound b|nds w|th ccrta|n
mo|ccu|cs |n thc blood. Jo mcasurc thcsc mo|ccu|cs |s thcrc-
forc tomcasurcovcra||b|oodf|ow. Ìnthchca|thybra|n,b|ood
now corrc|atcs w|th ncura| act|v|ty, and ÌL1 scanncrs mca-
surcbra|nact|v|tybymcasur|ngb|oodnow.Jo cnsurcthatour
subj ccts rccc|vcd on|y a sma|| amount of rad|oact|v|ty, wc
had a ||m|t of twc|vc |nj cct|ons of rad|oact|vc matcr|a|-
hcncc twc|vc bra|n scans÷pcr subj cct, and wc had to wa|t
approx|matc|y nftccn m|nutcs bctwccn |nj cct|ons to a||ow
thc rad|oact|v|ty from thc pr|or |nj cct|on to bc comp|ctc|y
washcdout.
Cnccvcn|ng,Ì wasdo|ngthccxpcr|mcntonthcfourthor
nfth subj cct cnro||cd |n thc study. 1h|s twcnty-onc-ycar-o|d
r|ght-handcdwoman÷who had vo|untccrcd, ofcoursc÷to|d
mc at somc po|nt that shc had a hcadachc. Ì askcd hcr
whcthcr shc wantcd to stop. 5hc sa|d shc cou|d cont|nuc,
s|ncc a|| shc was do|ng was watch|ng stunfrom a mon|tor.
Vhcn wc nn|shcd, Ì askcd hcr afcwqucst|ons. 5hc sa|d that
thc pa|n had progrcss|vc|yworscncddur|ng thc rough|y thrcc
hoursrcqu|rcdforcomp|ct|ngthc twc|vc |nj cct|onsandscans.
Ìcr dcscr|pt|onofathrobb|ngorpound|ngpa|nsoundcd||kc
m|gra|nc. 5hc a|sosa|d thatj ustbcforc|tstartcd, shchadno-
t|ccdthatshchadb|urrcdv|s|onfora ||tt|cwh||c.1h|s"aura"
|sa c|ass|cs|gnofm|gra|nchcadachc. M|gra|ncsancctwomcn
morcoftcnthanmcn, andshc sa|d that th|swas not thc nrst
¡ 00
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
suchhcadachcshc' dhad. Ìutt|nga||th|stogcthcr,wcrcfcrrcd
hcrtothcncuro|ogyc||n|catLCL^,whcrcthcdcta||cdncu-
ro|og|ca| h|story ofhcr pa|n prob|cms |ndccd suggcstcd that
shcwasa m|gra|nc pat|cnt.
Ì madc cop|ous notcs on what had happcncd and whcn.
^na|y:|ng thc ÌLJ scan data |tsc|f, Ì nrst |ookcd, as d|ctatcd
byourusua|stat|st|ca|protoco|,forb|oodnowchangcsassoc|-
atcd w|th thc d|ncrcnt k|nds ofst|mu|| thc subj cct was scc-
|ng. Ìn a|| ofthcprcv|oussubj ccts |n th|sÌLJcxpcr|mcnt, a
notab|c |ncrcasc |n b|ood now was rccordcd |n thc |nfcr|or
tcmpora| cortcx whcn thc subj ccts wcrc watch|ng cvcryday
obj ccts, as opposcd to thc othcrk|nds ofv|sua| st|mu||. V|th
thc m|gra|nc suncrcr, howcvcr, Ì found no diference |n b|ood
now bctwccn thc var|ous cxpcr|mcnta| cond|t|ons÷a str|k-
|ng contrast w|th thc c|car cnccts obscrvcd |n my prcv|ous
subj ccts.
Ì "b|amcd" thc m|gra|nc, but Ì d|d not knowhow to tcst
my hypothcs|s. 5|ncc th|s was my nrstÌLJcxpcr|mcntandÌ
had no cxpcr|cncc |n unusua| data ana|yscs, Ì tumcd to my
co||aborator and mcntor |n ncuro|mag|ng, Kogcr Voods, a
ncuro|og|st who had dcvc|opcd a var|cty ofana|yt|ca| mcth-
odsforbra|n|mag|ng.VhcnÌ to|dKogcrwhathadhappcncd,
hc sa|d, "Vcl|, |ct's |ookat thc convcrtcd raw data. "^ qu|ck
cxp|anat|on about ÌLJ data. thc raw data arc bas|ca||y num-
bcrs that corrcspond to thc amount ofrad|oact|vc cvcnts dc-
tcctcd |n thc scanncr. Jhc converted raw dataarc gcncra||yof
no va|uc, ||tt|c morc than b|urrcd bra|n |magcs |n shadcs of
gray. Lvcn an cxpcr|cnccd bra|n mappcr w||| typ|ca||y scc no
d|ncrcncc fromonc |magc to anothcr. ^stat|st|calana|ys|sby
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
computcr softwarc |s rcqu|rcd to nna||y rcvca| cvcn substan-
t|a| changcs. 5o whcn Kogcr suggcstcd |ook|ng at thc con-
vcrtcdrawdata, Ì was a b|tpu::|cd. Ì hadn`tbccnab|c toscc
anyth|ng ofnotc |n thcstat|st|ca| ana|yscs, wh|charc much
morc powcrfu| than our cycs. Vhat cou|d wc poss|b|y scc |n
thc convcrtcd raw data' ^nd of coursc Ì was wrong. Kogcr
concoctcdsomc sortofan|mat|onw|th thc twc|vc convcrtcd
scans Ì had co||cctcd from our subj cct w|th thc m|gra|nc.
Look|ng at thc an|mat|on, anyonc cou|d havc sccnthataftcr
thc s|xth scan, arcas |n thc back ofhcr bra|n bccamc much
darkcr, |nd|cat|ng a much wcakcr rad|oact|vc s|gna| to thc
scanncrandmuch|cssb|oodnow|nthoscarcas.Jhcdccrcasc
|nb|oodnowhadtobccxtrcmc|ys|gn|ncant|nordcrtobcso
cas||y dctcctab|c bynakcd cycs. Ìndccd,quant|tat|vc ana|yscs
|atcrdcmonstratcd a rcduct|on |nb|oodnowofabout10pcr-
ccnt |n thc dark arcas÷thc back of thc m|gra|nc pat|cnt`s
bra|n. Ìromthc s|xthto thc twc|fthand nna| scan, thc "dark-
ncss" sprcad progrcss|vc|y forward, from thc backto thc front
ofthcbra|nofoursubj cct,gctt|ng|argcrand|argcr. Ìtwasv|-
sua||y|mprcss|vc|nthc an|mat|on.
KogcrandÌ |mmcd|atc|yrca||:cdthatourscrcnd|p|tousob-
scrvat|onhadrcso|vcd÷||tcra||yovcm|ght÷thcdcbatcabout
thc pathophys|o|ogy of m|gra|nc that had occup|cd ncuro|o-
g|sts and thc|r pat|cnts for ha|f a ccntury. Jhcrc wcrc two
ma|n camps |n th|s dcbatc. Cnc assumcd that m|gra|nc was
pr|mar||y a vascu|ar prob|cm. Ìor |argc|y unknown rcasons
( butw|tha var|ctyofhypothcscsproposcd) , b|ood vcssc|s bc-
camc |n|t|a||yconstr|ctcddur|ngam|gra|ncattack (hcnccthc
symptomofthcaura) , thcnd||atcd,produc|ngpa|n.Jhcothcr
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
camp assumcd that m|gra|nc was causcdpr|mar||yby a ncura|
dysmnct|on, spcc|nca||y by a phcnomcnon nrst obscrvcd |n
|aboratoryrabb|ts,ca||cdsprcad|ngdcprcss|on.Jh|sphcnomc-
non, dcscr|bcd for thc nrst t|mc |n I º11, |s a dramat|c but
|uck||ytrans|cntrcduct|on|nc|cctr|ca|act|v|ty|nthcccrcbra|
cortcx. Jh|sdcprcss|onofc|cctr|ca|act|v|ty||tcra||ysprcadsto
cont|guous cort|ca| arcas. '
Both thcor|cs had strcngths and wcakncsscs. Vhcn ÌLJ
bccamc ava||ab|c |n thc I ºo0s, a conscnsus bc||cvcd that thc
tcchno|ogywas |dca|forrcso|v|ng th|s vcry |mportant dcbatc.
Ìn thcory, th|s was thc casc, but pract|ca| ||m|tat|ons had
madc |t |argc|y |mposs|b|c to scan pat|cnts at thc onsct of
what |s, aftcra||, an unprcd|ctab|ccvcnt. M|gra|ncs don`t fo|-
|ow a schcdu|c. Jhc spontancous attack of m|gra|nc |n our
subj cct wh||c shc was |n thc ÌLJ scanncr at LCL^ was onc
ofthosc |ucky acc|dcnts thatno ncurolog|storncurosc|cnt|st
cou|d cvcn drcam of. Morcovcr, thc data wc had co||cctcd
wcrcuncqu|voca|.Jhcratcofadvanccmcntofthc "sprcad|ng
dcprcss|on" dcscr|bcd |n thc |abrabb|t |n I º11was vcrys|m|-
|ar to thconcwc obscrvcd |nour"darkwavc" |n I ºº1. Jh|s
wavc d|d not fo||ow thc anatom|ca| tcrr|tory of thc maj or
bra|n vcssc|s, ru||ng out thc vascu|ar hypothcs|s. Cn|y thc
ncura| hypothcs|s ofm|gra|nc was supportcd by our obscrva-
t|ons.
Jh|s was a sp|cnd|d casc ofopportun|st|c mcd|ca| sc|cncc.
Ìndccd, onc thc rcv|cwcrs who j udgcd our sc|cnt|nc papc�
uscd cxact|y thcsc words. Jhcrc arc, howcvcr, othcr ways of
do|ng opportun|st|c mcd|ca| sc|cncc, a b|tmorcp|anncd and
rcqu|r|ng |css scrcnd|p|ty than our m|gra|nc obscrvat|ons.
¡
V
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Cnc of thcm |s cxcmp||ncd by thc ama:|ng work of Ìt:hak
ír|cdandh|sco||aboratorsatthcLcpartmcntofÞcurosurgcry
at thc LCL^ Mcd|ca| 5choo|. ír|cd and h|s co||cagucs arc
ab|c to mcasurc s|ng|c-cc|| act|v|ty |n thc human bra|n. Jh|s
cxtraord|nar||y |mportant work a||ows us to n|| thc gap bc-
twccnmonkcyandhumanm|rrorncuronrcscarch.
I N T HE DE P T H OF T HE HU M AN B RA I N
Lp||cpsy |s a ncuro|og|ca| d|scasc that anccts m||||ons ofpco-
p|c, approx|matc|y I pcrccnt of thc popu|at|on. 5ymptoms
can takc manyforms, butofcoursc thc mostw|dc|yknown |s
convu|s|ons. Ìnmostcascs,thcd|scasccanbccncct|vc|ycon-
tro||cd w|th drugs. Ìn somc pat|cnts, howcvcr, thc drugs arc
notab|c tocontro|thcd|scasc wc||. Jhc ||fc ofthcscpat|cnts
|sscvcrc|yancctcdbythc|rd|sordcr, andoncofthc thcrapcu-
t|c stratcg|cs that may bc adoptcd |n thcsc d|mcu|t cascs |s
bra|n surgcry. Ìf |t |s poss|b|c to rcmovc thc focus of thc
cp||cpt|c act|v|ty÷that |s, thc bra|n t|ssuc from wh|ch thc
sc|:urcs or|g|natc÷|t |s poss|b|c to contro| thc symptoms cf-
fcct|vc|y. Cbv|ous|y, th|s dcc|s|on |s not bc takcn ||ght|y, and
most ofthc t|mc a|| sorts ofpharmaco|og|ca| trcatmcnts arc
tr|cd nrst. Vhcn surgcry |s dccmcd ncccssary, |t |s |mpcrat|vc
to nnd out cxact|ywhcrc thc focus ofthc cp||cpt|c act|v|ty |s
|ocatcd.Vcnowhavc avar|ctyofnon|nvas|vc too|s for th|s
purposc, butthcyarc |nconc|us|vc |n somc pat|cnts. Ìnthcsc
cascs, thc |ast-rcsort approach for thc surgcons |s to |mp|ant
c|cctrodcs |n a var|cty ofbra|n rcg|ons and mon|tor act|v|ty
¡
V
Z
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
ovcrscvcra|days, pcrhaps cvcnonc or two wccks. Cbv|ous|y,
thc |ocat|on ofthcsc |ntracran|a| c|cctrodcs |sd|ctatcd cxc|u-
s|vc|y by mcd|ca| cr|tcr|a, not by cxpcr|mcnta|cur|os|ty, and
thcpat|cnt`spcrm|ss|on|sofcoursc mandatory. Ìt |sa|mosta|-
ways grantcd. Jhcn |t |s poss|b|c to co||cct un|quc and cx-
trcmc|yva|uab|c |nformat|onofhumanncurona|act|v|ty |n a
var|ctyofcond|t|ons, andat thc cxqu|s|tcrcso|ut|onofs|ng|c
cc||s.
Ìoss|b|c,that|s, bccausc Ìt:hakÌr|cdandh|sco||cagucsat
LCL^hadthc |dcaofmod|p|ngthcbas|cc|cctrodcsuscdfor
thcsc |ntracran|a|rccord|ngs.Jyp|ca||y, thc |ntracran|a|probc
uscd w|th cp||cpt|c pat|cnts cannot rccord act|on potcnt|a|s
from s|ng|c cc||s. Ìn ordcr to hc|p |ocatc thc or|g|n of thc
cp||cpt|csc|:urcs, |tdocsn`tnccd to. Ìndccd,thcc|cctrodccan
|oca||:cthccp||cpt|c|ocusbys|mp|ymcasur|ngthcc|cctrocn-
ccpha|ograph|c s|gna|÷that |s, thc s|owc|cctr|ca|wavcs that
rcprcscnt thc cnscmb|c act|v|ty of |ots of ncurons work|ng
togcthcr. Jhc Ìr|cd tcam changcd thc bas|c sctup and |m-
p|antcd a bund|c ofc|ghtm|crow|rcs dang||ngfromthc t|pof
cach c|cctrodc. Jhc t|p ofthc m|crow|rc |s sma|| and scns|-
t|vc. |tcanactua||yrccord act|onpotcnt|a|sfroms|ng|c cc||s.
V|th c|ght c|cctrodcs usua||y |mp|antcd |n cachpat|cnt, wc
thus havcs|xty-four m|crow|rcs from wh|ch s|ng|c-cc|| act|v-
|tycanbcrccordcd.^|as,nota||m|crow|rcscnduprccord|ng
act|v|ty from s|ng|c cc||s. Ìt a|| dcpcnds on whcrc thc t|p of
thc m|crow|rc cnds up |n thc bra|n, wh|ch |s somcth|ng thc
surgcon÷cvcn thc most cxpcr|cnccd onc-cannot contro|.
Jhc surgcon can contro| on|y whcrc top|acc thc t|p of thc
c|cctrodcs|nthcbra|n.Ìfthc t|p ofam|crow|rcdang||ngfrom
¡
V}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
an c|cctrodc cnds up c|osc to a ncuron, |trccords |ts act|v|ty.
Ìf|tcndsupfarawayfromthcncuron, |tdocsnot.Ìnatyp|ca|
casc, twcnty to forty m|crow|rcs can rccord cc||u|ar act|v|ty,
and oftcn morc than onc cc||, gcncra||y two or thrcc, can bc
rccordcdtromoncm|crow|rc. 5o |t|squ|tcposs|b|cto rccord
from nfty cc||s |nonc scss|on, and concc|vab|ytorccordfrom
tw|ccthatmany( butno onc cvcrgctsthat|ucky) .
V|th th|s un|quc sctup, Ìr|cd and h|s co||aborators arc |n
a pos|t|on to |nvcst|gatc w|th unprcccdcntcd dcta|| thc rc-
sponscs ofthc human bra|n to a var|cty ofst|mu|| and s|tua-
t|ons. Cnc of thc nrst rcscarchcrs to takc advantagc of th|s
brcakthrough was Koy Mukamc|, a postdoctora|fc||ow |n my
|ab who conductcd an |ngcn|ous transoccan|c cxpcr|mcnt of
sortsthat cxp|o|tcd Ìt:hak`sc|cctrodcstoprov|dcmorcconnr-
mat|on of thc t|ght rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn s|ng|c-cc|| and cn-
scmb|c act|v|ty |nhumans. Ì|rstKoyshowcdscgmcntsofThe
Good, the Ba, and the Ugly, thc famous spaghctt| wcstcm d|-
rcctcd by 5crg|o Lconc, to hca|thy fKÌ vo|untccrs at thc
Vc|:mann Ìnst|tutc |n Ìsrac|, whcrc Koyhad bccn a graduatc
studcnt. Jhcn hc ncw to Los ^ngc|cs to show thc samc scg-
mcntsofthcmov|c to twocp||cpt|cpat|cnts |nwh|chÌt:hak
Ìr|cd had |mp|antcd |ntracran|a| c|cctrodcs w|th thc m|-
crow|rcs.5ubscqucnt|y,Koyuscdthc act|v|tymcasurcd|ns|n-
g|ccc|lsofthcaud|torycortcx( asthcnamc|mp||cs, thatarca
ofthc bra|n that rcsponds to sounds) ofthc two cp||cpt|c pa-
t|cnts to tcstforcorrc|atcd act|v|ty÷mcasurcd by fKÌ÷|n
thcbra|nofthchca|thyvo|untccrs |nÌsrac|. Cons|dcr|ngthat
thc ncuro|og|ca| pat|cnts wcrc rcst|ng |n qu|ct rooms |n thc
LCL^ hosp|ta| and thc hca|thy vo|untccrs |n Ìsrac| wcrc |y-
¡
V4
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D T H E W I RE D B RA I N
|ng |ns|dc a vcry no|sy fKÌ scanncr, |t sccmcd almost |n-
cv|tablc that Koy`s cxpcr|mcnt |ook|ng at bra|n rcsponscs |n
thc aud|tory cortcx wou|d fa||. Vouldn`t thc rad|ca|ly d|ncr-
cnt no|sc lcvc|smakc moot thc "aud|tory" rcad|ngs p|ckcd up
wh|lc thc subj ccts wcrc watch|ng thc mov|c' ^ston|sh|ng|y,
th|s was not thc casc. Koy found c|osc corrc|at|on bctwccn
thc s|ng|c-cc|| act|v|ty |n thc aud|tory cortcx ofthc cp||cpt|c
pat|cnts |n Los ^ngc|csandthc act|v|ty |n thc aud|tory cor-
tcx ofthchca|thyvo|untccrsmcasurcd |n thc fKÌ scanncr
|n Ìsrac|. ' Jh|s data rc|nforccd thc rcsu|ts rccordcd by Þ|kos
Logothct|s, dcmonstrat|ng a d|rcct l|nk bctwccn s|nglc-cc||
act|v|tyandthccnscmb|cact|v|tymcasurcdbyfKI.Bothof
thcscrcscarchcrs, howcvcr, stud|cdpr|mary sensory arcas. thc
v|sual cortcx |n thc casc ofLogothct|s, thc aud|tory cortcx |n
Koy`scasc. Canwcgcncral|:cfromthcsc nnd|ngs to thc morc
comp|cxcort|ca| arcas ofthc humanbra|n÷for |nstancc, thc
frontal |obc arcas that conta|n m|rror ncurons, or thc tcmpo-
ra| lobcarcasthatarcrcpos|tor|csofourmcmor|cs '5omcvcry
rcccnt data, corrc|at|ng s|nglc-un|t rccord|ngs and fKÌ s|g-
nals |n thctcmporallobcdur|nga mcmory task, suggcstthat
|nthc tcmporal lobc, s|ng|c-cc|lact|v|tyandfKÌact|v|tydo
not go togcthcr. Vhcn subj ccts wcrc askcd to rcmcmbcrpco-
p|candp|accs, thc |nd|v|dua| ncurons nrcdfor only onc spc-
c|nc pcrson or ¡lacc, but thc fKÌ act|v|ty |ncrcascd for a
largc numbcr of rcmcmbcrcd pcop|c or placcs. Ìow |s that
poss|b|c' Jhc answcr |s |n a ncura| phcnomcnon for wh|ch
ncurosc|cnt|sts havc found scvcral d|ncrcnt ( and somcwhat
amus|ng) tcrms. thc "grandmothcr ccll," "sparsc cod|ng, "and
cvcnthc "|cnn|fcr ^n|ston cc||. "
¡

M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
T HE J ENNIF ER ANI S T ON C E L L
^widclyknowntcrm inncuroscicncc is"grandmothcrccll."'
Vith this tcrm, wc succinctly rcfcr to thc thcory that thc
brain may usc singlc ncurons to rcprcscnt, rccogni:c, and
idcntip familiar obj ccts. In its cxtrcmc vcrsions, this thcory
suggcsts a onc-to-onc mapping bctwccn ccll and obj cct, such
thatyourmatcrnal grandmothcris codcd byoncsinglcccllin
yourbrain,andyourpatcrnalgrandmothcrbyadincrcntccll.
Jhcrc is a maj or thcorctical disadvantagc with thc grand-
mothcrccll thcory, and it'snothardtoundcrstand. ifforsomc
unfortunatc rcason a grandmothcr ccll dics, your rclation-
shipwiththcrccogni:cdobj cct÷grandma÷iscomplctclydc-
stroycd' You arc unablc to rccogni:c hcror to rcmcmbcrhcr.
Cnthc othcrhand, thcrcarc also thcorcticaladvantagcswith
grandmothcr cclls. Jhc main onc has to do with mcmory. Ìf
you nccd onlyonc ccllto rctricvc thc mcmoryofyourgrand-
mothcr, you can mcmori:c lots of dincrcnt things with thc
multitudc ofcclls inyourbrain.
Ìn its mostradicalform, thcgrandmothcrccllthcoryis al-
most a caricaturc of a conccpt. Jhc currcnt vcrsion of this
conccpt is labclcdsparsc coding. ^s thc namc suggcsts, this
idca holds that a fcw ncurons arc sclcctivcly activatcd by a
givcn stimulus÷for instancc, onc's grandmothcr. Jhus, thc
cntirc rcsponsibility for rcmcmbcring Crandma docs not rcst
onasinglc ccll, amuchmorccmcicntwaytocodcforfamiliar
obj cctsandpcoplc.Jhcdcathofonc ccll outofa small popu-
lationcodingthc samcstimuluswouldnotbccatastrophic.
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
Cnc of thc nrst dcscr|pt|ons of m|rror ncuron propcrt|cs
actua||y h|ntcd at somc |cvc| of sparsc cod|ng |n thc ncw|y
d|scovcrcd systcm. Ìnfact, thc papcr by \|ttor|o Ca||csc and
thc co||aborators |n Ìarma, pub||shcd |n Brin |n I ººó, º rc-
ports a var|ctyofcc||s w|thsc|cct|vcpropcrt|cs to spcc|nc ac-
t|ons. ^|though thc maj or|ty ofthc dcscr|bcd m|rror ncuron
cc||s rcspondcd to obscrvcd and pcrformcd grasp|ng act|ons,
a|mostha|fsc|cct|vc|yrcspondcdon|ytospcc|ncact|ons such
as p|ac|ng obj ccts, man|pu|at|ng obj ccts, ho|d|ng obj ccts,
hand |ntcract|ons, and so on. Ìowcvcr, thc cmp|r|ca| cv|-
dcncc that most robust|y supports sparsc cod|ng, and |ndccd
sccms to support qu|tc conv|nc|ng|y thc |dca of a grand-
mothcrcc||, |s thc cv|dcncc rcportcdrcccnt|y by It:hakÌr|cd
and h|s co||cagucs work|ng w|th thc |ntracran|a| c|cctrodcs
|mp|antcd |n thc bra|ns of thc cp||cpt|c pat|cnts. Jhc rc-
scarchcrsuscd a |aptop computcr to prcscnt to thc pat|cnts a
|argc numbcr ofp|cturcs ofcc|cbr|t|cs, famous bu||d|ngs, ob-
j ccts, and an|ma|s. Vhat thcyd|scovcrcd was stunn|ng. Cnc
cc|| rcspondcd on|y to var|ous p|cturcs of B||| C||nton, an-
othcron|ytop|cturcsofthc Bcat|cs, anothcron|ytoM|chac|
|ordan, anothcr on|y to thc 5|mpsons cartoons. Jhc |cnn|fcr
^n|stoncc||,as |twas |mmcd|atc|ydubbcd, rcspondcd toscv-
cra| d|ncrcnt p|cturcs ofthc actrcss, but not at a|| to a |argc
numbcr of othcr st|mu||, somc of wh|ch wcrc v|sua||y vcry
s|m||ar to thc p|cturcs. ' Ìor |nstancc, |u||a Kobcrts tr|ggcrcd
no rcsponsc |n thc |cnn|fcr^n|ston cc||. ^ma:|ng|y, nc|thcr
d|d a p|cturc of|cnn|fcr and Brad Ì|tt. Cons|dcr|ng that th|s
tcstwas donc whcn thc two actors wcrc st||| togcthcr and a||
ovcr thc tab|o|ds and tc|cv|s|on, wc havc to wondcr whcthcr
¡
V /
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
th|s sagc ccll was prcd|ct|ng thc|r |mm|ncnt scanala, as wc
say |n Ìtaly'
Jhcrc's morc. Ìr|cd and collcagucs also found a ccll rc-
spond|ng spcc|ncally to Ìallc Bcrry an to hcr namc on thc
computcr mon|tor. 5uch rcsponscs suggcst that thcsc cclls
mayactually bccod|ngmorcfor mcmorythanfor v|s|on. Ìn-
dccd, thc|cnn|fcr ^n|ston cc||rcspondcd to p|cturcs of|cn-
n|fcr^n|stonandL|saKudrow,wh|chsccmcdtoassoc|atcthc
two actrcsscs bccausc of thc|r rolcs |n thc samc s|tcom,
Frien. 8 Jhcfasc|nat|ng nnd|ngscont|nuctopouroutofth|s
rcscarch w|th thc cp|lcpt|c paticnts. Jhc LCL^ group has
bccnablctodocumcnts|nglc-cclld|schargcsduringv|sual|m-
agcry (whcn you j ust th|nk about scc|ng placcs and pcop|c)
and dur|ng mcmory for placcs. ' Cclls that rcspond to ccrta|n
typcs of v|sual st|mu||÷say, to a facc÷a|so d|schargc whcn
thcpat|cnt |ss|mply|mag|n|ngthcfacc.
^s |t happcns, Ìt:hak and Ì hadcollaboratcd |n thc m|d-
I ºº0s|nastudyonhowv|sualandmotor|nformat|ongcts|n-
tcgratcdfrom thc |cft bra|n to thc r|ght bra|n and v|cc vcrsa
through thc corpus callosum, a largc and nat bundlc ofhun-
drcds of m|ll|ons of axons÷thc ncurons' long cxtcns|ons-
conncct|ng thc lcft and r|ght bra|n. Jh|s was bcforc Ìt:hak
startcd rccord|ng w|th dcpth clcctrodcs |n cp|lcpt|c pat|cnts
and bcforc Ì bccamc |ntcrcstcd |n m|rror ncurons. Cbv|ously,
Ì kncw about h|s ncw work and hc kncw about m|nc, and |n
rctrospcct |t sccms almost |ncv|tablc that at somc po|nt wc
would collaboratc aga|n |n an attcmpt to rccord |nd|v|dual
m|rrorncurons, butwc put thc prospcct as|dc for a couplc of
ycars whcn |t nrst camc up. Jhcrc sccmcd to bc a fatal m|s-
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D T H E W I RE D B RA I N
match of rcqu|rcmcnts. My |dca was to look at thc arcas |n
thchumanbra|nwcknow should conta|n m|rrorncurons,bc-
causcthcyarcthchuman homo|ogucs ofthcmonkcy m|rror
ncuron arcas. Lnfortunatcly for mc, It:hak typ|cally |m-
plantcd h|s clcctrodcs |n thc rcstr|ctcd sct of locat|ons that
tcnd to bc morc "cp|lcptogcn|c" than othcrs÷that |s, morc
||kc|y to bc thc sourcc ofthc sc|:urcs. Cur nccds wcrc at log-
gcrhcads. h|s mandatcd locat|ons wcrc not my rcqu|rcd loca-
t|ons, and hc pract|cally ncvcr |mplantcd clcctrodcs whcrc Ì
thought Ì nccdcd thcm. Jhc collaborat|on langu|shcd, and
whcn that happcns |n sc|cncc, |t |s oftcn hard to gct |t go|ng
aga|n. 5c|cnt|sts arc so oftcn swampcd w|th thc|r own rc-
scarch and ongo|ng col|aborat|ons that ncw oncs that may
sccmnatural and obv|ousncvcr gct go|ng w|thout somc k|nd
oftr|ggcrorlucky brcak.
Ìnour casc, thatgoodfortunc camc |n thc pcrsonof^rnc
Lkstrom, apostdoctoralfcllowwork|ngw|thIt:hakon cclls |n
thc human bra|n that arc |mportant for mcmory for placcs.
^rnchadj ustdcs|gncdatask|nwh|chpat|cntsdr|vcatax||n
a c|ty thcy do not know÷a v|rtual rcal|ty cnv|ronmcnt, of
coursc÷andhcnot|ccdthatwh|lconc ofh|spat|cntsprcsscd
alcy to pcrform somc aspccts ofthc task, ccrta|n cclls |n thc
fronta| lobchad vcryh|ghact|v|ty. Jhcy dcnn|tcly sccmcd to
bcmotorcc||s.^rnc a|so kncw about myworkonm|rrorncu-
rons and wondcrcd whcthcr wc could tcst m|rror ncuron
propcrt|cs|nthcfronta|ccllsrccordcdbyIt:hak |nthccp|lcp-
t|cpat|cnts. Ìurthcrmorc, ^mc was |ntcrcstcd |n thcgapbc-
twccns|nglc-cc|lrcscarchw|th|ntracran|alclcctrodcsandthc
cnscmblcrcsultsfrom bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnts us|ng fMKI.
¡
VV
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Ìnd|scuss|ng th|s potcnt|a|proj cctw|th h|m, Ì suddcn|yrca|-
|:cdhowÌ cou|duscÌt:hak`sc|cctrodcsaftcra||.
IN SE ARC H OF S U P ER M I RROR NE URONS
Ìfm|rror ncurons arc suchpowc

u|ncura|c|cmcntsthathc|p
us rccnact |n our own Ira|ns what othcr pcop|c do, as Ì bc-
||cvc thcy arc, thc cvo|ut|onary proccss that crcatcd such a
ncura| mcchan|sm must a|so havc crcatcd somc form ofcon-
tro| ovcr |t. Ìt wou|d bc h|gh|y |ncfnc|cnt for us, aftcr a||, to
|m|tatc obscrvcd act|ons a|| thc t|mc. Morcovcr, |m|tat|on
takcs many forms, and somc of thcsc forms arc h|gh|y com-
p|cx. ^p L|j kstcrhu|s, a soc|a| psycho|og|st from Ìo||and,
draws a d|st|nct|on bctwccn thc comp|cx forms of |m|tat|on
hc cal|s thc |m|tat|on "h|gh road, " as opposcd to thc "|ow
road" of stra|ghtforward motor |m|tat|on ( grasp|ng thc cup,
for cxamp|c) . Kcgard|ng h|s h|gh road, L|j kstcrhu|s gathcrcd
an |mprcss|vc array of bchav|ora| data connrm|ng var|ous
forms of comp|cx m|m|cry |n human bchav|or. Lct mc g|vc
you j ust onc fasc|nat|ng cxamp|c. Ìn a scr|cs ofcxpcr|mcnts,
onc group of part|c|pants was ask

d to th|nk about co||cgc
profcssors, whoarctyp|ca||y assoc|atcdw|th intc|||gcncc, and
wr|tc downcvcryth|ngthatcamc tom|nd,andasccondgroup
was askcd to do thc samc rcgard|ng socccr hoo||gans÷thosc
unru|y and dcstruct|vcfanswho arc typ|ca||y assoc|atcd w|th
stup|d|ty ( or at |cast w|th vcry stup|d bchav|or) . Jhcn both
groupswcrcaskcdascr|csof"gcncra|know|cdgc"qucst|ons, a
task ostcns|bly unrc|atcd to thc nrst onc. But |t tumcd out
Z 0 0
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D TH E W I RE D B RA I N
that thcrc was a rc|at|onsh|p. thc part|c|pants who had con-
ccntratcdcar||cronco||cgcprofcssorsoutperored thcpart|c-
|pantswhohadbccnth|nk|ngaboutsocccrhoo||gans.Ìndccd,
thc "co||cgc profcssor" part|c|pants outpcrformcd a contro|
groupthatcamcfrcshtothcgcncra|know|cdgcqucst|ons,and
th|scontro|group |ntumoutpcrformcd thc "socccr hoo||gan"
part|c|pants.
Conc|us|on. j ust th|nk|ng about co||cgc profcssors makcs
you smartcr, whcrcas th|nk|ng about socccr hoo||gans makcs
you dumbcr' ^p L|j kstcrhu|s summar|:cs h|s rcscarch by
say|ng, "Kc|cvant rcscarch has shown by now that |m|tat|on
can makc us s|ow, fast, smart, stup|d, good at math, bad at
math, hc|pm|, rudc, po||tc, |ong-w|ndcd, host||c, aggrcss|vc,
coopcrat|vc, compct|t|vc, conform|ng, nonconform|ng, con-
scrvat|vc, forgctfu|, carcfu|, carc|css, ncat, and s|oppy. "'
`
Jhat`s qu|tc a ||st, and Ì bc||cvc that th|s constant automat|c
m|m|cry |s |ndccd an cxprcss|on ofsomc form ofncura| m|r-
ror|ng. ^t thc samc t|mc, such h|gh-road |m|tat|on oftcn |n-
vo|vcsascr|csoffa|r|ycomp|cxandsubt|cbchav|ors, and |t|s
hardtobc||cvcthcycanbc|mp|cmcntcdbythc"monkcyscc,
monkcy do" cc||s d|scovcrcd |n Ìarma. Lvcn though somc
m|rror ncurons |n monkcys do show a morc soph|st|catcd
form ofnr|ng÷rcca|| thc "|og|ca||yrc|atcd" cc||s that nrc not
for thc samc obscrvcd and cxccutcd act|on, butfor |og|ca||y
rc|atcdoncs, suchasp|ac|ngfoodonthc tab|candgrasp|ng|t
and br|ng|ng |t to thc mouth÷onchas thc fcc||ng that cvcn
th|s pattcm |s hard|y sumc|cnt for |m|tat|ng comp|cx aspccts
ofhumanbchav|or.
Ì dcc|dcdthatthcsubt|c |m|tat|onofcomp|cxbchav|orwc
Z 0 ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
humans doa||thc t|mc vcry ||kc|yrcqu|rcs abroadcrconccpt
of thc m|rror ncuron systcm, onc that cncompasscs cc||s
whosc ro|c |s contro| and modu|at|on of morc c|ass|ca| and
s|mp|cr m|rror ncurons. Jh|s h|ghcr ordcr ofm|rror ncurons
maybcca||cd supcrm|rrorncurons, notbccauscthcyhavcsu-
pcrpowcrs, but bccausc thcymaybcconccptua||:cdas amnc-
t|ona|ncurona| |aycr "on topof" thcc|ass|ca|m|rror ncurons,
contro|||ng and modu|at|ng thc|r act|v|ty. ^ftcr dcvc|op|ng
thcsc |n|t|a||dcas onsupcrm|rrorncurons,Ì askcd,asanyd|c-
hard bra|n mappcrwou|dask, whcrc thcscsupcrm|rror ncu-
ronsm|ghtbc|nthcbra|n. Ì camcupw|ththrccbra|nrcg|ons
that arc |ocatcd |n thc fronta| |obc ( thc front of thc bra|n)
and arc conncctcd w|th thc fronta| m|rror ncuron arca. Jhc
namcsofthcsc bra|n rcg|ons arc. thc orb|tohonta|cortcx, thc
antcr|or c|ngu|atc cortcx, and thc prcsupp|cmcntary motor
arca. ^ftcr ta|k|ngw|th^mc Lkstrom abouth|ssuggcst|on, Ì
rca||:cdthat a|| ofthcsc rcg|onsare |nthcfronta| |obc arcas |n
wh|ch Ìt:hak Ìr|cd |mp|ants h|s c|cctrodcs. Ì bccamc awarc
that wc cou|d goaftcrnot thc c|ass|ca|m|rrorncurons |nvcs-
t|gatcd |n thc monkcy, but rathcr thcsc hypothct|ca| supcr
m|rror ncurons. Jhc Ìr|cd-Ìacobon| co||aborat|on was back
on track' Vc havc so far obta|ncd rccord|ngs for approx|-
matc|ys|xtys|ng|ccc||sthatshowm|rrorncuronpropcrt|cs|n
thc fronta| |obc arcas hypothcs|:cd for supcr m|rror ncuron
act|v|ty. 5omcofthcsc cc||s havc avcry |ntcrcst|ngpattcmof
ncurona| nr|ng. Jhc nr|ng ratc |ncrcascs wh||c thc pat|cnt
pcrforms thc act|on, as |n monkcys. Ìn sharp contrast w|th
m|rror ncurons |n monkcys, howcvcr, thcsc cc||s shut down
cnt|rc|y wh||c thc pat|cnt obscrvcs thc act|on. ' ' Jh|s pattcm
Z 0 Z
S U P E R M I RRO RS A N D T H E W I RE D B RA I N
of act|v|ty suggcsts that thcsc cc||s may havc an |nh|b|tory
ro|cdur|ng act|onobscrvat|on. By shutt|ngthcmsc|vcsdown,
thcy may tc|| thc morc c|ass|ca| m|rror ncurons, and othcr
motorncuronsaswc||,thatthcobscrvcdact|onshou|dnotbc
|m|tatcd. Ìurthcrmorc, th|s d|ncrcnt|a| cod|ng for act|on of
thc sc|f ( |ncrcascd nr|ng ratc) and for act|ons ofothcrs (dc-
crcascdnr|ngratc) mayrcprcscntawondcrm||ys|mp|cncura|
d|st|nct|onbctwccnsc|fand othcr|mp|cmcntcdbythcscspc-
c|a| typcs ofsupcr m|rror ncurons. ^t thc cnd ofchaptcr 5,
Ì proposcd that m|rror ncurons hc|p carvc out a propcrscnsc
ofsc|fand othcrfromthc pr|mary |ntcrsubj cct|vc scnsc ofus.
Jh|s proccss|s most ||kc|y|mp|cmcntcdby thcsc spcc|a|supcr
m|rror ncurons. Ìndccd, thc bra|n arcas from wh|ch wc
rccordcd thcsc cc||s arc thc |cast dcvc|opcd |n car|y |nfancy
and show thc mostdramat|cdcvc|opmcnta|changcs |atcron.
Jhcprcsupp|cmcntarymotorarca |s a|soknownto bc |m-
portantforputt|ngs|mp|cact|onstogcthcr|ntomorccomp|cx
motor scqucnccs. Jhc rccord|ngs of m|rror|ng rcsponscs |n
somc ofthcsc cc||s cspcc|a||y |ntr|guc mc. M|rror ncurons |n
th|s rcg|on ( or, bcttcr, supcr m|rror ncurons |n th|s rcg|on)
wou|d sccm to bc thc |dca| bra|n cc||s for organ|:|ng s|mp|cr
|m|tat|vcact|ons÷thc |owroad÷|ntocomp|cxforms of|m|-
tat|vcbchav|or÷thch|ghroad.
Lnfortunatc|y, not a|| thc comp|cx forms of|m|tat|vc bc-
hav|orarcgoodforyouorforus ( soc|ctyat|argc) . Ìt|st|mcto
cxp|orc m|rror|ng as a soc|a| phcnomcnon that may |nducc
what |sca||cd|nsc|cnt|nctcrms "prob|cmbchav|or. "
Z 0
}
1 H
T h e B a d a n d the U g l y :
Vi ol enc e a n d Dr u g A b use
T HE B A D : T HE CONTROVERS Y A BOU T
ME DI A VIOL ENC E
l
I nthc spr|ng ofZ00Z, afourtccn-ycar-o|dstudcntattcnd|nga
I pr|vatcCatho||cschoo| |nÌranccwastorturcdbytwoc|ass-
matcs who cons|dcrcd hcr "too prctty. " Jhc kn|fc thcy uscd
rcscmb|cdthc onc uscd |nthc mov|cScream, wh|chthc o|dcr
ofthc two torturcrs had apparcnt|y j ust sccn. Jhcsc two g|r|s
camc from stab|c m|dd|c-c|ass fam|||cs, stud|cd at an c||tc
school, andhad ncvcr bccn accuscd ofany act of v|o|cncc.
Jhcn, a coup|cofwccks |atcrand on anothcrcont|ncnt, two
tccnagc boys wcnt on tr|a| |n Þorth Ìavcrh|||, Þcw Ìamp-
sh|rc, for thc murdcrs of co||cgc profcssors Ìa|f and 5usan
Lantop. Jhc Lantops wcrc k|||cd |n thc|r homc, by mu|t|p|c
stabb|ngs, apparcnt|y dur|ng an attcmptcd robbcry. Lur|ng
thc|cga|procccd|ngs, |tcmcrgcdthatthcboysowncdandcn-
T H E B A D A N D T H E U G LY
j oycdp|ay|ngw|than|ntcract|vcandcspcc|a||yrca||st|cv|dco
gamc |nwh|chthc p|aycrstabsh|sv|ct|ms andwatchcs thcm
b|ccd todcath. '
Vcrc thcsc two cr|mcs |nstanccs of"|m|tat|vc v|o|cncc"
|nduccdbymcd|av|o|cncc'Cbv|ous|y,nobodycanhavcadc-
nn|t|vc answcr. Causc-and-cncct rc|at|onsh|ps can bc com-
p|cx, and wc now havc a |argc ||tcraturc, fcatur|ng a w|dc
var|cty ofop|n|ons, on th|s qucst|on. Jhcsc stud|cs fa|| |nto
thrcc maj or catcgor|cs. Cnc fcaturcs cxpcr|mcnta| man|pu|a-
t|on ofcxposurc to v|o|cncc. Jhc strcngth ofthcsc stud|cs |s
thatthcyarc vcrywc||contro||cdandcan asscss thccffcctsof
cxposurc to v|o|cncc on subscqucnt man|fcstat|ons of v|o-
|cncc|nafa|r|y accuratc way. Jhc|rwcakncss |sthatthcart|-
nc|a| |aboratorysctt|ngscannotfu||yrcp||catcthccomp|cx|ty
ofrca|-||fc s|tuat|ons. ^ sccondcarcgory |s corrc|at|ona|stud-
|cs, |nwh|chv|o|cntbchav|orandcxposurctomcd|av|o|cncc
arc mcasurcd |na |argc numbcrof|nd|v|dua|s. Jhc|rstrcngth
|s that thcy |ook for rc|at|onsh|ps bctwccn mcd|a v|o|cncc
and v|o|cntbchav|or |n rca| ||fc. Jhc|rwcakncss |s that thcy
cannot fu||y dcmonstratc whcthcr thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn
cxposurc and bchav|or |s duc to thc causa| |nf|ucncc of thc
mcd|aortothc |nc||nat|onof|nhcrcnt|yv|o|cncc-pronc |nd|-
v|dua|s to watch v|o|cnt mcd|a and to p|ay v|o|cnt v|dco
gamcs. Jhc th|rd typc ofstudytr|cs to addrcss thc prob|cms
cncountcrcd |n thc othcrtwo byrcpcatcd|ymcasur|ng ovcra
|ong pcr|od of t|mc v|o|cnt bchav|or and cxposurc to mcd|a
v|o|cncc |n|argcgroupsofsubj ccts, typ|ca||yhundrcds.Jhcsc
stud|cs canthcrcforc dctcrm|nc whcthcr thc cxposurc to mc-
d|av|o|cncc actua||y prcccdcs v|o|cntbchav|or.
Z 0
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Ìcrhaps thc bcst way to rcach somc conc|us|ons on th|s
comp|cx and |mportant |ssuc |s to |ntcgratc thc |nformat|on
from thcsc stud|cs and to |ook for any cons|stcncy |n thc|r
nnd|ngs. Ìndo|ngsonow,Ì w||| addrcssthcqucst|onmostpcr-
t|ncnt for th|s book. Cou|d m|rror ncurons bc part of thc
prob|cm'
Jhc rcsu|tsofthc contro||cdcxpcr|mcntsw|th ch||drcn|n
|aboratory sctt|ngs could not bc morc clcar and uncqu|vocal.
cxposurctomcd|av|o|cncchasastrongcnccton|m|tat|vcv|-
o|cncc. Jyp|ca||y, thcsc cxpcr|mcnts arc pcrformcd by show-
|ngch||drcn a short mov|c. 5omc ofthc mov|cs arc v|o|cnt,
othcrsarcnot.Jhcch||drcnarcthcnobscrvcdwh||c|ntcract-
|ngw|thoncanothcrorwh||cp|ay|ngw|thobj ccts ||kcBobo
dolls, wh|ch spr|ng up aftcr bc|ng knockcd down. ^ cons|s-
tcnt nnd|ng |s typ|ca||y obscrvcd |n thcsc cxpcr|mcnts. Jhc
ch||drcnwho watchcd thc v|o|cntshort mov|cs d|sp|ay much
morc aggrcss|vc subscqucnt bchav|ortoward both pcop|c and
obj ccts than thc ch||drcn who watchcd nonv|o|cnt short
mov|cs. Jh|s cffcct of mcd|a v|o|cncc on |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc
|s obscrvcd |n ch||drcn from prcschoo| to ado|csccncc, |n
both boys and g|r|s, |n both natural|y aggrcss|vc and nonag-
grcss|vc ch||drcn, and |n d|ncrcnt raccs. Jhc rcsu|ts arc qu|tc
conv|nc|ng.'
Vhat|s|cftunanswcrcdbythcscstud|cs|sthcrca|-||fc |m-
pactofmcd|av|o|cncc on pcop|c`s ( |nc|ud|ngo|dcrpcop|c`s )
actua| conduct |n thc wor|d. ^rc thc cnccts dcmonstratcd |n
thc cxpcr|mcnta| sctup |ong-|ast|ng or trans|cnt ' ^rt|nc|a| or
rca|-wor|d'Jhcnnd|ngsfromthc corrc|at|ona|stud|cssuggcst
thatcausa|rc|at|onsh|p |s |ong-|ast|ng andrca|-wor|d. Ìor |n-
Z 0 Ó
TH E B A D A N D TH E U G LY
stancc, a study thatrctrospcct|vc|yana|y:cd thc rashofbomb
thrcats and othcr thrcats ofschoo| v|o|cncc among Ìcnnsy|-
van|a schoo| d|str|cts fo||ow|ng thc Co|umb|nc I|gh 5choo|
massacrcrcportcdmorcthanJ50thrcatsofschoo|v|o|cncc|n
thc nfty days aftcr thc Co|umb|nc massacrc, |n compar|son
w|th thc onc or two thrcats pcrycar cst|matcd by schoo| ad-
m|n|strators bcforc thc massacrc. Ìurthcrmorc, ch||drcn who
watch morc mcd|a v|o|cncc tcnd to bc morc aggrcss|vc than
othcr ch||drcn. Jhcsc nnd|ngs arc h|gh|y rcproduc|b|c across
stud|cs and cvcn across countr|cs. ' Ìa|r|ng thc nnd|ngs from
thc corrc|at|ona|stud|csw|th thc nnd|ngsfrom thc |aboratory
cxpcr|mcnts w|th ch||drcn docs tcmpt us to conc|udc that
mcd|a v|o|cncc |nsp|rcs |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc, but thc bcst cm-
p|r|ca| data must comc hom thc |ong|tud|na| stud|cs that |n-
vcst|gatc thc corrc|at|on bctwccn watch|ng mcd|a v|o|cncc
and v|o|cnt bchav|orover time .
Cnc of thc vcry nrst such stud|cs was |n|t|atcd |n Þcw
York 5tatc |nthc I ºó0sand|nc|udcda|mosta thousandk|ds.
Lvcnwh||c contro|||ng |n|t|a| aggrcss|vcncssandothcrmaj or
var|ab|cs, such as cducat|on and soc|a| c|ass, th|s study
dcmonstratcd that watch|ng mcd|a v|o|cncc |n car|y ch||d-
hood was corrc|atcd w|th aggrcss|vc and ant|soc|a| bchav|or
approx|matc|y tcn ycars |atcr, aftcr h|gh schoo| graduat|on.
Jhcsc nnd|ngs arc a|rcady |mprcss|vc, but thcrc |s morc. thc
samc boys wcrc fo||owcd for morc than anothcr dccadc, fora
tota| oftwcnty-twoycars offo||ow-ups|ncc |n|t|a|cnro||mcnt
|n thc study, and aga|n thc rcsu|ts wcrc c|car-cut. both car|y
v|cw|ng ofmcd|a v|o|cncc and car|y aggrcss|vc bchav|or cor-
rc|atcd w|thcr|m|na||ty atagc th|rty'
Z 0
/
M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
^ latcrstudylookcdatthcdiferences across nations |n|m|-
tat|vc v|olcncc |nduccd by mcd|a v|o|cncc. Lvcn g|vcn thc
cu|turald|ffcrcnccsandthcd|ncrcnccs|nthc stylc ofthctc|c-
v|s|on shows |n thc countr|cs |n thc study÷thc Ln|tcd
5tatcs, ^ustral|a, Ìsracl, Ì|nland, and Ìoland÷s|m|lar rcsu|ts
wcrc obscrvcd across nat|ons w|th rcgard to car|y cnccts on
|m|tat|vc v|o|cncc of watch|ng mcd|a v|olcncc. Ìowcvcr,
thcrc wcrc somc d|ncrcnccs across nat|ons, suggcst|ng that
thccncctsofthc cultural cnv|ronmcntcan modu|atc thc |m-
pactofmcd|av|o|cncc. ^ str|k|ngrcsu|twas obta|ncdw|th|n
Ìsracl, whcrcthc cnccts ofwatch|ngmcd|av|o|cncc wcrc ob-
scrvcd |n ch|ldrcn l|v|ng |n c|t|cs, but not |nch|ldrcnl|v|ng
|nak|bbut:. `
^ st|ll morc rcccnt long|tud|na| study on ^mcr|can ch||-
drcnhas prov|dcd somc ofthc most |mprcss|vc cmp|r|ca| rc-
sults|nsupportofthchypothcs|sthatmcd|av|o|cncc|nduccs
|m|tat|vc v|olcncc. Jh|swas a nftccn-ycarfollow-up studyon
ch|ldrcn`s cxposurc to mcd|av|o|cncc. 5cvcra|k|ndsofasscss-
mcnts ofv|olcncc andaggrcss|onwcrc uscd to corrclatc thc
bchav|or of thc subj ccts whcn thcy wcrc twcnty-onc to
twcnty-nvc ycars old and thc|r cxposurc to mcd|a v|o|cncc
whcnthcywcrc s|xto n|ncycarso|d.Jhc studyfoundstrong
corre|at|ons, cvcn aftcr contro|||ng for confound|ng factors
such as |nd|v|dual aggrcss|vcncss, |ntc|l|gcncc, poor parcnt-
|ng, andsoc|alc|ass.
Jakcntogcthcr,thcnnd|ngsfrom|aboratorystud|cs,corrc-
lat|onal stud|cs, and long|tud|nal stud|cs a|l support thc hy-
pothcs|s that mcd|a v|olcncc |nduccs |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc. Ìn
fact, thc stat|st|cal "cncct s|:c"÷a mcasurc ofthc strcngth of
Z 0 0
T H E B A D A N D T H E U G LY
thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn two var|ab|cs÷for mcd|a v|o|cncc
and aggrcss|onfar cxcccds thc cncct s|:cs ofpass|vc smok|ng
and|ungcanccr, orcalc|um |ntakcandbonc mass,or asbcstos
cxposurc and canccr.º Still, a|| of th|s |mprcss|vc bchav|ora|
data tcnd to bc |ookcd at w|th somc skcpt|c|sm, |f not out-
r|ght host|||ty, oftcn w|th thc argumcnt that corrc|at|on, no
mattcr howstrong, |snotncccssar||ycausat|on. Jh|s thcorct|-
cal po|nt |s corrcct, ofcoursc÷and |t was a|so thc argumcnt
uscd by thc tobacco |ndustryfor thc bcttcr part ofthc cnt|rc
twcnt|cth ccntury to d|sputc thc ||nk bctwccn smok|ng and
|ung canccr. 5o thc skcpt|c|sm and host|||ty m|ght bc honcst
or thcy m|ght bc dup||c|tous, but thcy havc bccn hc|pcd c|-
thcrwayby thc |ackofncurosc|cncc data rcvcal|ng thc un-
dcr|y|ng ncurob|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms of |m|tat|on. Þow that
gap |n our know|cdgc |s shr|nk|ng rap|d|y, thanks to thc d|s-
covcry of m|rror ncurons. Jhc |mp||cat|ons ofthc d|scovcry
arc far-rcach|ng, not on|yforour undcrstand|ng of |m|tat|vc
v|o|cncc and poss|b|c dcc|s|ons to addrcss |t, but cvcn |n
ph||osoph|ca| tcrms. Many |ong-chcr|shcd not|ons about hu-
man autonomy arc c|car|y thrcatcncd by thc ncurosc|cnt|nc
scrut|ny of thc b|o|og|ca| roots ofhumanbchav|or. Cur no-
t|onoffrcc w||| |sfundamcnta|toourwor|dv|cw,yctthcmorc
wc |cam about m|rror ncurons, thc morc wc rca||:c that wc
arc not rat|ona|, frcc-act|ng agcnts |n thc wor|d. M|rror ncu-
rons |n our bra|ns producc automat|c |m|tat|vc |nnucnccs of
wh|ch wc arc oftcn unawarc and that ||m|t our autonomy by
mcans ofpowcrfu|soc|a||nnucnccs.Vc humans arc soc|a|an-
|ma|s, yct oursoc|a||tymakcs ussoc|a|agcnts w|th ||m|tcdau-
tonomy. 5hou|dwcdcnyth|s b|o|og|ca|rca||tyonthc grounds
Z 0
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
that cxp|a|n|ng thc soc|a| |nnucnccs that producc cv|| may
cvcntua||y condonc |t' Ì bc||cvc |t wou|d bc morc |og|ca| to
uscourundcrstand|ngofthcb|o|og|ca|rootsofour||m|tcdso-
c|a| autonomy toprevent cv||. Jo do so, wc nccd to abandon
thc |ong-stand|ng bc||cf at thc bas|s of thc "argumcnt from
autonomy," wh|ch |s thc top|c of thc ncxt scct|on of th|s
chaptcr.
A R E WE AU T ONOMOU S AG E NT S ?
MIRROR NE URONS AND F R E E WI L L
Most d|scuss|ons of |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc d|st|ngu|sh bctwccn
thc short-tcrm cnccts of watch|ng mcd|a v|o|cncc and thc
|ong-tcrm cnccts. C|car|y, c|ass|ca| m|rrorncurons and supcr
m|rrorncuronsarc p|aus|b|y |nvo|vcd w|th two ofthc short-
tcrm cnccts. |mmcd|atc |m|tat|on of v|o|cnt bchav|or and a
gcncra| arousa| ow|ng toobscrv|ngv|o|cncc.Vc havc a|rcady
sccn|nscvcra|contcxtsthcpcrvas|vcnaturcofhuman|m|ta-
t|onandthccr|t|ca| ro|c ofm|rror ncurons |n th|s |m|tat|on.
Jhcncura|propcrt|csofthcsccc||scancas||y cxp|a|nthc|m-
mcd|atc |m|tat|on ofv|o|cnt bchav|or, cspcc|a||y s|mp|c acts
ofv|o|cncc,j ustasthcycancxp|a|n, aswchavcsccn, thc m|r-
ror|ngofsm|||ng,footshak|ng,faccrubb|ng, andsoon. Ìfthc
chamc|concncct makcs us |m|tatc whatwc scc, wc a|so nccd
somc way to |nh|b|t such |m|tativc bchav|or. Cthcrw|sc wc
arc |n b|g troub|c. ^s wc havc j ust sccn |n chaptcr 7, onc of
thc maj or ro|cs ofsupcr m|rror ncurons may bc j ust such an
|nh|b|t|on of thc morc c|ass|ca| m|rror ncurons, such that
Z ¡ 0
T H E B A D A N D T H E U G LY
whcn wc scc somcbody c|sc mak|ng an act|on, wc do not
compu|s|vc|y|m|tatcthatact|on.Jhcobscrvat|onofv|o|cncc
|sprcsumcd tocausc arousa|.Jh|sarousa|, |ntum, mayfac|||-
tatc |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc by rcduc|ng thc |nh|b|tory act|v|ty of
supcrm|rror ncurons, suchthatthc |m|tat|on ofv|o|cnt bc-
hav|or |s |css cncct|vc|y |nh|b|tcd. ^|though nobody hasyct
pcrformcd an cxpcr|mcnt to tcstthcncura| mcchan|sms Ì am
propos|ng hcrc, thcy arc p|aus|b|c |n ||ght ofwhat wc know
about thc human m|rror ncuron systcm, and thcy cou|d bc
tcstcd|nbra|n|mag|ngcxpcr|mcnts |nthc ncarfuturc.
Cons|dcr now thc |ong-tcrm cffccts of mcd|a v|o|cncc.
C|ass|ca||y, thcsc havc bccnascr|bcdtocomp|cxformsof|m|-
tat|on|nwh|ch|nd|v|dua|sobscrv|ngaggrcss|vc bchav|ornot
onlyacqu|rccomp|cxcoord|natcdmotorbchav|orsthatmakc
thcm aggrcss|vc and v|o|cnt but a|so bccomc conv|nccd |n
thc proccss÷|n an unconsc|ous way÷thatsuchbchav|or |s a
good wayofso|v|ngsoc|a|prob|cms. Ì havchypothcs|:cd that
supcr m|rror ncurons cou|d account for th|s comp|cx |m|ta-
t|on by prov|d|ng thc gcncra||:cd capac|ty to put togcthcr
s|mp|cr forms of act|ons |n ordcr to producc a comp|cx, co-
ord|natcd pattcrn of bchav|or. Jhus both short-tcrm and
|ong-tcrmtypcsof|m|tat|vcbchav|or|nduccdbythcobscrva-
t|onofmcd|av|o|cnccsccmtomapfa|r|ywc||ontothc func-
t|ons ofm|rror ncurons and supcr m|rror ncurons. Ìrcv|ous|y
wc havc sccn how m|rror ncurons can undoubtcd|y bc good
forus,cnab||ngourfcc||ngsandact|onsofcmpathyforothcrs,
but thcy a|so prov|dc a compc|||ng ncurob|o|og|ca| mccha-
n|sm undcr|y|ng |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc |nduccd by mcd|a v|o-
|cncc. ^s Ì notcdcar||cr, howcvcr, thccv|dcncc for th|s ||nk
Z ¡ ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
hashad ahard t|mcga|n|ngtract|on, and thc argumcntbascd
on thc a||cgcd|y m|ss|ng proof of causa||ty prov|dcd good
covcrfora||k|ndsofactua|mot|vat|ons, |nc|ud|ngthcpowcr-
fu| nnanc|a| |ntcrcsts ofthc mcd|a |ndustry. \|o|cncc sc||s, so
|t |s c|car|y convcn|cnt to dcny a causa| ||nk bctwccn mcd|a
v|o|cnccandv|o|cntbchav|or.Jhcrc|sa|so thcconccrnthat
thc cmphas|s on mcd|a v|o|cncc may |cad toforms ofccnsor-
sh|p, avcryscr|ousqucst|on. 5ccond^mcndmcntpur|stsa|so
fcar (probab|yw|th goodrcason) that th|s |ssuc w||| |cak|nto
thc dcbatc ovcrgun contro| |n thc Ln|tcd 5tatcs. Ì|na||y, wc
arc natura||y |nc||ncd to th|nk of oursc|vcs as autonomous
|nd|v|dua|s who arc not go|ng to bc |nnucnccd |n any d|rcct,
s|av|sh,monkcy-scc,monkcy-dowaybywhatwe scc.Jhcdata
on |m|tat|vcv|o|cnccc|car|ythrcatcnth|sprcc|ousnot|on.
Ìndccd, |t has bccn argucd that cvcn w|th thc cv|dcncc
strong|y ||nk|ng mcd|a v|o|cncc to |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc, th|s
"argumcnt from autonomy" prcvcnts any form of |ntcrvcn-
t|on. Iarmfu| "spccch"÷|ntcndcdhcrc |navcrybroadscnsc,
|nc|ud|ng mov|cs, tc|cv|s|on, and v|dco gamcs÷|s typ|cal|y
protcctcd undcr thc assumpt|on that thc cnccts ofany k|nd
ofspcccharca|waysundcrgo|ngthcmcnta||ntcrmcd|at|onof
thc ||stcncrorv|cwcr.^ccord|ngtoth|srcason|ng, cvcn |nd|-
v|dua|sa|mostccrta|n|y"gu||ty"of|m|tat|vcv|o|cnccarcncv-
crthc|css fu||y rcspons|b|c for thc|r own act|ons, wh||c thc
mcd|a thatd|str|butcdthc |m|tatcdv|o|cncc|snotrcspons|b|c
at a||. ^ccord|ng to frcc-spccch thcor|sts, wc arc a|l rat|ona|,
autonomous, and consc|ous dcc|s|on makcrs. Iowcvcr, thc
data wc havc rcv|cwcd |n th|s book÷rang|ng from thc un-
consc|ous forms of |m|tat|on obscrvcd wh||c pcop|c |ntcract
Z ¡ Z
TH E B A D A N D TH E U G LY
soc|a||y to thc ncurob|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms ofm|rror|ng that
havc thc|rkcy ncura| c|cmcnts |n m|rror ncurons÷suggcst a
|cvc|ofuncontro||cdb|o|og|ca|automat|c|tythatmay undcr-
m|nc thc c|ass|ca| v|cw ofautonomous dcc|s|on mak|ng that
|satthc bas|s offrccw|||. '
Jhc |mp||cat|onsofthcsc cons|dcrat|onsarc obv|ous|y |m-
portantfor cvcrysoc|cty. Jhcybr|ngto thcforcgroundmnda-
mcnta| qucst|ons of cth|cs, j ust|cc w|th|n thc |cga| systcm,
and pub||c po||cy. Jhc qucst|ons ra|scd by thc d|scovcry of
m|rrorncuronsforccustorcth|nk,orat|casttocons|dcrw|th
ncw cycs, somc of our mndamcnta| assumpt|ons. Ìndccd, a
who|c ncw d|sc|p||nc |s cmcrg|ng, namcd ncurocth|cs. º Ìts
mcct|ngshavc sucht|t|csas "CurBra|nandLs. Þcurocth|cs,
Kcspons|b|||ty, and thc 5c|f" (hc|d at MÌJ |n Boston |n
Z005 ) .
Jhc c|ass|ca| conf||ct bctwccn thosc who cmphas|:c thc
b|o|og|ca|dctcrm|n|smofhumanbchav|orand thosc who |n-
s|st that our |dcas and soc|a| bchav|or r|sc abovc our ncuro-
b|o|og|ca| makcup has ncvcr cons|dcrcd thc poss|b|||ty that
our ncurob|o|ogy d|ctatcs our soc|a| bchav|or to bcg|n w|th.
Ì bc||cvc that a bcttcr undcrstand|ng of thc ncurob|o|og|ca|
mcchan|sms shap|ng human soc|a| bchav|or÷|n part|cu|ar
thc rcscarch on m|rror ncurons÷shou|d a|so d|rcct|y |nform
thc mak|ng of our soc|a| codcs, and Ì w||| c|aboratc on th|s
|n thc nna| chaptcr ofthc book. Cur |nst|nctforcmpathy |s
part ofthc good ncws stcmm|ng from m|rror ncurons. Ìm|ta-
t|vc v|o|cncc cou|d wc||bc thc bad ncws÷and thcrcmaybc
morc. ^nothcr poss|b|c ncgat|vc |mp||cat|on ofm|rror ncu-
ronsonourbchav|or|sthc|rro|c |nthcw|dcvar|ctyofadd|c-
Z ¡
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
t|vcbchav|orsand thcsubscqucntrc|apscs, towh|chwcarcso
pronc.
T HE UG LY: A DDIC T ION A ND IT S RE L A P SE
A F T ER Q UIT T ING
Cncofthcmaj orprob|cms |nthctrcatmcntofdrugadd|ct|on
|s rc|apsc. Ìna var|ctyofstud|csofadd|ct|ons to smok|ng, a|-
coho|, and drugs, thc ratc of rc|apsc aftcr a pcr|od of abst|-
ncnccvar|csfromJ0 pcrccnttoas much as 70 pcrccnt.Jhcsc
arc vcry |argc numbcrs. Vhat can bc donc to rcducc thcm'
Cn |og|ca|grounds, an csscnt|a|nrst stcp wou|dbc |dcnt|nca-
t|onofanymarkcrs thatcan tc||usahcadoft|mcwh|ch sub-
j ccts arcmorc ||kc|y to rc|apsc. 5uch |dcnt|ncat|onofat-r|sk
subj ccts wou|d a||ow morc |nd|v|dua||:cd and cncct|vc prc-
vcnt|vcmcasurcstorcducc rc|apsc.
Jhcrc |sat|castoncsuchmarkcr,andanobv|ousonc|t|s.
craving thcdr|nk, thcsmokc, thcnx. Ìcrhapssurpr|s|ng|y,not
a|| add|cts cxpcr|cncc, or at |castthcydon`t rcport, thcsamc
dcgrcc of crav|ng. Þot surpr|s|ng|y, though, thc grcatcr thc
rcs|dua|crav|ngdur|ngthc trcatmcnt foradd|ct|on, thc morc
||kc|ythc rc|apsc |atcr on. Ìncvcryday ||fc, crav|ng maybc |n-
duccdbyavar|ctyofsoc|a|cucs,suchasthc cucsp|ckcdupby
an add|ctcd smokcr from othcr smokcrs. ^mong smokcrs at-
tcmpt|ng to qu|torwho havc succcssm||y qu|tforapcr|odof
t|mc, |ntcract|on w|th othcr smokcrs, cspcc|a||y w|th|n thc
samc soc|a| group, |s onc ofthc most s|gn|ncantprcd|ctors of
rc|apscs.
'
Z ¡
4
TH E B A D A N D TH E U G LY
Ìn co||aborat|on w|th Ldythc London, a wor|d-rcnowncd
ngurc |n thc ncurob|o|ogy ofdrug add|ct|on, and |ohn Mon-
tcrosso, anothcr cxpcrt |n thc nc|d, my |ab at LCL^ |s cur-
rcnt|y cxp|or|ng thc hypothcs|s that m|rror ncurons may bc
rcspons|b|cforrc|apscs among smokcrs whohavc succcssm||y
qu|t thc hab|t. Cur ana|ys|s |s as fo||ows, and wc bc||cvc |t
probab|yapp||cstoa||sortsofadd|ct|ons.Vhcnformcrsmok-
crs watch othcr pcop|c smok|ng, thc|rm|rrorncurons arc au-
tomat|ca||y act|vatcd, bccausc fac|||tat|ng somc k|nd of|nncr
|m|tat|onofthc act|ons ofothcrs |swht mirror neurons do, as
wc havc sccn t|mc and aga|n. ^s a formcr smokcr, you havc
uscd your hands to ||ght a c|garcttc a m||||on t|mcs, and you
havcdoncth|swhcnyouwantcdto smokc. Jhc act|vat|onof
yourm|rrorncuronsthcrcforc a|so act|vatcsthc assoc|at|onof
thc motor p|ans rcqu|rcd to ||ght thc c|garcttc and br|ng |tto
thc mouth. Karc |ndccd |s thc smokcr who has j ust qu|t and
rcma|nsunancctcdbyscc|ng anothcrsmokcr ||ght up and |n-
ha|c that nrst dc||c|ous pun. ^ccord|ng to our thcory ofm|r-
rorncurons, suchob||v|ousncsswou|dbcv|rtua||y |mposs|b|c.
Jh|s ana|ys|s |cd us w|thout pausc to two hypothcscs rc-
gard|ngthc ||nks bctwccnm|rrorncuronsand smok|ng. Cnc,
m|rror ncuron arcas of smokcrs arc act|vatcd much morc
strong|y by thc s|ght ofothcr smokcrs, comparcd w|th m|rror
ncuron arcas ofnonsmokcrs. Jwo, thc h|ghcr thc act|v|ty |n
thc m|rror ncuron arcas of smokcrs, thc morc |ntcnsc thc
crav|ng to smokc. Þc|thcr of thosc hypothcscs w||| surpr|sc
thc rcadcr. Jhcy fo||ow ncccssar||y from cvcryth|ng wc havc
|carncd. Ìnchaptcr I , Ì |ntroduccdthccxpcr|mcnta|cv|dcncc
suggcst|ng that m|rror ncurons |n monkcys arc shapcd by cx-
Z ¡
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
pcr|cncc and can |carn ncw propcrt|cs. Ìn|t|a||y, thcsc cc||s
d|d not to rcspond to thc obscrvat|on ofact|onsthatd|d not
bc|ong to thc motor rcpcrto|rcofthc monkcy, such as us|ng a
too| top|ckupfood.Butthcnthcyd|d,and th|s ncwrcsponsc
ofsomc m|rror cc||s |s probab|y duc to thc factthat th|s par-
t|cu|armonkcyhas rcpcatcd|ysccnhumansus|ngtoo|s inthc
|ab ( |fon|y |n thc pcrs|stcntcxpcr|mcntcrs' attcmpts to c||c|t
ad|schargc |nthcan|ma|'s m|rrorncurons) .
Jhcrc |s a|so cv|dcncc that thc human m|rrorncuron sys-
tcm |s shapcd by cxpcr|cncc. Ìn a coup|c offamous |mag|ng
cxpcr|mcnts pcrformcd |n London, uRÌ was cmp|oycd to
mcasurc thc bra|n act|v|ty oftwo groups ofdanccrs watch|ng
v|dcos. Ìn thc nrst cxpcr|mcnt, thc sc|cnt|sts comparcd thc
bra|n act|v|ty ofc|ass|ca| ba||ct danccrs and capoc|ra cxpcrts
as thcywatchcd pcrformanccs ofcach art form. Capoc|ra |s a
Bra:|||an mart|a| art fcatur|ng unbc||cvab|y acrobat|c movcs
to thc accompan|mcnt of d|st|nct|y rhythm|c mus|c. Jhc
movcmcnts ofcapoc|raand c|ass|ca|ba||ctarc qu|tcd|ncrcnt,
and thc sc|cnt|sts |n London had thc c|cvcr |dca to usc th|s
fact |n thc|r m|rror ncuron study. Jhcy found that c|ass|ca|
ba||ct danccrs had h|ghcr m|rror ncuron act|v|ty than ca-
poc|ra cxpcrts wh||c watch|ng c|ass|ca| ba||ct v|dcos, wh||c
thc capoc|ra cxpcrts had thch|ghcr act|v|ty wh||c watch|ng
capoc|ra v|dcos. But wcrc thcsc d|ncrcnccs tru|y duc to thc
subj ccts' |dcnt|ncat|on w|th thc obscrvcd movcmcnts, or
cou|dthcyhavcbccns|mp|yrcsponscstocu|tura|d|ncrcnccs '
^ sccond study |nvo|v|ng on|y c|ass|ca| ba||ct danccrs ad-
drcsscd th|s qucst|on by ut|||:|ng thc fact that ma|c and
fcma|c ba||ct danccrs pcrform ccrta|n gcndcr-spcc|nc movc-
Z ¡ Ó
T H E B A D A N D T H E U G LY
mcnts. ( Mostobv|ous|y, on|y thc mcn |ift thc|rpartncrs, on|y
thc womcn dancc on toc. ) Ìn thc cxpcr|mcnt, mcn and
womcn ba||ct danccrs watchcd vidcos of on|y thosc ba||ct
movcmcntspcrformcdbyoncorthcothcrscx.Jhcrcsu|tsrc-
f|cctcdthc rcsu|tsofthc nrststudy.Jhcfcma|c ba||ctdanccrs
hadh|ghcrm|rrorncuronactivitythan thc mcnwhi|cwatch-
|ng thc|r d|st|nct|y fcma|c movcmcnts, and thc mcn had thc
h|ghcract|v|tywh||cwatch|ngthc|rownmovcmcnts.
^ rcccnt |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt w|th nurs|ng cxpcrts and
nov|ccswatch|ngnurs|ng activ|t|cs a|so found thatthcdcgrcc
of cxpcrt|sc modu|atcd bra|n act|v|ty |n thc obscrvcrs. ^||
thcsc bra|n |mag|ngdatac|car|y show that cxpcr|cncc shapcs
m|rrorncuronact|v|tywh||cwcobscrvcothcrspcrform|ngac-
t|ons. ' º Cnth|s bas|s a|onc, |t makcs scnsc to prcdict that
smokcrs havc grcatcr m|rror ncuron act|v|ty comparcd w|th
nonsmokcrs wh||c thcy watch othcrpcop|c smok|ngor ||ght-
|ng up a cigarcttc, and our prc||m|nary data support our prc-
d|ct|on. Ìor thc cxpcr|mcnt, wc showcd our subj ccts ( a|| of
whomsmokcat|castnftccnc|garcttcspcrday) ascricsoftcn-
sccondv|dco c||ps. Ìnha|fofthcsc, thc obscrvcd |nd|v|dua| |s
c|thcropcn|ng a packofc|garcttcs or smok|ng a c|garcttc ( |n
various cnv|ronmcnts, |ndoors and outdoors) . Ìn thc othcr
ha|f, thc obscrvcd ind|v|dua| |sopcn|ngasodacanorabott|c
ofwatcr,ordr|nk|ngsodaorwatcr.Cfcoursc, m|rrorncurons
wcrc act|vatcd by thc obscrvation of both typcs of actions,
smok|ng and dr|nk|ng, but m|rror ncuron arcas had much
h|ghcract|v|tydur|ng obscrvat|onofsmok|ng-rc|atcdact|ons.
Cn|y timc w||| tc|| whcthcr our sccond prcd|ct|on÷that
|s, thc h|ghcr thcact|vity |nm|rrorncuronarcaswh||cwatch-
Z ¡
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|ng othcr pcop|c smok|ng, thc morc |ntcnsc thc crav|ng to
smokc÷w|||bcsupportcdbythc cmp|r|ca|data. Ìfthcprcd|c-
t|on |s corrcct, wc may obta|n a potcnt|a||y |mportant b|o-
markcrfor crav|ng and, poss|b|y, for thc ||kc||hood ofrc|apsc
aftcr qu|tt|ng. Cbta|n|ng such a b|omarkcr may hc|p thosc
profcss|ona|swork|ngw|thadd|ctsto|dcnt|p|nd|v|dua|swho
nccdasomcwhatdincrcntformoftrcatmcnt,morcta||orcdto
thc|r |nd|v|dua| nccds. ^|tcmat|vc|y, thcsc |nd|v|dua|s may
bchc|pcd to prcvcntrc|apscs by act|vc|y |ntcrvcn|ng |n thc|r
cnv|ronmcnts to rcmovc thc soc|a| cucs that arc morc ||kc|y
to |nducc a rc|apsc. C|vcn thc h|ghratc ofrc|apsc for pract|-
ca||y cvcry known form of add|ct|on, a bcttcr undcrstand|ng
ofthc ro|cofm|rrorncurons |n rc|apscs w||| bc cxtrcmc|y |m-
portant |n thc trcatmcnt ofadd|ct|vc bchav|or. ^nd |fm|rror
ncurons canpotcnt|a||y tc|| us whcthcran |nd|v|dua| |smorc
or|csspronc tofa||backonh|sorhcradd|ct|on,oncwondcrs
|f thcy can tc|| us cvcn morc about how a|| ofus makc our
dcc|s|ons.
Z ¡ 0
Mi r ror i ng Wa nti ng a n d L i ki ng
T HE NE UROS C I E NC E OF B U YING
avc you cvcr bccn |n a focus group' Mc nc|thcr, tut Ì
know how thcy work, and Ì know thcy arc not rc||ab|e,
for scvcra| rcasons. I|rst, pcop|c havc thc |nc||nat|on to say
whatthcybc||cvcthc|ntcrv|cwcrormodcratorwantstohcar,
rathcr thanwhatthcy rca||y th|nk. Jhc soc|a| prcssurc to say
thcpropcrth|ngoftcnovcrwhc|ms trucop|n|ons. 5ccond, thc
dynam|cs offocus groups arc |nhcrcnt|y "no|sy, " and wc now
know about thc powcr of|m|tat|on |n human soc|a| |ntcrac-
t|ons. Vhcnonc a|pha-typcpart|c|pant|nafocusgroup |scs-
pcc|a||y |ns|stcnt |n cxprcss|ng h|s orhcrop|n|on,thcothcrs
tcndto t||t |nthatd|rcct|on. Ìt|shumannaturc, and Ì amnot
a|onc |n not|ng how th|s naturc anccts focus groups. Mar-
kct|ng profcss|ona|s know wc|| thc p|tfa||s of thc c|ass|c
markct|ng too|s that rcqu|rc onc pcrson to ask qucst|ons of
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
anothcrpcrson,butwhatc|scdothcyhavctoworkw|th'Ln-
t||now, vcry||tt|c.
^s |t happcns, Ì bc||cvc thc prob|cm for thc pros |s cvcn
worscthan thcy|mag|nc. ^nothcrpowcrfu| aspcct ofhuman
bchav|or comp||catcs thc |dca of rc|y|ng on what pcop|c say
|n an attcmpt to undcrstand thc|rdcc|s|on-mak|ngproccsscs.
5omcrcadcrsmaynotapprcc|atcwhcrcth|sd|scuss|on|snow
hcad|ng, bccausc of coursc wc want to th|nk of oursc|vcs
as autonomous agcnts, |n contro| of our own ||vcs and ab|c
to makc dcc|s|ons |n a rat|ona| and consc|ous way. Ìow-
cvcr, thcrc |s p|cnty of cv|dcncc to suggcst that th|s |s not
ncccssar||y thc casc. ^ wca|th ofpsycho|og|ca| stud|cs show
that our ab|||ty to rc-prcscnt our own or|g|na| cxpcr|cnccs
and dcc|s|on-mak|ng proccsscs may bc ||m|tcd. ' |onathan
5choo|cr÷on thc bas|s of cmp|r|ca| cv|dcncc from scvcra|
|abs÷proposcs two |cvc|sofd|ssoc|at|onbctwccnconsc|ous|y
cxpcr|cnccd mcnta| proccsscs and mcta-consc|ous mcnta|
proccsscs( that|s, rc-prcscntcdmcnta|proccsscs, aswhcnsub-
j ccts cxp|a|n why thcy th|nk that onc ad |s bcttcr than thc
othcrs) . Ìcca||s thcnrsttypc tcmpora|d|ssoc|at|on.^typ|ca|
cxamp|c |s whcn wc nrst :onc out wh||c rcad|ng and thcn
catch our m|nd wandcr|ng and pay|ng no attcnt|on to thc
wr|ttcn pagc. Jhc suddcn rca||:at|on that our m|nd has wan-
dcrcd rcvca|s a tcmporary |ack of cxp||c|t awarcncss of:on-
|ngout.
5choo|cr ca||s thc sccond typc trans|at|ona| d|ssoc|at|on.
Jh|s typc of d|ssoc|at|on |s morc rc|cvant to my argumcnt.
Jhc ma|n |dca hcrc |s that |nformat|on gcts |ost or d|stortcd
whcn subj ccts cxp|a|n w|th words thc|r own cxpcr|cncc.
Z Z 0
M I RRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
Jhcsc trans|at|ona| d|ssoc|at|ons arc cspcc|a||y cv|dcnt whcn
subj cctsrcport cxpcr|cnccs that arc |nhcrcnt|yd|mcu|tto put
|nto words, such as faccs, co|ors, cars, vo|ccs, w|ncs, and so
on. 5tud|cs havc shown that dcta||cd vcrba| dcscr|pt|ons of
var|ous cxpcr|cnccs |mpa|r mcmory. Jh|s phcnomcnon |s
ca||cd vcrba| ovcrshadow|ng. Ìn thcsc cxpcr|mcnts, part|c|-
pantsnrstwatcha p|cturc ofa facc andthcnarcc|thcr askcd
to dcscr|bc thcfacc|ndcta||ortocngagc |nanostcns|b|yun-
rc|atcd vcrba| task. Ìn a subscqucnt rccogn|t|on tcst ofa d|f-
fcrcntp|cturcofthcsamcfacc, thcsubj cctsthathaddcscr|bcd
thcfacc |ndcta||pcrformcdworscthanthc othcrsubj ccts.
Jhcrc arc scvcra| k|nds of trans|at|ona| d|ssoc|at|on. Lct
mc g|vcyouon|y two cxpcr|mcnta| cxamp|cs. th|nk|nga|oud
dur|ng prob|cm so|v|ng has bccn provcn to d|srupt pcrfor-
mancc,bc|ngsub||m|na||ypr|mcdw|th thc words "th|rst" and
"dry" has shown |ncrcascd dr|nk|ng, but at thc samc t|mc |t
d|d not ancctthc subj ccts` sc|f-rcportcdth|rst.
^rcccntstudydcmonstratcdthcd|ssoc|at|onbctwccnvcr-
ba| rcports and pcrccpt|on |n a dramat|c way. Ma|c subj ccts
wcrc askcd to cva|uatc thc attract|vcncss oftwofcma|c faccs,
sc|cct|ng thcmorcattract|vc facc on thcbas|s ofp|cturcs on
cards. Ìmmcd|atc|y aftcr thcsubj cctmadch|s cho|cc, thccx-
pcr|mcntcrrcmovcdthccards.^fcwscconds|atcr,thccxpcr-
|mcntcr showcd thc subj cct onc of thc two cards and askcd
h|m to cxp|a|n why th|s facc was morc attract|vc. Jhc tr|cky
partofth|scxpcr|mcnt|sthat |nsomc tr|a|s thc cxpcr|mcntcr
showcd thcsubj cctthcunselected p|cturc÷that |s, thcp|cturc
of thc woman dccmcd |css attract|vc. You wou|d th|nk that
thc subj ccts who wcrc shown thc unsc|cctcd p|cturc wou|d
Z Z ¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
|mmcd|atc|y ngurc out that thcy wcrc bc|ng tr|ckcd. ^ma:-
|ng|y,on|yabout I0pcrccntofthcman|pu|atcdtr|a|swcrcdc-
tcctcd.Cncoutoftcn' Vcnowca||th|sphcnomcnoncho|cc
b||ndncss. Ìt sccms that wc humans arc b||nd to our own
cho|ccs. Jh|scv|dcncc|sc|car|yd|mcu|ttorcconc||cw|ththc
|dcathatwc arc rat|ona| dcc|s|onmakcrs|ncomp|ctccontro|
of our own dcc|s|ons. ^|most cmbarrass|ng|y, whcn subj ccts
d|dnotp|ckuponthctr|ck,thcyprocccdcdtooncrgoodrca-
sonswhyth|s |n|t|a||yunsc|cctcdfacc wasthcmorcattract|vc
onc. Ìnfact, thcrcwassubstant|a||ynod|ncrcnccbctwccnthc
cxp|anat|ons prov|dcd tor thc tru|y choscn faccs and for thc
sw|tchcdoncs. 'Ìs |tposs|b|cthatsubj cctswcrc awarc ofthc|r
m|stakcs and s|mp|y dcc|dcd to rcma|n s||cnt bccausc thcy
wcrc cmbarrasscd'Ln||kc|y. Ìndccd, thc momcnt part|c|pants
rca||:cdthatthcywcrc tr|ckcd, thcybccamch|gh|ysusp|c|ous
ofthc who|c cxpcr|mcnt, and subscqucnt tr|a|s had to bc rc-
movcdfromthcana|ys|s.
C|vcn th|s cv|dcncc, how can ourvcrba|rcports on how
wc makc our own dcc|s|ons bc cnt|rc|y trustcd' Lntcr ncuro-
markctcrs, who advocatc us|ng ncurosc|cncc to bcttcr undcr-
stand and prcd|ct human bchav|or. Jhc t|mc |s r|pc for thc
app||cat|onofbra|n|mag|ngtoavar|ctyofaspcctsofoursoc|-
cty. Curknow|cdgcofthcncura|mcchan|smsassoc|atcdw|th
bchav|or |s |ncrcas|ng at a rap|d pacc. Bra|n scanncrs arc bc-
com|ng morc rcad||y ava||ab|c. Ls|ng thcm to |ook at bra|n
act|v|ty, wc canhavca muchbcttcrgrasp onwhat`srca||ygo-
|ngonaswcmakcourdcc|s|onsanddcc|dcwhattobuy.
Ìorsomc rcason,pcop|cwho hcarthcword"ncuromarkct-
|ng" somct|mcs cquatc |t w|th a soph|st|catcd form of m|nd
Z Z Z
M I RRO RI N G WA N TI N G A N D L I K I N G
contro|. Ì amnotsurcwhatthc |og|cbch|ndth|sc|a|mm|ght
bc, butÌ doknowthatthc c|a|m |tsc|f|sbascdonam|sundcr-
stand|ng. M|nd contro| rcqu|rcs somc form of man|pu|at|on.
Þcuromarkct|ng docs cxact|y thc oppos|tc. Ìtrcvca|s to con-
sumcrs and markctcrs what pcop|c tru|y ||kc. Ìt cvcn makcs
consumcrs morc awarc ofthc|rowndccpcrmot|vcs÷mot|vcs
that, aswchavcj ustsccn|nthc cascsoftrans|at|ona|d|ssoc|-
at|ons, consumcrscannotcxp||c|t|yvcrba||:c.
Jhcspcc|ncncura|systcmthatncuromarkctcrs havc typ|-
ca||y focuscd on so far |s thc so-ca||cd rcward systcm. V|th
th|s tcrmwc ncurosc|cnt|sts dcscr|bc a sct ofbra|n arcas that
arc assoc|atcd w|th rcward-rc|atcd bchav|or. Cf coursc, th|s
bchav|or |s comp|cx and has bccn subd|v|dcd |nto scvcra|
componcnts, |nc|ud|ngthc |nccnt|vcva|ucofrcward|ngst|m-
u||, thc approach and consummatory bchav|or for acqu|r|ng
rcwards, thc cmot|ons assoc|atcd w|th rcwards, thc "cx-
pcctancy" ofrcwards, andsoon.'Þota||aspcctsofth|scom-
p|cx systcm havc bccn cnt|rc|y mappcd out, but a |argc
amount ofwork now a||ows at |cast somc of thc maj or con-
ccpts cmcrg|ng from th|s work to bc app||cd to othcr nc|ds,
suchasmarkct|ng.
Ìn cvo|ut|onary tcrms, thc rcward systcm has probab|y
cvo|vcd from a systcm that cva|uatcd pr|mary goa|s such as
food and scx to onc that cva|uatcs much morc cu|tura||y
dr|vcn st|mu|| that havc a rcward|ng qua||ty for modcrn hu-
mans. C|vcn th|s p|aus|b|c hypothcs|s, obscrv|ng thc rcward
systcm |n thc bra|ns ofsubj ccts |n thc fKÌ scanncr who arc
watch|ng products and advcrt|scmcnts shou|d bc worthwh||c
for both acadcm|c rcscarchcrs and markctcrs. Ìrobab|y thc
Z Z
}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
nrst such bra|n |mag|ng study to adopt th|s stratcgy |nvo|vcd
ma|c subj ccts |ook|ng at d|ncrcnt k|nds ofcars. Ìn th|s Ccr-
man study, twc|vc subj ccts who had ratcd thcmsc|vcs as
"h|gh|y |ntcrcstcd" |n cars wcrc prcscntcd w|th p|cturcs of
thrcc catcgor|cs. sports cars, l|mous|ncs, and sma|| cars. Con-
tro|||ng as much as poss|b|c for thc var|cty of "|ow-|cvc|"
v|sua| aspccts of thc st|mu||, thc bra|n |magcrs uscd b|ack-
and-wh|tc photographs, a|| w|th thc samc or|cntat|on ofthc
car.Jhcycvcnrcmovcd a||brandnamcs. Ìndccd, toj udgc by
thc samp|c p|cturcs d|sp|aycd |n thc papcr that rcportcd thc
nnd|ngs, th|s contro|||ng proccss for thc photographs madc
thc cars rathcr unattract|vc ( at |cast to mc, dcnn|tc|y not a
carbun) . ^t any ratc, cach p|cturc was prcscntcdfors|x scc-
onds,andthcsubj cctswcrcaskcdtoratcthcattract|vcncssof
cach car on a sca|c from onc to nvc. Þot surpr|s|ng|y, Ì sup-
posc, thc "bchav|ora| attract|vcncss" asscssmcnts ofthc sub-
j ccts÷that |s,how thcyratcd thc cars÷gavc thc pr|:c to thc
sports cars by a |argc marg|n. Look|ng at thc bra|n data, thc
rcscarchcrs found thatwhcn thc subj ccts |ookcd at thc sports
cars, thc vcntra| str|atum and thc mcd|a| orb|tofronta|
cortcx÷bra|n arcas that bc|ong to thc rcward systcm÷wcrc
morc act|vc thanwhcnthc subj cctswcrc |ook|ngatthc sma||
cars. Ì hopcno onc |ssurpr|scdto |camthatthcsc rcward ar-
cas arc a|so act|vatcdwhcnma|c subj ccts scc photographs of
fcma|cfaccs. Jwoconc|us|ons.thcmostrcward|ngcarsforcar
buns arc |ndccd sports cars, and ma|c carbuns |ook at sports
cars w|th bra|nrcsponscs s|m||artowhcn thcy |ook at attrac-
t|vcwomcn'
5uch |mag|ng data rc|nforcc thc not|on that act|v|ty |n
Z Z
4
M IRRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L IK I N G
thc rcward systcm |n thc bra|n cou|d bc uscd to mcasurc thc
appca| ofccrta|n products to potcnt|a| consumcrs. Ìowcvcr,
rca|-||fc dcc|s|ons arc oftcnmorc comp|cx than what thc ac-
t|v|ty |n rcward systcm arcas can tc|| us. Ìor |nstancc, Ì may
||kcan cxpcns|vcsportscar,but|tst|||rcma|nscxpcns|vc. ÌfÌ
can`tanordthccar, Ì havc tonndawayofsupprcss|ngthc |m-
pu|sc to buy |t, orÌ w||| bc |n dcbt ( or toomuchdcbt) . Ccn-
cra||y, thcsc contro| mcchan|sms arc |mp|cmcntcdbycort|ca|
arcas |nthchonta||obc.Jhcdcs|rctobuythccarthatÌknow
|s toocxpcns|vccrcatcsan |ntcma|conn|ct|nmc÷that |s, |n
my bra|n. 5omcth|ng has to g|vc. Mcasur|ng thc act|v|ty |n
thcsc bra|n arcas m|ght tc|| ncuromarkctcrswhat |tm|ghtbc.
Cthcr honta| |obc arcas a|so sccm top|aykcyro|cs w|th
rcgard to ourprcfcrcnccs and bchav|or as consumcrs. Ìn a fa-
mous bra|n |mag|ngstudy, Kcad Montaguc and h|s co||cagucs
at thc Bay|or Co||cgc ofMcd|c|nc |n Ìouston uscd fKÌ to
|ookatncura| act|v|ty wh||c subj cctstastcdandcomparcdthc
two most popu|ar sugarcd dr|nks. You know wh|ch oncs thcy
arc. Cokc and Ìcps|. Ì|rst, thc subj ccts` prcfcrcnccs wcrc
rccordcd w|th a b||nd tastc tcst outs|dc thc scanncr. Jhcn
cach subj cctwas ro||cd |nto thc scanncr, andforth|s port|on
ofthc cxpcr|mcnt, Montaguc and h|s tcam dcv|scd a spcc|a|
apparatusthatwou|da||owdc||vcryofthcco|atothcsubj ccts
w|th good contro| . Jhcy ccrta|n|y cou|dn`t j ust pop a can of
soda and askthc subj cctstodr|nkfrom|t' Jhc|r so|ut|onwas
c|cvcr. Jhcy uscd a computcr-contro||cd syr|ngc pump that
|nj cctcd thc co|as |nto coo|cd p|ast|c tubcs hc|d |n thc sub-
j cct`s mouthw|th a p|ast|c mouthp|ccc. Jhc amountofsoda
was sma|| cnough to a||ow thc subj ccts to swa||ow comfort-
Z Z
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
ab|y cvcn wh||c |y|ng |n thc scanncr. Cnc nna| tr|ck was to
dc||vcrdecarbonated dr|nks, to makc surc that thc amount of
purc co|adc||vcrcd by thc computcr-contro||cd syr|ngc pump
was thc samc at cach tr|a|. ( Ì know, onc cou|d arguc that thc
n::cncct m|ght somchow bc |mportant to thc ovcra|| tastc of
thc dr|nks, but|ct`s sctthat qu|bb|c as|dc. )
Jhc apparatus workcd, and thc rcsu|ts wcrc c|car. Vhcn
thc subj cctsd|dnotknowwh|chbrand thcywcrc tast|ng, ac-
t|v|ty |n thc mcd|a| orb|tofronta| cortcx corrc|atcd w|th thc
subj ccts`dcc|s|on mak|ng. 1h|s wasthcrcg|onthatsccmcdto
bc ca|||ng thc shots |n thc b||nd tastc tcst. ^nd now thc tcst
gcts rca||y|ntcrcst|ng,pcrhapsbccauscMontagucundcrstood
thc|mp||cat|onsofthcfamoustastctcstsw|thCokcandÌcps|
manyycarscar||cr. Ìnthoscblind tastc tcsts, Ìcps| tr|umphcd.
Vhcn thc brand was known, Cokc won. Jh|s "brand cncct"
thatmakcsCokcthcsuddcn|ybcttcrsoda|sc|carIyoncofthc
many cu|tura| cnccts that dom|natc our prcfcrcnccs for food
and dr|nks. Jhc |n|t|a| rcsu|ts wcrc rcp||catcd |n numcrous
|ndcpcndcnt tcsts and, a|most |ncv|tab|y, uscdby Ìcps| |n |ts
scr|cs ofcommcrc|a|s ca||cd thc Ìcps| Cha||cngc. Jhcscb||nd
tastc tcsts a|soa|wayscamcout |nfavorofÌcps|.
Montagucmusthavcbccn|ntr|gucdbythc|dcaofso|v|ng,
onccandfora||,thc mystcry ofthc ncura|or|g|nsofbrand cf-
fccts.Ìnasccondpart ofthcbra|n|mag|ngcxpcr|mcnt,thcrc-
forc, h|s Bay|or tcam dc||vcrcd thc co|as |nto thc scanncr
wh||c a|so |dcnt|p|ng cach sc|cct|on as Cokc or Ìcps| on a
computcr mon|tor. Jhcy thcn comparcd thc act|v|ty |n thc
bra|n dur|ng th|s sctup, whcn subjects knew the brand, vcrsus
Z Z Ó
M I RRO RI N G WA N TI N G A N D L I K I N G
act|v|ty |n thc prcv|ous sctup, whcn thcy d|d not. Jhc |dca
was s|mp|c. any |ncrcascd act|v|ty |n onc or morc bra|narcas
wh||csubj cctss|ppcdthcco|awh||cknow|ngthcbrandwou|d
p|npo|ntthcscarcasasrcspons|b|cforthccu|tura||ymcd|atcd
brand cncct. ^nd wou|d thcy bc thc samc arcas p|npo|ntcd
dur|ngthc b||nd tastc tcst '
Jhc cxpcr|mcnt d|d p|npo|nt onc arca as morc act|vc
whcnthcsubj cctskncwthcbrand. Ìtwasthcdorso|atcra|prc-
fronta| cortcx. Jh|s rcsu|t was not rca||y surpr|s|ng, bccausc
th|sarca|s wc|| knownfor|tsro|c |n"cxccut|vccontro|" ovcr
othcrncura|systcms. Ìowcvcr, |t |snot thc samc arca as p|n-
po|ntcd dur|ng thc b||nd tastc tcst. Vc conc|udc, as Mon-
tagucandh|sco||aboratorsd|d,thatwhcnbrandnamcscntcr
thc p|cturc, thc dorso|atcra| prcfronta| cortcx ovcrru|cs thc
act|v|ty|nthc mcd|a| orb|tofronta|cortcx, wh|chsccmstobc
thccva|uat|onccntcrfortastcuncontam|natcdbythcknow|-
cdgcofthcbrandnamc. '
Jhc Cokc-vcrsus-Ìcps| study, togcthcr w|th thc study on
car buns, tc||s us that ncurosc|cncc can |ndccd bc cncct|vc|y
uscd to |nvcst|gatc our cva|uat|on of products and brand
namcs. Jhcy a|so suggcst that thc act|v|ty |n bra|n arcas bc-
|ong|ngtothcrcwardsystcm,togcthcrw|thrcg|onsknownto
cxcrtcxccut|vccontro|ovcrbra|nact|v|ty, sccmsto bcancf-
fcct|vc b|omarkcr ofsubj ccts` cva|uat|on ofproducts. Cn thc
othcr hand, thcsc stud|cs |cavc mc want|ng, bccausc thcy do
not addrcss thc fact that most commcrc|a|s and ads cmp|oy
actua| pcop|c, c|thcr cc|cbr|t|cs or actors, spcak|ng to us and
do|ngth|ngson-scrccn.Ìwantcdtoknowwhathappcnswhcn
Z Z
/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
v|cwcrs watch thcsc pcop|c |n act|on. Vhat happcns w|th
thc|rmirror neurons ? Þo onchad cvcn |ookcdat th|s qucst|on
unt||rcccnt|y,whcnwcfound outthc answcr.
T H E ONE - N IG H TE R: I N S T A N T S C IE N C E
A N D T H E S U P E R B OWL
My hypothcs|s w|th rcgard to m|rror ncurons and ads |s rc|a-
t|vc|ys|mp|c. Ìfwc |ookatbra|nact|v|tyofsubj cctswatch|ng
commcrc|a|s, wc ncccssar||ynndsomc act|v|ty |nm|rror ncu-
ron arcas, at |cast |n thosc commcrc|a|s |n wh|ch pcop|c arc
do|ng th|ngs. ^ high act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas dur|ng
suchcxpcr|mcnts, Ì proposc, rcprcscnts somcformof|dcnt|n-
cat|onandam||at|on. Ì say th|sbccausc, aswchavc sccn,onc
ofmyhypothcscsrcgard|ngm|rrorncuronsand soc|a| bchav-
|or|sthatthcact|v|ty|nthcm|rrorncuronsystcm|san|ndcx
of our scnsc of afn||at|on w|th othcr pcop|c. Vc havc sccn
how thcsc cc||s |n thcbra|nhc|pusundcrstand thc act|onsof
othcrs by s|mu|at|ng |n our bra|ns thosc vcry samc act|ons
w|ththc act|vat|onofourownmotorp|ans. Bydo|ngso, m|r-
ror ncurons a|so hc|p us fcc| what othcr pcop|c fcc|. Morc-
ovcr, wc saw |n chaptcr 5 that m|rror ncurons arc a|so
conccrncdw|th our ownproccss ofsc|f-rccogn|t|on. Ìnshort,
thcsc cc||ssccmtocrcatc somc sortof"|nt|macy"bctwccnsc|f
andothcr,and|tmakcsscnsctopos|tthatact|v|ty|nthcm|r-
rorncuronsystcmmaya|sobcrc|cvanttothcscnscofbc|ong-
|ng to or bc|ng am||atcd w|th a spcc|nc soc|a| group whosc
mcmbcrs, wcfcc|, arc morc s|m||artous thanothcrpcop|c.
Z Z 0
M IRRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
Ìnmodcmlifc, amliationtakcs manyforms. Kacccomcsto
mind, ofcoursc, and so docs nationality. ^ftcr l|ving |n Los
^ngclcsfornftccnycars, Ì stillhavcastrongscnscofmysclfas
cthnic Ìtal|an. Ìowcvcr, thcrc arc also morc culturally mcd|-
atcdforms ofafnliation. Ì fcclthatÌ bclong tothcworldwidc
community ofncuroscicntists, and Ì may also havc a sim|lar
( albcit probably a bit wcakcr) fccl|ng of bclonging to social
groupsdcnncd in a varicty ofdincrcnt ways, from Macintosh
uscrs to iÌod l|stcncrs, from tcnnis fanat|cs to opcra buns,
fromwinc connoisscurs to sushi lovcrs. Vithinsomc ofthcsc
spontancously forming social groups, thc fccling of bclong-
ing÷orat lcastofsharing an cxpcricncc÷|s probably dccpcr
andmorc mcaningful thanfor othcrs. Ìorinstancc, it|s l|kcly
that thc fccling ofbcing "aparcnt ofan adolcsccnt" is much
morc mcaningful to most ofus in this groupthanourfccling
of bclonging to thc community of sushi lovcrs. Ì think this
phcnomcnon gcts hcightcncd cvcn morc whcn it comcs to
importantsocictalissucs.bc|nga l|bcralas opposcd tobcinga
conscrvativc, bcing pro-choicc as opposcd to bcing pro-lifc.
5uch idcntincations arc fclt dccply by many pcoplc. Vith
that last outburst Ì am gctting ahcad ofmysclf÷wc will look
at political afnliat|ons and thcir rclationships with mirror
ncurons in thc ncxt chaptcr. Ìor thc timc bcing, Ì want to
focus on idcntincation and amliation issucs rclcvant to ncu-
romarkcting, and againthc basic hypothcsis is simplc. idcnti-
ncation with a product as rcvcalcd by activity in thc mirror
ncuron systcm should bc a vcry good prcdictor of futurc
bchavior÷that is, mturc dccisions andpurchascs.
Ì was mulling ovcr thcsc idcas whcn |oshua Ìrccdman, a
Z Z
V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
psych|atr|st and co-owncr of ÌKÌ ^pp||cd Kcscarch, a con-
su|t|ng nrm that cxp|orcs ncw too|s for advcrt|s|ng rcscarch,
proposcdan cxpcr|mcnttomc |nthcfa||ofZ005. Ìt|nvo|vcd
thc5upcrBow|."Vhat|sthc5upcrBow|cxpcr|cncc '"|oshua
askcdrhctor|ca||y. Ìt's thcfootba||gamcan |t's thc advcrt|sc-
mcnts bctwccn thc p|ays ( bctwccn every p|ay, |t somct|mcs
sccms ) . Cnchundrcdandfortym||||onfanstunc|n÷that's|n
thc Ln|tcd 5tatcs a|onc, w|th many m||||ons morc abroad
( though noth|ng c|osc to thc Vor|d Cup nna| ) . ^dvcrt|scrs
spcnd m||||ons ofdo||ars on spcc|a| ads, thc most cxpcns|vc
andthcrcforc most |mportantofthcycar.5omcofthc adsarc
a|rcd only oncc. ^|| ofthcm arc now an |ntcgra|part ofthc
who|cshow. ^ |otofthosc I 10 m||||onv|cwcrsat5upcrBow|
part|cs arc as |ntcrcstcd |n thc ads as |n thc gamc. (_u|ck,
whowon |n '0ó' Crtakcyourt|mc, |tprobab|ywon'tmattcr.
Many v|cwcrs can't answcr thc qucst|on a month aftcr thc
gamc, much |css a ycar |atcr. ) Jhc ads arc onc of thc most
ta|kcd-about top|cs |n thc country thc day aftcr thc gamc.
Markct|ngcxpcrtsand thc|rfocus groups rankthc most cncc-
t|vc, thc most cntcrta|n|ng, thc most surpr|s|ng÷and thc
worst, ofcoursc. Jhc ads arc hcav||y p|aycd on YouJubc thc
ncxtday. \|cwcrs can cast aba||otonany oncofscvcra|wcb-
s|tcs.
Jhc5upcrBow|adsarcbig, and|oshuaproposcdan |mag-
|ng cxpcr|mcnt pcrformcd pract|ca||y dur|ng thc gamc. Cur
subj ccts wou|d watch thc ads wh||c wc watchcd thc|r bra|ns.
Ìn ordcr to ana|y:c thc data rap|d|y, wc wou|d nccd a|| thc
comput|ng powcr ava||ab|c, bccausc bra|n |mag|ng datascts
arc qu|tc |argc and thc|r ana|yscs rcqu|rc |ntcnsc computa-
M I RRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
tions. Ìfwc cou|dpu|lthison,|oshuag|oatcd, wc wou|dhavc
a dincrcnt kind ofranking ofthc ads, onc bascd on quantih-
ab|c brain activity, not j ust cxprcsscd opinions. Ì found thc
idca amusing, but Ì rcmindcd my fr|cnd that that's a b|g ¨|f. "
Vc gcncra||y rcquirc scvcra| months, and not infrcqucnt|y
years, to comp|ctc a comp|cx imaging cxpcrimcnt, from thc
hrst g|immcr of thc idca to thc |ast analys|s of data, and
|oshua wantcd to gct cvcrything organi:cd w|thin a fcw
months. Jhcn÷thc biggcst prob|cm by far÷hc wantcd to
comp|ctc thc imaging data acquisition and thc computat|ons
to proccss thc data ovcrnight. Ìn thc cnd, howcvcr, Ì agrccd.
VhcnÌ subscqucnt|ywrotcarcportaboutourcxpcrimcntfor
Edge-The Third Culture, thc on|inc sa|onof|ohn Brockman
(www.cdgc.org) , Ì dubbcd this ¨instant scicncc"÷of which
thcrc arc vcryfcwinstanccs.
Ìowon carth cou|d wc managc topu|| this on' Vcll, for
startcrs, wc wou|dusca||mitcdnumbcrofsubj ccts÷onlyhvc.
^s a brain |magcr, Ì wou|d havc |ovcd many morc, but timc
wou|d bc tru|y ofthc csscncc. (Vc rcpcatcd thc 5upcr Bow|
cxpcrimcntin Z007 andmanagcdtodoub|cthatnumbcr. ) Vc
wouldnccdvo|untccrsubj ccts in thc|r|atc twcntics and car|y
th|rtics,bccauscthatisthcdcmographicoftcntargctcdbythc
5upcrBow|ads, andwcwou|dnccdtoinsu|atcthcmfromthc
|ivcbroadcast.Jhcyhadtosccthc adsforthchrsttimcwhcn
thcywcrcinthcbrainscanncr. ^ndmostimportantofa||, wc
wou|d nccd to obtain a copy of thc ads practica||y instanta-
ncous|y. Jhcy wcrc not avai|ab|c bcforc thc gamc,

and wc
cou|d not wait unt|l aftcr thc gamc to sc|cct thc oncs wc
wantcd to usc. Jhat wou|d havc bccn too |atc. Ìn thc cnd,
MIRRO RI N G P E O P L E
wcdcc|dcdto tapc and d|g|t|:c thc ads showndur|ng thc nrst
ha|f of thc gamc, and start runn|ng our subj ccts dur|ng thc
sccond ha|f. Jh|s dcc|s|on broughtup anothcr comp||cat|on.
nota|| ofthcads onthcbroadcastarcncw"5upcrBow| ads, "
and wc wou|d havc no |dca whcn thosc wou|d bc a|rcd.
|oshua solvcd th|s |ssuc by hav|ng a |argc group ofÌKÌ ^p-
p||cdRcscarchpcrsonnc|fol|owthc gamc, mon|torthc ads as
thcy a|rcd, and confcr on||nc. Jhc tapc was ro|||ng, so to
spcak, dur|ng cvcry ad scgmcnt, and thc gcnu|nc 5upcr Bow|
ads, a|ong w|th somc ord|nary "contro| ads, " wcrc |mmcd|-
atc|y d|g|t|:cd and madc rcady for fccd|ng through our
computcrs |n thc bra|n |mag|ng |ab to thc scanncr, whcrc
our subj ccts would vicw thcm wcar|ng thc standard h|gh-
dcnn|t|on gogg|cs. (Jhc |dca bch|nd thc ord|nary "contro|"
ads was to makcccrta|nthcrcwas noth|ng"mag|c" aboutthc

5upcr Bow| ads, that thcy do not gct thc rcward arcas |n thc
bra|n nrcd up wh||c ord|narycontro| ads do not. Vc d|d not
actua||y th|nk thcrc wou|d bc, but

wc a|so thought |t was a
good |dca to havc somc data to connrm or undcrm|nc our
|ntu|t|on.)
^nothcrprob|cm.thc n|cs thatconta|ncdthcd|g|t|:cdads
wou|d bc too largc to transfcrthrough thc Ìntcrnct, so|oshua
would arr|vc at thc Bra|n Mapp|ng Ccntcr short|y aftcr thc
cnd ofthc nrstha|fw|th thc hard d|sk, rcady to |oad thc n|cs
|ntoourcomputcr.Vchadncvcrdonccxpcr|mcntsonthcny
||kcth|s. Ìfanyth|ng,thcpract|ccofsc|cncc |scxact|ythcop-
pos|tcofdo|ngcxpcr|mcntsonthcny.Jhcrcwcrcaboutc|ght
ofus work|ng on thc cxpcr|mcnt |n onc capac|ty or anothcr,
comparcd w|th a normal cont|ngcnt oftwo or thrcc. Lxccpt
Z
}
Z
M I RRO RI N G WA N TI N G A N D L I K I N G
for thc subj ccts, wc a|| wcrc strcsscd-out. (Jhc subj ccts had
noth|ng spcc|a| to do wh||c wa|t|ng thc|r turn, or whcn thcy
wcrc |ns|dc thc scanncr, whcrc a|| thcy wcrc askcd to do was
watch thc ads "broadcast" |n thc|r gogg|cs. ) Lots of ||tt|c
th|ngswcntwrongthroughoutthcaftcmoonandcvcn|ngand
dc|aycd us, and thc prcscncc o
|
a crcw from ^BC's Good
Moring America and a rcportcr from thc Los Angeles Tmes
d|dnothc|p.Jhcywcrcfo||ow|ngourcvcrymovcandnot|ng
our cvcry prob|cm. Jhc nrst ha|fofthc gamc cndcd around
5. 00 p. m. on thc Vcst Coast. Vc managcd to comp|ctc thc
bra|n scan ofour nrst subj cct around ó. J0p. m. Cur p|an was
tostartana|y:|ngthc data ofthc nrstsubj cct a|most |nstant|y,
wh||c rush|ngthc sccond subj cct|ntothcscanncr. V|ththcsc
para||c|proccdurcs, wcwcrchop|ngtonn|shthcdataana|ys|s
|atc that n|ght. ^nd wc d|d, a fcw m|nutcs bcforc m|dn|ght.
Vcwcrccomp|ctc|ycxhaustcd. ÌfÌ hadcvcrhadanydoubts,
that n|ght crascd thcm comp|ctc|y. |t |s much bcttcr, at |cast
forthc sc|cnt|sts, to do cxpcr|mcnts at thc|r own pacc rathcr
than at thc pacc d|ctatcd by cxtcma| cons|dcrat|ons. Ìnstant
sc|cncc|snotthcwaytogo. ButÌ a|sohadh|ghhopcsthata||
thctroub|cth|s t|mcwou|dbcworth|t.
M I RRORI NG A DS
Vc nrst cstab||shcd a basc||nc w|th thc subj ccts |n thc scan-
ncr, mcasur|ng thc|r bra|n act|v|ty wh||c thcy "d|d noth|ng"
( that |s, watchcd a b|ank scrccn or kcpt thc|r cycs on a nxa-
t|oncross |n thc ccntcrofthc mon|tor) . Jh|srcst|ng basc||nc
Z
} }
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
a||ows us to comparc such rcst|ng act|v|ty w|th thc bra|n ac-
t|v|ty mcasurcd wh||c subj ccts pcrform thc ass|gncd tasks.
(Jh|s basc||nc was not rc|cvant |n thc prcv|ous|y d|scusscd
cxpcr|mcnts. ) Vhcnwcproj cctcdthcadsthcmsc|vcs|ntothc
subj ccts` gogg|cs, wc mcasurcd act|v|ty |n thc who|c bra|n,
w|th spcc|a| attcnt|on g|vcn to four kcy ncura| systcms. thc
m|rrorncuronsystcm,thcrcwardsystcm,thcbra|nccntcrsfor
cxccut|vc control, and thc cmot|ona| bra|n ccntcrs. Ìn thc
ana|ys|sthatfoÍ|owcd,wcnrst |ookcd atthcovcra||act|v|ty|n
thcsc systcmsdur|ngv|cw|ngofa|lthc ads, as comparcdw|th
thc rcst|ngbasc||nc. Vc a|so |ookcdatscnsorybra|n arcas for
v|s|onandsounds,bccauscwatch|ngthcadsrcqu|rcdwatching
thc adsand listening to thc|rsounds,words, andmus|c.Vcd|d
notrca||ycons|dcrthcscarcasthcorct|ca||y|ntcrcst|ng|nth|s
cxpcr|mcnt, but wc dcc|dcd |t wou|d bc uscfu| to comparc
thc|r act|v|tyw|th thc act|v|ty |n ourncura| systcms of|ntcr-
cst. Ìndccd,that`swhatwcfound. noth|ngspcc|a| |nthcbra|n
arcas for v|s|on and sound. Jhcy wcrc cons|stcnt|y act|vatcd
bycachad |ncachsubj cct.Jh|swasnotsurpr|s|ng,but|twas
rcassur|ng. ^ftcr a||, wc had ncvcr donc such a w||d cxpcr|-
mcnt,and|twasgoodtoscc|nourdatathcfcaturcswcwou|d
typ|ca||yobscrvc|nmorcma|nstrcamcxpcr|mcnts.
Vhcnwc turncd to thc act|v|ty |n thcfourncura|systcms
of |ntcrcst, wc found that for scvcra| of thc ads, thc rcward
systcm, thccxccut|vccontro|systcm,andthccmot|ona|bra|n
ccntcrsd|dnot showanychangccomparcdw|th thc basc||nc,
nord|d thcydcmonstratcrcduccdact|v|ty. Jh|s hc|d forcvcry
subj cct, and |t was somcwhat surpr|s|ng g|vcn that thc ads
wcrc prcscnt|ng h|gh|ydcs|rab|cobj cctsorscrv|ccs |nsuppos-
Z
} 4
M I RRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
cd|y cngag|ng ways. Jhat`s ccrta|n|y what thc sponsors wcrc
pay|ng top do|lar for. Cn|y onc systcm was cons|stcnt|y act|-
vatcdcomparcdw|th thc rcst|ngbasc||nc |ncachsubj cctand
for cach ad. Jh|s was thcm|rrorncuronsystcm. Ìt ncvcr fa||cd
toact|vatc. C|car|y, thcprcscnccofpcop|c ( actors ) |nthcads
was thcma|nrcason. Ìntr|gu|ngtomc,howcvcr,wasthcvar|-
at|on |n act|vat|on ofthc m|rrorncuronsystcm. Jhcact|v|ty
for somc ads d|dno|sccm rc|atcd to obv|ous phys|ca| aspccts
ofthatspcc|nc ad (hand gcsturcs, for |nstancc, or |ots ofpco-
p|c pcrform|ng var|ous act|ons) . My hypothcs|s |s that thc
h|ghcr m|rrorncuron act|v|ty obscrvcd |n ccrta|n ofthc ads
was duc to h|ghcr |cvc|s of |dcnt|ncat|on for thosc ads from
thc v|cwcrs. Jhc 5upcr Bow| data cannot rca||y say much
about th|shypothcs|s, but othcr |mag|ng dataco||cctcd |nmy
|ab dosccmtosupport|t. Ìn acomp|ctc|y |ndcpcndcntcxpcr-
|mcnt,wc|magcdbra|nact|v|tyofpcop|cwhoarcandarcnot
cardho|dcrs ofa ccrta|n crcd|t card. ^|| subj ccts wcrc shown
var|ous p|cturcs ofpcop|c busy w|th thc|r shopp|ng. 5omc of
thcm, |nc|ud|ng cardho|dcrs and non-cardho|dcrs, saw thcsc
p|cturcs w|th thc |ogo ofthc crcd|t card supcr|mposcd |n thc
|owcr-r|ght comcr. Cthcrs sawthc p|cturcs w|thout th|s |ogo.
Jhc rcsu|tswcrcstr|k|ng.^mongthcnon-cardho|dcrs, m|rror
ncuron act|v|ty d|d no| rcncct thc prcscncc ofthc |ogo at a||.
Jhcsc non-cardho|dcrs d|dn`tcarcaboutthc|ogooncwayor
thcothcr, thcyd|dn`t |dcnt|p w|th |t. ^mong thccardho|d-
crs, howcvcr, thcrcwash|ghcr act|v|ty |n m|rrorncuronarcas
wh||c subj ccts wcrc watch|ng thc p|cturcs w|th thc |ogo of
thc|r crcd|t card, comparcd w|th watch|ng thc p|cturcs w|th-
out |t. Cou|d |t bc that thc act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas
Z
} §
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
s|mply rcncctcd thc s|mulat|on ofhold|ng thc card, as |fthc
subj ccts wcrc th|nk|ng, "Ì'vc hcld my card thc samc way"'
Þot rcally, bccausc thc p|cturcs wc uscd d|d not show pcoplc
hold|ngthc card. Ìn thcsc subj ccts, wc had probably |magcd
thc ncuralcorrclatcofaphcnomcnonof"|dcnt|ncat|on" that
|s mcd|atcd by m|rror ncurons. Ìt |s as |f thcsc cardhold|ng
subj ccts, wh|lc watch|ng thc p|cturcs w|th "thc|r" logo, wcrc
th|nk|ng, "Jhosc pcoplc arc l|kc mc. "
Jhc othcrstr|k|ngfcaturcofthcdatahomthc 5upcrBowl
cxpcr|mcntwas thc d|ssoc|at|on bctwccn thc bchav|oral data
(cach subj cct was |ntcrv|cwcd |mmcd|atcly aftcr cmcrg|ng
from thc scanncr) andthc bra|n data. Vhcn cxpl|c|tly askcd
to namc thc|r favor|tc and lcast favor|tc ads, thc subj ccts
camc up w|th vcry spcc|nc cho|ccs, but thc|r bra|ns wcrc
tcll|ng us a d|ncrcnt story. Jhc ads namcd as thc bcst oftcn
gavc almost no rcsponsc, or a wcak onc, |n tcrms of thosc
ncuralsystcmswc cons|dcrcdmorc mcan|ngmlforhumanbc-
hav|or. Cthcr ads that gavc robust rcsponscs |n thc m|rror
ncuron systcmand |n thc rcward systcm wcrc notmcnt|oncd
by thc subj ccts. ^lthough onc could |ntcrprct such d|ssoc|a-
t|onbctwccnthcbra|ndataandthcvcrbalrcportsassuggcst-
|ngthatthcbra|nrcsponscsmaynotbcrc||ablc |nd|cators of
thcfuturc cho|ccs ofthc subj ccts, Ì tcnd to favor a d|ncrcnt
|ntcrprctat|on. ^s wc havc sccn |n thc cxpcr|mcnt w|th thc
prcttyfaccsonthccardsand |nthc casc oftrans|at|ona|d|sso-
c|at|ond|scusscdcarl|cr, pcoplc tcnd tobc qu|tc outoftouch
w|th thc|rown cho|ccs, and thc|rvcrbalrcports onhowthcy
madc dcc|s|ons arc unrcl|ablc. Bra|n rcsponscs |n kcy ncural
systcms that rcscarch has |nd|catcd as h|ghly rc|cvant to hu-
M I RRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
man bchaviors such as mot|vat|on ( rcward systcm) and cm-
pathy and |dcnt|ncat|on ( m|rror ncuron systcm) arc |n my
op|n|onbcttcrprcd|ctorsoffuturc subj ccts'cho|ccs.
Cbv|ously, Ì cannot provc my hypothcs|s. Jhc only way
myhypothcs|scouldbcscr|ouslytcstcd |s w|th an cxpcr|mcnt
that, cvcnthoughcm|ncntlydoablc, |sunl|kcly to actuallybc
donc, |t would rcqu|rc a scr|ous and comm|ttcd partncrsh|p
bctwccn ncurosc|cnt|sts and thc bus|ncss world, wh|ch |s un-
l|kclyto happcn |n thc vcry ncarfuturc. Butfor thc fun of|t,
hcrc's how Ì would tcst my hypothcs|s that bra|nmarkcrsarc
much morc rcl|ablc |nd|cators ofconsumcrs' futurc purchascs
than arc thc|r vcrbal rcports. I|rst wc would nccd to |dcnt|p
two statcs |n thc Ln|tcd 5tatcs that arc rclat|vcly |nsulatcd
fromcachothcrand ycthavc at lcast onc scctorofthc popu-
lat|on that |s comparablc w|th rcgard to thc most |mportant
demograph|cfactors. Þcxt, wcwould |dcnt|pone targctprod-
uct that |s markctablc to th|s onc scctor ofthc populat|on |n
both statcs, and thcn prcparc a scr|cs of rad|cally d|ncrcnt
advcrt|scmcnts for thc product. I|nally, wc would run focus
groupsan bra|n |mag|ngcxpcr|mcntsonalargcgroupofsub-
j ccts |ncach statc to analy:c rcact|ons to cach ad. ^s wc d|d
w|th thc 5upcr Bowl ads, wc would subscqucntly |dcnt|p thc
ads show|ng a cons|dcrablc d|ssoc|at|on bctwccn thc vcrbal
rcports and thc bra|n |mag|ng data÷pos|t|vc vcrbal rcports
butnotmuchhappcn|ng|nthcrcwardandm|rrorncuronsys-
tcms, and ncgat|vc vcrbal rcports butpowcrml bra|n act|v|ty.
Ìn onc statcwc wouldnowrunjust thc ads thatrccc|vcdgood
vcrbalrat|ngsbut"bad"bra|nrcsponscs,and|nthcothcrstatc
wc would runjust thc ads that rcccivcd bad vcrbal rcsponscs
Z
}
Í
M I R R O R I N G P E O P L E
but "good" bra|n rcsponscs. Ìfmy hypothcs|s |s corrcct÷that
is, |f bra|n |nd|cators arc morc rc||ab|c |nd|cators of futurc
cho|ccs than what pcop|c tc|| |ntcrv|cwcrs÷thc advcrt|scd
product shou|d scc morc sa|cs |n thc statc whosc rcs|dcnts
wcrc inundatcd w|th thc ads that rcccivcd thc "good" bra|n
rcsponscs.
Lasy, no' Ì' m comp|ctc|y scr|ous about thc sctup, and Ì
don'tth|nk|twou|d bca d|mcu|t cxpcr|mcnttopcrform oncc
thc sharcd dcmograph|c |n thc two othcrw|sc |so|atcd statcs
was carcfu||y |dcnt|ncd. Jhc on|y othcr rca| hurd|c Ì scc |s
hnding a largccorporat|on whosc |cadcrsh|p undcrstands thc
powcr ofwhat's go|ng on |n ncurosc|cncc today and |s thcrc-
forcw||||ngtomakcthc |nvcstmcnt,wh|chforsuchacorpora-
t|onwouldbc a p|ttancc anyway. Ì knowsomcncurosc|cnt|sts
whowou|d|ovc todo thcirpart.Jhcrcarcmanyothcrs.
^nothcr qucst|on th|s thought cxpcr|mcnt wou|d answcr
|s whcthcr ads actua||ywork |n thc nrst p|acc. Ìn sp|tc ofthc
largc amount of moncy spcnt on advcrt|s|ng, Ì bc||cvc that
nobody can conv|nc|ng|y c|a|m to know thc answcr÷w|th
thccxccpt|onofoncnc|d |nwh|chpcop|carc conv|nccd that
adswork, orat |cast onc spcc|a|typc ofad. Ì amta|k|ngabout
po||tical consu|t|ng, whcrc thc pros bc||cvc that ncgat|vc ads
work and havc at hand somc c|ass|c cxamp|cs to support th|s
bclicf. Cnc |s thc famous adforLyndon|ohnson |n thc I ºó1
prcs|dcnt|a| campa|gn aga|nst Barry Co|dwatcr, show|ng thc
l|tt|c gir| p|ck|ng thc pcta|s from thc prctty da|sy wh||c a
mushroom cloud cxp|odcs |n thc background. Lnstatcd mcs-
sagc. Coldwatcr is a tr|ggcr-happy warmongcr. Kcsu|t. Land-
s||dc Lyndon. ^nothcr|s thccqua||yfamous "rcvo|v|ngdoor"
M I RRO RI N G WA N TI N G A N D L I K I N G
ad for Ccorgc Ì. V. Bush |n h|s I ºoo prcs|dcnt|al campa|gn
aga|nst Lcmocrat M|chac| Lukak|s, govcmor of Massachu-
sctts.^tonc po|ntthatsummcr, thc po|lsgavcLukak|sa|cad
of I 7 po|nts. Jhcn thc Bush campa|gn ran thc ad fcatur|ng
V|l||c Ìorton, a b|ack man who had bccn |n and out of
pr|son |n Massachusctts. Jhc ad playcd cxpl|c|t|y on rac|a|
fcarsandcr|mcfcars. Kcsu|t. thcnrstCcorgcBushw|nscas||y.
Jhcrc arc many morc cxamplcs that contr|butc to thc rc-
cc|vcdw|sdom |npol|t|csthat "go|ng ncgat|vc" w|ns, thatno
mattcr what pcop|c tcll po||stcrs and cx|t po||crs about thc
rcasonsforthc|rvotcs, thcy |n fact votc thc|r angcr and thc|r
fcar.
Ìs thcrc any bra|n data that may support th|s idca' Ì bc-
||cvc wc found |t |n my |ab, cvcnthough wc wcrc notrca||y
look|ng for |t. Most |mportant, Ì bc||cvc that th|s bra|n nnd-
|ng shou|d makc pcop|c th|nk tw|cc about the |ong-tcrm
va|ucofncgat|vc ads.
T HE E F F E C T S OF NE G AT I V E A DS
Ìnthc spr|ngofZ001wc startcd a ncwcxpcr|mcnt mcasuring
bra|n act|v|ty |n thc "part|san bra|n" wh|lc rcg|stcrcd Lcmo-
cratsandKcpubl|canswatchcdascr|cs ofp|cturcsofthcthrcc
prcs|dcnt|a|cand|datcs thatycar, |ncumbcntKcpublicanÌrcs-
|dcntCcorgc V. Bush, Lcmocrat |ohn Kcrry, andthc indc-
pcndcnt Kalph Þadcr. Vc scanncd approx|matc|y ha|fofthc
twcntysubj ccts |nthcspr|ng, aftcrKcrry`sv|ctor|cs in thcpr|-
mar|cs madc h|s nom|nat|on a forcgonc conclus|on. Cctting
Z
} V
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
w|nd ofthis study, thc New York Tmes rcportcr|ohn J|cmcy
|ntcrv|cwcd mc. Ì|s front-pagc art|c|c on thc cxpcr|mcnt,
pub||shcdon^pr|| I º, wast|t|cd"Ìo||t|cs|nthc Brain'"5ud-
dcn|y our imag|ng cxpcr|mcnt bccamc probab|y thc most
mcd|a-covcrcd bra|n study cvcr. Maj or J\ nctworks p|ckcd
upthcstory.Jh|swasa||aston|sh|ngbccauscwchadnotcvcn
nnishcd thc cxpcr|mcnt. 5hadcsof"|nstantsc|cncc" '
Mcd|acovcragcfora sc|cnt|st |s gcncra||y a good thing. Ìt
mcans that thc cxpcr|mcnts wc do arc |ntcrcst|ng to thc
popu|at|on at |argc, and that an undcrstand|ng of what wc
do docs not rcqu|rc a Ìh. L. |n ncurosc|cncc. Ìn thc |ab at
LCL^, wc wcrc |ndccdp|cascdby thc attcnt|on |n th|s casc.
Ìowcvcr, wc d|dnotrca||:c that ah|gh-pron|c storycanbca
doub|c-cdgcd sword. (Þaïvc, Ì rca||:c. ) Ìndccd, thc covcragc
madc |t bas|ca||y |mposs|b|c to rccru|t ncw subj ccts who d|d
notknowaboutthccxpcr|mcntand, most|mportant,d|dnot
know about thc rcsu|ts of our prc||m|nary ana|yscs, wh|ch
wcrcrcportcd|nJ|cmcy`sart|c|c |nThe New York Times. Jh|s
was a maj or prob|cm rc|at|ng to what wc ca|| mctacogn|t|vc
proccsscs. 5|mp|y put. thc subj ccts` pr|or know|cdgc wou|d
scrcwth|ngs upforthccxpcrimcnt.Vhatcou|dwcdo'Va|t.
5toprccru|t|ngsubj cctsfor awh||c. Ìcop|cdonothavc|ong-
tcrm mcmop for thcsc k|nds ofth|ngs, and thc mcd|a wou|d
bcfccd|ngthcmancvcr-cnd|ngscr|csofncwstor|csandncw
top|cs todcbatc. Jhcrc |s noshortagc. Jhc supp|ysccms |nn-
n|tc. Vc thought that by stopp|ng rccru|ting for about thrcc
months, wc cou|d cffcct|vc|y so|vc our mctacogn|t|on prob-
|cm. Ìndccd, whcn wc rcsumcd our cxpcr|mcnt |n thc sum-
mcr, pcop|c had bas|ca||y forgottcn what had bccn rcportcd.
M I RRO RI N G WA N T I N G A N D L I K I N G
^t bcst, thcy had vaguc mcmor|cs about somc k|nd ofbrain
cxpcr|mcnt atLCL^.
Lur|ngthcsummcr, w|ththcclcct|onapproaching, mcdia
intcrcst p|ckcd up aga|n. But Ì had lcarncd my lcsson. Jh|s
t|mc Ì st|pulatcd an agrccmcnt w|th all mcd|a outlcts who
wantcd to |ntcrv|cw mc. Jhcy would not run thc story un-
t|l wc had complctcd our data collcct|on, wh|ch wc d|d |n
carly 5cptcmbcr. ^t th|s po|nt thc cxpcr|mcnt as or|g|nally
planncd was complctcd, w|th thc pccul|ar|ty that approx|-
matc|y half of thc subj ccts had bccn stud|cd |n thc carly
spr|ng and thc rcma|n|ng half |n thc latc summcr. Ìn this
study, our subj cctswcrc notonlyrcg|stcrcd Lcmocrats or Kc-
publ|cans, thcyhad alsomadc up thc|rm|nds about thc clcc-
t|on,notsurpr|s|ngly, s|nccth|swasoncofthcmostpolar|:cd
prcs|dcnt|al clcct|ons |n^mcr|canh|story. 5uchpart|sans arc
ablc to look atthc vcry samc data and rcach complctclyoppo-
s|tc conclus|ons. Jh|s wc all know. But how do thcy do |t '
Jh|swcdonotknow ( ord|d not, dur|ng thccxpcr|mcnt) . Vc
hopcd to hclp answcr thc qucstion by us|ng vcry simplc
st|mul|÷thcfaccsofthc thrcc cand|datcs÷w|th thc hopc of
m|n|m|:ing thc complcx factors that may bc at play dur-
|ng a pol|tical dcbatc and rcaching thc core ofthc fccl|ng of
afn||at|on w|th a party and a cand|datc. My ma|n hypothcsis
was that fccl|ngs ofcmpathy and |dcnt|ncat|on for your own
cand|datc may bc supportcd by act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron
arcas, orbysupcrm|rrorncurons.
Ìnthc subj cctsstud|cd |n thc spr|ng, thc bra|n act|v|ty wc
obscrvcd was r|ght |n l|nc w|th our ma|n hypothcs|s. Vh|lc
watch|ngthc|rown cand|datc, both LcmocratsandKcpubl|-
Z
4
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cans act|vatcd thc mcd|al orb|tofrontal cortcx. ^s wc know,
th|sbra|n arca|styp|callyact|vatcdbyrcward|ngst|mul|÷for
|nstancc, onc`sfavor|tcfood. Cur cand|datcswcrcpcoplc, not
|nan|matc food, but th|s bra|n arca |s also assoc|atcd w|th
pos|t|vc cmot|ons such as happ|ncss. Vatch|ng onc`s own
cand|datc |s obv|ously assoc|atcd w|th pos|t|vc fccl|ngs. Most
|mportant,ourdcpthclcctrodcrccord|ngs |nthccp|lcpt|cpa-
t|cnts dcscr|bcd |n chaptcr 7 suggcst that |n th|s bra|n arca
thcrc arc supcr m|rror ncurons. Jhcrcforc thc ncural act|v|ty
obscrvcd |n th|s rcg|on was cons|stcnt w|th thc hypothcs|s
thatwatch|ngonc`sowncand|datcwouldcl|c|tfccl|ngsofcm-
pathyand |dcnt|ncat|onthrough thc m|rrorncuronsystcm.
5ofar, so good. Jo ourvastsurpr|sc, howcvcr,thc subj ccts
wc stud|cd |n thc latc summcr d|d not show thc mcd|al or-
b|tofrontal act|v|ty wh|lc watch|ng thcir own cand|datcs.
Ìowwasth|sposs|blc 'Vc lookcd atthcdatavcry carcmlly,
but thc numbcrs rcfuscd to changc. Jhc only rcl|ablc d|ncr-
cncc bctwccn thc bra|n rcsponscs ofthc carly-spr|ng and thc
latc-summcr subj ccts was |ndccd |n th|s onc rcg|on, thc mc-
d|al orb|tofrontal cortcx. Ìt was act|vatcd |n thc spr|ng, dor-
mant|nthclatcsummer.Jh|sdcact|vat|onsuggcstcdnotthat
|ts|mplyfa|lcdtoact|vatc,butrathcrthatan act|vc proccssof
shutt|ng down th|s rcg|on was go|ng on |n thc latc-summcr
subj ccts wh|lc thcy wcrc watch|ng thc p|cturcs ofthc cand|-
datcs thcyplanncdtovotcfor.
Ì bcl|cvc th|s dramat|c changc |n thc mcd|al orb|tofrontal
cortcx |n thc latc-summcr subj ccts was duc to thc changc |n
thc pol|t|c

l cl|matc and thc hcavy usc of ncgat|vc ads and
pcrsonalattacksw|thwh|chboths|dcshadpummclcd thcop-
M I RRO RI N G WA NTI N G A N D L I K I N G
poncnt throughout thc summcr. Ìnsuch a tox|cc||matc, how
cou|d youposs|b|y |dcnt|pandcmpath|:cw|thyourowncan-
d|datc, cvcn though hc wou|d st||| rccc|vc your votc' Ìt was
almost |mposs|b|c. 1hc campa|gnhad ta|ntcd a||ofthccand|-
datcs, cvcnforthc|rpart|sansupportcrs.
Cbv|ous|y, th|s |ntcrprctat|on |s cnt|rc|y post hoc. Ìow-
cvcr, |fwc cons|dcrwhat was go|ng on |n thatcampa|gnand
what wc know about thc mcd|a| orb|tofronta| cortcx, my cx-
p|anat|on |s rcasonab|c. ^nd |f |t |s corrcct, Ì bc||cvc th|s |s
badncwsfor oursoc|cty. Ìtobv|ous|yshowsthatncgat|vc ads
work( noncwstopo||t|ca|consu|tants) , and|ta|soshowsthat
ncgat|vcadscan crcatc adangcrouscmot|ona|d|sconncctbc-
twccn votcrs andthc |cadcrs who shou|d rcprcscnt thcm. ^
hca|thydcmocracy, |n my op|n|on, nccds mcchan|sms ofcm-
pathyand |dcnt|ncat|on bctwccnthcpcop|candthc|rpo||t|-
ca|rcprcscntat|vcs. V|thoutthcscun|p|ng cmot|ons, wc run
thc r|sk ofancvcr-grow|ngd|scnchantmcntw|th thc po||t|ca|
systcmthatmaymakcpcop|cmorcrcccpt|vctoothcrformsof
govcmmcnt. ^nd thus far, thc a|tcrnat|vcs to thc modcm
dcmocrac|cs havc provcd to bc much worsc than what wc
havcnow.
Z
4}
N eu rop ol i ti c s
T HE ORI E S OF P OL I T I C A L AT T I T U DE S
I n thc latc I 990s, Larrcn 5chrc|bcr, thcn a LCL^ graduatc
I studcnt|npol|t|calsc|cncc, nowapol|t|calsc|cncc profcssor
at thc Ln|vcrs|ty of Ca||fom|a, 5an L|cgo, approachcd thc
faculty ofour Bra|n Mapp|ng Ccntcrw|th thc |dca oftcst|ng
ccrta|n thcor|cs about how pol|t|cal att|tudcs arc formcd. ^t
that t|mc, thc uscofbra|n|mag|ngforsucha purposc wasba-
s|callyunhcardof.Þow,|fnotqu|tcma|nstrcam, |t|snotthat
unusua|. ^ fcw labs arc do|ng such rcscarch, ours |ncludcd.
Ìncv|tably, ofcoursc, as Larrcn put h|s |dca |nto act|on and
othcr cxpcr|mcnts fo||owcd ( |nc|ud|ng thc Z001 clcct|on cx-
pcr|mcntÌj ustdcscr|bcd) , Ì bcgantowondcrwhcthcrm|rror-
|ng, and thcrcforc m|rror ncurons, play a rolc |n all th|s.
Jyp|cally, scr|ous studcnts of pol|t|cs havc l|kcd to bcl|cvc
that pol|t|cal th|nk|ng |s a h|ghly rat|onal proccss |n wh|ch
N E U RO P O L I TI C S
automat|c m|rror|ng shou|d not p|ay a maj or ro|c. Ìowcvcr,
wchavc sccn how m|rror|ng |s a pcrvas|vc form ofcommun|-
cat|on and soc|a| |ntcract|on among humans. C|vcn that a
maj or componcnt of po||t|cs |s am||at|on w|th othcrs w|th
whomwc sharc va|ucs and |dcas about howsoc|cty shou|dbc
organ|:cd, Ì th|nk forms ofm|rror|ng arc a|most ccrta|n|y |n-
vo|vcd|nsomc aspcctsofpo||t|ca|th|nk|ng.
^nd cxact|y how rat|ona| |s po||t|ca| th|nk|ng to bcg|n
w|th' Jhat`s what Larrcn wantcd to nnd out, bccausc data
from nat|ona| survcys had st|rrcd a |ong-stand|ng dcbatc |n
thc po||t|ca| sc|cncc ||tcraturc. Vhcn c|t|:cns wcrc askcd a
var|cty of qucst|ons on po||t|ca| |ssucs, a c|car pattcm
cmcrgcd. V|th thosc subj ccts who rcspondcd qu|ck|y, thc rc-
sponscs wcrc cons|stcnt |n tcrms of po||t|ca| att|tudcs. Jhcy
"madc scnsc. " Ìor |nstancc, |f onc of thcsc qu|ck|y rcp|y|ng
subj ccts cxprcsscd a "||bcra|" att|tudc on abort|on, thc samc
subj cct wou|d probab|y rcspond w|th a "||bcra|" att|tudc on
cducat|on or gay r|ghts. Ìowcvcr, anothcr group of subj ccts
rcqu|rcd,onavcragc,qu|tca|ongt|mctorcspondtothcqucs-
t|ons, and thc|r answcrs wcrc notcons|stcnt. Cnsomcqucs-
t|ons thcy wou|d havc thc "||bcra|" att|tudc, on othcrs thc
"conscrvat|vc"onc. Þor wasthcrcanycons|stcncyw|th|nthc
group. thc samc qucst|on wou|d c||c|t a ||bcra| answcr from
somcofthc s|owrcp||crs, aconscrvat|vcanswcrfrom othcrs.
Cvcra||, thc rcsu|ts from thcsc survcys sccmcd to |dcnt|p
two d|ncrcntk|nds ofc|t|:cns. Vas thcrc any maj or var|ab|c
that cou|d cas||y d|hcrcnt|atc bctwccn thcm' Jhc answcr
sccmcdtobc ycs. Jhc subj ccts who kncw a |ot aboutpo||t|cs
wcrcthconcswhorcspondcdqu|ck|yandw|thcons|stcntat-
Z

M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
t|tudcs. Jhc subj ccts who d|dn`tknow ncar|y as much took a
|ong t|mc to rcspond and thcn d|d so "|ncons|stcnt|y. "Ìnthc
I ºó0s, thc po||t|ca| sc|cnt|st Ìh|||p Convcrsc wrappcd up h|s
ana|ys|s of th|s phcnomcnon by suggcst|ng that po||t|ca| so-
ph|st|catcshadwc||- |nformcd a|thoughrathcrcrysta|||:cdpo-
||t|ca|op|n|ons, whcrcas po||t|ca|nov|ccshadno op|n|ons at
a||, and whcn rcspond|ng to po||t|ca| survcy qucst|ons, thcy
bas|ca||y n|ppcd co|ns. Ìcrhaps th|s summary sounds rathcr
mundanc today, but|tstartcd qu|tc a controvcrsy |nthcpo||t-
|ca| sc|cncc ||tcraturc. ^bout tcn ycars aftcr Convcrsc`s pro-
posa|, anothcr po||t|ca| sc|cnt|st, Chr|s ^chcn, argucd that
thc po||t|ca| nov|ccs s|mp|y wcrc not ab|c to map thc|r truc
att|tudcs dur|ng thcsc po||t|ca| survcys. Jhc|r sccm|ng|y |n-
cons|stcnt rcsponscs wcrc duc not to a |ack ofpo||t|ca| att|-
tudcs, but to |mpcrfcct, |nadcquatc po||t|ca| survcys. ^nd a
th|rd hypothcs|s was morc rcccnt|y proposcd by |ohn La||cr
( |nc|dcnta||ythcmcntorofLarrcn5chrc|bcrdur|ngh|sgrad-
uatc stud|cs) and 5tan|cy Ìc|dman. Jhcy suggcstcd that thc
nov|ccs` |ncons|stcnt rcsponscs wcrc not duc to a comp|ctc
|ack of a po||t|ca| att|tudc÷or to thc art|fact of |mpcrfcct
survcys. Jhcy proposcd |nstcad that wh||c thc crysta|||:cd
op|n|onsofpo||t|ca|soph|st|catcswcrcbascdonana|mostau-
tomat|c rctr|cva| of facts and pr|or cons|dcrat|ons, po||t|ca|
nov|ccs rctr|cvcd |nformat|on rc|cvant to thc po||t|ca| qucs-
t|ons as thcy wcnt a|ong w|th thc survcy. Cn|y thc morc
sa||cnt |nformat|on÷gcncra||y spcak|ng, thc |atcst ncws-
dctcrm|ncd thc|r answcrs. Jhcsc nov|ccs do nccd a wcathcr-
man to know wh|ch way thc

w|nd b|ows ' Jh|s |s why thcy
sccmcdton|p co|nswhcnanswcr|ngthc survcyqucst|ons. '
N E U RO P O L I TI C S
ÌfLa||crandÌc|dman`shypothcs|s|scorrcct,thcd|ffcrcncc
bctwccnpo||t|ca|soph|st|catcs and po||t|ca|nov|ccs |smost|y
duc tocogn|t|vcd|ncrcnccs stcmm|ngfrom d|ncrcnt |cvc|s of
cxpcrt|sc, thc samc d|ncrcnccs that wou|d bc notcd bctwccn
so-ca||cd soph|st|catcs and nov|ccs |nanync|d. 5oph|st|catcs
arc cngagcd |n a wc||-pract|ccd task, thc nov|ccs |n a ncw
onc. Ìn fact, bra|n |mag|ng data show|ngstr|k|ng|y d|ncrcnt
pattcms of act|vat|on bctwccn a wc||-pract|ccd task and a
novc| task havc bccnaroundforycars. '
Larrcn5chrc|bcrsctouttouscbra|n|mag|ngto|ookata||
ofthcscqucst|onsaboutpo||t|ca|th|nk|ng.Ì thoughthchada
vcryc|cvcr|dca, but Ì havc toadm|tthatmy |ntcrcstwasa|so
mot|vatcd by my rcscarch on m|rror|ng. V|th po||t|cs, thc
soph|st|catcs arc a|most j unk|cs. Jhcy`rc hookcd, thanks |n
|argcparttothccnd|cssopportun|t|csprov|dcdbythcVcb. Ì
wantcd to nnd out whcthcr a po||t|ca| j unk|c`s bra|n wou|d
producc h|ghcr m|rror|ng rcsponscs wh||c watch|ng po||t|-
c|ans comparcd w|th watch|ng othcr famous pcop|c. Ì bc-
||cvcd that |t wou|d. Larrcn, h|s mcntor |ohn La||cr, and Ì
mct scvcra| t|mcs ovcr thc coursc ofa ycar to ngurc out how
to sct up a scr|cs ofcxpcr|mcnts that wou|d addrcss thc var|-
ous |ssucs wc wcrc |ntcrcstcd |n. Vcwcrc vcntur|ng |nto thc
unknown. Jhcrc had ncvcr bccn a bra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnt
on |ssucs ofpo||t|ca| sc|cncc. Ìt took us a wh||c to shapc our
|ntcrcsts and |dcas |nto v|ab|c cxpcr|mcnta| dcs|gns. Vhcn
wc nna||y d|d, wchad tofaccthc stand|ng prob|cm |nncuro-
sc|cncc ( and a|most cvcry othcr nc|d) . Ìow cou|d wc fund
thc proj cct ' Ìmag|ng |s an cxpcns|vcsc|cnt|nccntcrpr|sc. Lsc
of thc MKÌ a|onc, w|thout tak|ng |nto account ovcrhcad,
Z
4/
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
sa|ar|cs, vo|untccrfccs, and so on, |s typ|ca||y about s|xhun-
drcd do||ars pcrhour. Jota| costforour |mag|ng cxpcr|mcnts
var|csfromtcnsofthousandstohundrcdsofthousandsofdo|-
|ars.Vcdcs|gncd Larrcn`s studytokccpcostsata m|n|mum,
but |t was st||| s|gn|ncant moncy, and |ntcrd|sc|p||nary proj -
ccts ||kc ours arc a|most a|ways thc most d|fncu|t to nnancc,
bccausc |t |s d|fncu|t to |dcnt|p fund|ng agcnc|cs who w|||
a|sobc |ntcrcstcd|nbrcak|ngdownbarr|crs. Mostspcndthc|r
moncy w|th|n vcry t|ght paramctcrs. Luck||y, at LCL^ wc
havc a rcscarch fund|ng opportun|ty ca||cd thc Chancc||or`s
Ìundfor ^cadcmic Bordcr Cross|ng, spcc|nca||y dcs|gncd for
|ntcrd|sc|p||naryproj ccts |nvo|v|ng two profcssorsfromd|ncr-
cnt d|sc|p|incs mcntor|ng a graduatc studcnt who wants to
pcrform|ntcrd|sc|p||narywork. Ìnthc summcrofZ000wc ap-
p||cd for th|s fund|ng. Co|nc|dcnta||y or othcrw|sc, wc rc-
cc|vcd thc good ncws on c|cct|on day that fa||. Vc thought
th|s was a good s|gn. Jhcn thc c|cctora| mcss |n Ì|or|da
draggcd on and on, and wc cou|d on|y hopc our cxpcr|mcnt
wou|dprocccdmorccxpcd|t|ous|y.
M I RRORI NG AND T HE P OL I T I C A L J UNKI E B RA I N
Jo max|m|:c Larrcn`s chanccs ofobta|n|ng an cxpcr|mcnta|
cffcct, wc thought|twou|d bc uscfu| to sc|cct subj ccts atthc
two cnds of thc spcctrum. ^mong thc soph|st|catcs, wc
wantcd thosc most know|cdgcab|c on subj ccts |n po||t|cs.
^mong thc nov|ccs, wc wantcd to rccru|t thc most c|uc|css
|nd|v|dua|s,whokncwnoth|ngandwcrccontcntnotto.Lar-
N E U RO P O L I T I C S
rcngotdowntobus|ncssandbcganrccru|t|ngsubj ccts |n thc
car|y months ofZ00I . Jo sc|cctthcsc |nd|v|dua|s, hc hadprc-
parcd an cxtrcmc|ydcta||cdscr|csofqucst|ons. Ì|s scrccn|ng
|ntcrv|cwwou|dtakc somchoursforcachsubj cct.Jo nndthc
|dca| soph|st|catcs, hc |ntcrv|cwcd sta|wart mcmbcrs of thc
Lcmocrat|c and Kcpub||can c|ubs on campus, and hc qu|ck|y
found thc "po||t|ca| j unk|cs" wc wcrc |ooking for. Jhcsc
young mcn and womcn wcrc wc||- |nformcd, and thc|r po||t|-
ca| att|tudcs wcrc rad|ca| and crysta|||:cd. Larrcn`s soph|st|-
catcs|ookcd||kc |dco|ogucs.
Jhc rccru|tmcnt of thc nov|ccs was not tcrr|b|y painfu|
c|thcr. Larrcn advcrt|scd thc study through thc usua| rccru|t-
mcntchannc|s, and Ì don`t supposc anyonc wi|| bc surpr|scd
to|camthat|otsofLCL^studcntsd|dnot ( and st||| donot)
know much about po||t|cs. Larrcn had p|cnty of nov|ccs to
choosc from. Jhc subj ccts hc chosc wcrc indccd c|uc|css and
uttcr|y w|thout wc||-formcd po||t|ca| att|tudcs. Jhcy kncw
that Bush was thc ncw prcs|dcnt, thcy kncw thcrc had bccn
somc k|nd ofprob|cmonc|cct|onday,thcym|ght cvcnhavc
rcspondcd to thc phrasc "hang|ng chad, " but that was about
|t. (Joday, thcy wou|d a|so know that 5chwar:cncggcr |s thc
govcrnor ofCa||forn|a. )
^sccondarygoa| ofthc |ntcrv|cwsw|ththcnoviccswasto
gathcrthc |nformat|onncccssarytodcs|gnoncofthc |mag|ng
cxpcr|mcnts.CnckcyforLarrcn`sdcs|gnwasthatthcnov|ccs
had to at |cast rccogn|:c thc faccs ofthc po||t|c|ans, cvcn |f
thcykncw a|most noth|ng about thcm, sohc cxp||c|t|yaskcd
h|s potcnt|a| subj ccts whcthcr thcy rccogn|:cd ccrta|n faccs.
Jhis is how wc d|scovcrcd thc dcpth of thc c|uc|cssncss on
Z
4V
M I RR O RI N G P E O P L E
thc LCL^ campus.Jhcfaccof|oc L|cbcrman,whohadbccn
^| Corc's runn|ng matc |n thc famous d|sputcd c|cct|on |css
thanaycarcar||cr, wasbas|ca||yunknownamongthcmassof
studcnts. Vc a|so factorcd |n anothcr var|ab|c, thc constant
hot-button|ssuc |n^mcr|canpo||t|cs.racc. Jhcwho|ccxpcr-
|mcnta| dcs|gn thus compr|scd thrcc d|ncrcnt k|nds offaccs.
po||t|ca|ornotpo||t|ca|, famous ornotfamous, and wh|tc or
^fr|can^mcr|can.
Cn scanday, thc subj ccts wcrc s|mp|y askcd to watch thc
faccswh||cwcwcrc mcasur|ng thc|rbra|n act|v|tyw|thfKI.
Vc foundwhatÌhadprcd|ctcdw|thmythcorythatm|rror|ng
|nd|catcs, amongothcrth|ngs, ascnscofam||at|on,ofbc|ong-
|ng to a spcc|nc commun|ty w|th|n thc |argcr commun|ty of
our soc|cty. Ìo||t|ca||y soph|st|catcd subj ccts had h|ghcr ac-
t|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron arcas whcn thcy v|cwcd thc famous
po||t|ca|faccs, comparcdw|thwhcnthcyv|cwcdfamousnon-
po||t|ca| faccs and unknown faccs. Jhc po||t|ca| nov|ccs d|d
not show any such d|ncrcncc |n m|rror ncuron arcas whcn
thcywcrcwatch|ngpo||t|ca|andnonpo||t|ca|faccs. Vhcnwc
comparcdthc rcsu|ts obta|ncdw|ththc po||t|ca|soph|st|catcs
w|th thc rcsu|ts obta|ncd |n our prcv|ous study on |m|tat|ng
andobscrv|ngfac|a|cmot|ona|cxprcss|onsdcscr|bcd|nchap-
tcr 1,' wc found rcmarkab|y s|m||ar |ocat|ons of act|vat|on.
1h|s anatom|ca| corrcspondcncc suggcsts that cvcn for thc
morcabstracttypcsofm|rror|ngÌ hadhypothcs|:cdastheba-
s|s ofthcsc act|vat|ons÷thc scnsc ofbc|ong|ng to a spcc|nc
commun|ty÷thc m|rror ncuron systcm st||| uscs thc bas|c
ncura| mcchan|sm that a|so act|vatcs dur|ng morc mundanc
m|rror|ngtasks.'
Z
§
0
N E U RO P O L I T I C S
Jhc cxpcr|mcnt us|ng thc photographs to look for m|rror
ncuron act|v|ty among pol|t|cal soph|st|catcs was onc oftwo
Larrcn conductcd w|th thc samc subj ccts. Ìn thc othcr onc,
hc tcstcd whcthcr soph|st|catcs and nov|ccs usc d|ffcrcnt
bra|n arcas whcn th|nk|ng about pol|t|cal |ssucs. Ì|s "cxpcr-
t|sc" hypothcs|s had suggcstcd that thcy do, bccausc prcv|ous
datafromth|sk|ndof|mag|ngcxpcr|mcnt÷look|ngatnovcl
vcrsus wcll-pract|ccd tasks÷had shown bra|n act|vat|on |n
largcly scparatcd bra|n arcas. Jhc act|vat|ons for thc novcl
taskssuggcstcdthatthcyarcpcrformcd ( bccausc thcyhavc to
bc) w|th a h|gh lcvcl ofcogn|t|vc cnort, spcc|ncally w|th cn-
hanccd act|vat|on |n thc dorsolatcral prcfrontal cortcx, an
arca known for |ts rolc |n thc so-callcd cxccut|vc funct|ons.
Cnthcothcrhand, wcll-pract|ccdtaskssccmtobcpcrformcd
mostly us|ng |nformat|on rctr|cvcd from mcmory, us|ng arcas
|n thc tcmporal lobc, an |mportant bra|n structurc for mcm-
ory. ^ccord|ng to Larrcn's hypothcs|s, thcrcforc, pol|t|cal
nov|ccs andsoph|st|catcsshouldshow analogous pattcms of
act|vat|on. cogn|t|vc arcasforthc pol|t|calnov|ccs, for whom
th|nk|ngaboutpol|t|cswouldbc cogn|t|vcwork, andmcmory
arcasforthc soph|st|catcs, who alrcady havc thc|r answcrs to
pol|t|calstatcmcntsand havc mcrclytorctr|cvc thcm.
Ìn th|s sctup, thc subj ccts l|stcncd to a scr|cs ofd|g|tally
rccordcd statcmcnts, halfofthcm pol|t|cal, halfnonpol|t|cal.
Jhc pol|t|cal statcmcnts conccmcd typ|cal hot-button |ssucs
|n ^mcr|canpol|t|cs, and thc subj ccts wcrc askcd to agrccor
d|sagrcc w|th cach statcmcnt. Jhc statcmcnts wcrc carcfully
craftcd sothat thc |n|t|alphrasc was always thc samc. Ior |n-
stancc, thc pol|t|cal statcmcnts startcd, "Jhc govcrnmcnt |n
Z
§
¡
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Vash|ngton . . . "Jhcnna|partofthcscntcnccprcscntcdthc
novc| op|n|onfor cach statcmcnt÷for cxamp|c, "shou|d cn-
couragc adopt|on by bann|ng abort|on. "Jhcsc |oadcd statc-
mcnts wcrc rc|at|vc|y s|m||ar |n structurc to thc qucst|ons
Larrcn had uscd to rcvca| thc d|ncrcnt pattcms ofbchav|or
bctwccnpo||t|ca|soph|st|catcsandpo||t|ca|nov|ccs.Jhcspc-
c|ncandcarcfu|formofprcscntat|ona||owcdustodc||vcrthc
cr|t|ca|partofthc statcmcnt |na rc|at|vc|ywc||-dcnncd tcm-
pora|w|ndow, wh|chhc|pcd us |ook |na fa|r|y prcc|scway at
thcbra|nchangcsoccurr|ngfrom thc prcscntat|onofthc |m-
portant matcr|a| to thc rcsponsc of thc subj cct, wh|ch was
g|vcnbyprcss|ngonc oftwo buttons.
Larrcngot h|s answcr |oud andc|car.Jhcpattcmofbra|n
act|vat|onforpo||t|ca|soph|st|catcsandnov|ccswasqu|tcd|f-
fcrcnt÷but not as wc had cxpcctcd. Jo cvcryonc`s surpr|sc,
thc rcsu|ts d|d not showthc cxpcctcd cogn|t|vcfmcmory d|s-
t|nct|on. Jhctwoarcas thatdcmonstratcd thcstr|k|ng d|sso-
c|at|onbctwccnsoph|st|catcsandnov|ccswcrcthcprccuncus
and thc dorsomcd|a| prcfronta| cortcx. Bothbc|ongto a ncu-
ra| systcm ca||cd thc dcfau|t statc nctwork, wh|ch had bccn
d|scovcrcdon|yrcccnt|ybyMarcusKa|ch|candh|sco||cagucs
atVash|ngtonLn|vcrs|ty|n5t. Lou|s. 'Jhcdcfau|tstatcnct-
work|s a pccu||ar sctofcort|ca| arcas thathavch|ghact|v|ty
wh||c thc subj cct |s rcst|ng and do|ng bas|ca||y noth|ng, and
rcduccd act|v|ty wh||c thc subj cct pcrforms cogn|t|vc tasks.
Jh|s rcduct|on |n act|v|ty was substant|a||y |ndcpcndcnt of
thc k|nd ofcogn|t|vc tasks thc subj ccts wcrc pcrform|ng. ^||
|n a||, th|swas a b|:arrc ncura| rcsponsc thatwas d|mcu|tto
|ntcrprct. By |ook|ng at ccrta|n phys|o|og|ca| paramctcrs
Z
§
Z
N E U RO P O L I T I C S
mcasurcd w|th ÌLJ ( thc now somcwhat out-of-favor tcch-
n|quc that uscs rad|oact|vc matcr|a|, as d|scusscd) , Ka|ch|c
and co||cagucs dcmonstratcd that thcsc rcg|ons wcrc actua||y
shutting themselves down dur|ng a var|cty of cogn|t|vc tasks.
Jh|nk|ng carcfu||y about th|s, thcy suggcstcd that thcsc arcas
rcprcscntcd somc k|nd of dcfault statc of thc bra|n that |s
dom|nant whcn thcrc arc no spcc|nc goa|s or tasks at hand,
whcn thc subj ccts ( that |s, wc humans) daydrcam or "do
noth|ng. "Vhcn ccrta|n tasks rcqu|rc attcnt|on, th|s "dcfau|t
statc" |s ovcrr|ddcn and |tsnctworkshutsdown.
Jh|s ana|ys|s t|cs |n pcrfcctly w|th thc rcsu|ts from Lar-
rcn's tcst. Lur|ng thc po||t|ca|qucst|ons, thcsc "dcfau|tstatc"
bra|n arcas wcrc act|vatcd |n thc soph|st|catcs, who th|nk
about po||t|cs a|l thc t|mc ( thc|r own "dcfault statc") and do
notnccdtodcp|oyattcnt|ontothcpo||t|ca|statcmcnts.Jhcy
nccd on|y thc|rmcmory banks. Jhc nov|ccs, howcvcr, had to
th|nk about thc po||t|ca| statcmcnts, so thcy gcarcd up for
cogn|t|on and shutdown thc dcfau|tnctwork. º
Jo j udgcbythcbra|n|mag|ng||tcraturc, |ncrcascdact|v|ty
|n thcsc dcfault statc arcas |s cxtrcmc|y rarc dur|ng any k|nd
ottask. ^s |thappcns, wchadprcv|ous|y obscrvcdonc ofthc
most robust, |fnotthc most robust, |ncrcascs |nmy |ab. '\cry
provocat|vc|y, th|s |ncrcascd act|v|ty |n thc dcfau|t statc nct-
workwaspara||clcdby|ncrcascdact|v|ty |nm|rrorncuronar-
cas. ^nd now Larrcn's cxpcr|mcnt had p|ckcd up |ncrcascd
act|v|ty |n thc dcfau|t arcas for thc po||r|ca| soph|st|catcs. Ìs
thcrc a ||nk bctwccn thc rcsu|ts of thcsc two cxpcr|mcnts '
Morc gcncra||y, what |s thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn m|rror ncu-
ron arcas and dcfau|t statc arcas ' Bcforc wc cons|dcr thcsc
Z
§}
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
qucst|ons, |ct`s |ook at that pr|or study, wh|ch was un|quc,
cvcnapartfrom|tsrcsu|ts,part|ybccauscthcdr|v|ngforccbc-
h|nd|twasananthropo|og|st,notcxact|ythck|ndofscho|ar
who typ|cal|y part|c|patcs |n abra|n |mag|ngstudy.
B RA I N P OL I T I C S
^|an Ì|skc |s an anthropo|ogy profcssor at LCL^ who has
pcrformcd d dcta||cdcthnograph|cana|ys|softhc Mooscpco-
p|c of Burk|na Ìaso, a Vcst ^fr|can soc|cty. Lraw|ng hom
th|snc|dworkandfrom scho|ar|yworkcncompass|ngavar|cty
ofd|sc|p||ncs study|ng a var|cty ofcu|turcs, ^|an proposcd a
modc|ofhumansoc|a|rc|at|ons, accord|ngtowh|chwcrc|atc
to cach othcr us|ng four c|cmcntary forms ofsoc|a| rc|at|ons.
communa|shar|ng, |nwh|chpcop|c havc a scnsc ofcommon
|dcnt|ty, author|ty rank|ng, |n wh|ch pcop|c rc|atc to cach
othcr fo||ow|ng a h|crarchy, cqua||ty match|ng, |n wh|ch
thcrc |s an cga||tar|an rc|at|onsh|p among pccrs, and markct
pr|c|ng, |n wh|ch thc rc|at|onsh|p |s mcd|atcd by va|ucs that
fo||ow a markct systcm. ^|an contcnds that thcsc four c|c-
mcntary rc|at|ona| structurcs and thc|rvar|at|ons accountfor
a||thc soc|a|rc|at|onsamonga||humans |na||cu|turcs. º
^|anpub||shcd that work |n I ººI . L|ghtycars ago ( about
a ycar bcforc Oarrcn 5chrc|bcr wa|kcd |nto my omcc) , ^|an
contactcdmcabouttcam|nguponan|mag|ngcxpcr|mcntrc-
|at|ng toh|s wc||-knownmodc|ofsoc|a|rc|at|ons. Ìfoundthc
|dcafasc|nat|ngbccauschcmadcmcrca||:cthatthoscofus|n
thc |abwcrc bas|ca||y study|ngrcsponscs |n m|rrorncuronar-
Z
§4
N E U RO P O L I T I C S
cas wh||c subj ccts wcrc s|mp|ywatch|ng or |m|tat|ng |nd|v|d-
ua| act|ons. Jhcsc act|ons wcrc rarc|ysurroundcd by a soc|a|
contcxt. Ìnthc fcw |nstanccs |n wh|chwc uscd a soc|a| con-
tcxtsurround|ngthc act|on, as |n thc "|ntcnt|on"cxpcr|mcnt
w|ththctcacupsdcscr|bcd|nchaptcr Z, thccontcxtwascom-
poscdon|yofobj ccts, nopcop|c. C|vcnourc|a|mthatm|rror
ncuronswcrc |mportant ncura|c|cmcntsforsoc|a|bchav|or, Ì
kncw |t was |mportant to mcasurc bra|n rcsponscs |n m|rror
ncuron arcas |n an cxpcr|mcnt |n wh|ch thc obscrvcdact|ons
wcrc h|gh|y rc|cvant to human soc|a| rc|at|ons. Ja|k|ng w|th
^|anabouth|s |dca, Ìcnv|s|oncdan cxpcr|mcnta|dcs|gnfora
study that cou|d su|t both of our purposcs. thc on|y task for
thc subj ccts |n thc scanncrwou|dbc thc obscrvat|onofsoc|a|
rc|at|ons bctwccn pcop|c. Cf coursc, wc cou|d not br|ng a
bunch ofpcop|c |nto thc scanncr room and stagc var|ous |n-
tcract|onswh||c oursubj ccts watchcd, sowc prcparcd a sct of
v|dco c||ps dcp|ct|ng cvcryday soc|a| |ntcract|ons. Ìnordcr to
s|mp||p thc cxpcr|mcnta| dcs|gn, wc a|so dcc|dcd to focus
on on|y two of thc four rc|at|ona| modc|s of ^|an`s thcory.
Cncc aga|n, wc wcrc mov|ng |nto unchartcd tcrr|tory. Ìn
thcsc cascs, a rc|at|vc|y s|mp|c cxpcr|mcnta| dcs|gn |s h|gh|y
adv|sab|c.
^s |nthcbra|n |mag|ng cxpcr|mcntonpo||t|cspcrformcd
by Larrcn 5chrc|bcr, |n wh|ch wc p|ckcd subj ccts at thc far
cnds of thc po||t|ca| cont|nuum, wc p|ckcd thc two soc|a| rc-
|at|ona| modc|s that sccmcd at thc tar cnds ofa cont|nuum.
Cnc was communa| shar|ng, prcdom|nant|y bascd on k|nd-
ncss and shar|ng, and thc othcr onc was author|ty rank|ng,
bascd on h|crarch|ca| |ncqua||ty. Jhc tr|cky |ssuc was that
Z
§§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
communal shar|ng rclat|ons sccm |nhcrcntly pos|t|vc, wh|lc
author|ty rank|ng rclat|ons arc typ|cally pcrcc|vcd |n a ncga-
t|vc way, cspcc|ally by Þorth ^mcr|can subj ccts. Jh|s was a
"confound|ng factor" thatwc had to controlfor |fwc wcrc to
ach|cvc a pattcrn ofbra|n act|vat|on that truly rcncctcd d|f-
fcrcnccs|nthcwaywcproccsssoc|al rclat|ons, notd|ncrcnccs
|n how ^mcr|cans fccl about author|ty ngurcs | Vc cndcd up
w|thth|rty-s|xv|dcocl|ps, afa|rly largc sctforsuchancxpcr-
|mcnt, halfdcp|ct|ng communalshar|ng soc|al rclat|ons, thc
othcrhalfdcp|ct|ng author|ty rank|ng soc|al rclat|ons. 5omc
ofthccl|psfor cachrclat|onsh|pclcarlycl|c|tcdpos|t|vccmo-
t|ons, thc othcrs cl|c|tcd ncgat|vc cmot|ons, thus controll|ng
for thc "cmot|onalvalcncc"ofthccl|ps.
Vcuscdscrccnwr|tcrs, actors, andoncd|rcctorto actually
makc thc v|dco cl|ps. Ì|nd|ng thcsc profcss|onals was not
much ofa problcm, g|vcn that wc l|vc |n thc cntcrta|nmcnt
cap|tal ofthc world. Cnc ofthc many fasc|nat|ng aspccts of
th|s cxpcr|mcnt was cxpla|n|ng to thc scrccnwr|tcrs thc an-
thropolog|cal modcl that |nsp|rcd |t and work|ng w|th thcm
tocrcatc rcal|st|c scr|ptsthatwoulddcp|ct thc soc|alrclat|ons
|n a var|cty of cvcryday s|tuat|ons. Jhc "dcvclopmcnt" pro-
ccss, as thcy say |n that tradc, was fa|rly |nvolvcd, but aftcr
about s|x months wc wcrc sat|sncd w|th thc scr|pts. Vc
brought|nthc d|rcctorand thc pcrformcrs and shotascr|csof
vcry short mov|cs. Lach story was |dcnt|cally structurcd, |n-
troduc|ngonccharactcrfor "bascl|nc"purposcs,thcnbr|ng|ng
|n thc sccondcharactcrfor thc |ntcract|on÷thc "rclat|onal"
scgmcnt. Jhc dcp|ctcd s|tuat|ons wcrc w|dcly var|ablc, from
N E U RO P O L I TI C S
omcc sccncs to baskctba|| courts, hom |ovcrs p|ayfu||y |ntcr-
act|ngtoj udgcsru||ng |ncourt.
Look|ng at thc bra|n data of thc subj ccts watch|ng thcsc
sccncs, wc found robust act|v|ty |n m|rror ncurons, as cx-
pcctcd, bccausc thc obscrvcdcharactcrswcrc mak|nga||sorts
ofact|onsdur|ng thc courscofthc sccnc. Ìndccd, m|rrorncu-
ron act|v|ty |n th|s study sccmcd strongcr than anyth|ng wc
had prcv|ous|y mcasurcd, and th|s robustncss was cspcc|a||y
h|gh dur|ng thc rc|at|ona| scgmcnt ofthc c||p. Jh|s corrc|a-
t|onconnrmcdthatm|rrorncuronsarc cspcc|a||y|ntcrcstcd|n
act|ons that unfo|d dur|ng soc|a| rc|at|ons, probab|y bccausc
thoscact|onsarccr|t|ca|toourundcrstand|ngofthcrc|at|on-
sh|p. Cthcr bra|n arcas a|so dcmonstratcd fair|y robust ac-
t|v|ty wh||c subj ccts watchcd thc soc|a| |ntcract|on c||ps.
part|cu|ar|ythcdcfau|t statc nctwork,wh|chhadbccn |mp||-
catcd|nLarrcn`s cxpcr|mcntw|thpo||t|ca|j unk|cs answcr|ng
po||t|ca| qucst|ons. My |ntcrprctat|on of thcsc data |s that
wh||c po||t|ca| j unk|cs th|nk about po||t|cs a|| thc t|mc ( |t`s
thc|r"dcfau|tstatc") , mostpcop|c th|nkaboutsoc|a| rc|at|ons
a||thc t|mc ( |t`sour"dcfau|tstatc") . Vhoam Ì ' Ì amthc hus-
bandofmyw|fc, thcfathcrofmydaughtcr, thcsonofmypar-
cnts, thc mcntor of my tra|nccs, thc co||caguc of my pccrs,
andsoon. Ì amconstant|ydcnncd|nrc|at|onto othcrpcop|c.
Ìtsccmsthatthcrc|s,|nadd|t|ontothcm|rrorncuronsystcm,
anothcr ncura| systcm |n thc bra|n÷thc dcfau|t statc nct-
work÷that |s conccmcd w|th both sc|fandothcr, |n wh|ch
sc|f and othcr arc |ntcrdcpcndcnt. ' Vh||c m|rror ncurons
dca| w|th thc phys|ca| aspccts ofsc|fand othcrs, Ì bc||cvcthc
Z §
Í
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
dcfau|t statc nctwork dca|s w|th morc abstract aspccts of
thc rc|at|onsh|p bctwccn sc|f and othcr÷thc|r ro|cs |n thc
soc|ctyfcommun|tythcybc|ongto.
Ì amconv|nccdthatundcrstand|ngthcfundamcnta| con-
ncct|onsbctwccnsc|fand othcr |s csscnt|a| for undcrstand|ng
oursc|vcs÷my"twos|dcsofthc samc co|n" argumcnt. M|rror
ncurons arc thc bra|n cc||s that n|| thc gap bctwccn sc|fand
othcr by cnab||ng somc sort ofs|mu|at|on or |nncr |m|tat|on
ofthc act|ons ofothcrs. Vc arc |cftw|th onc nna| qucst|on.
Vhyon carthdowcnccdtos|mu|atc |nthcnrstp|acc'
E x i stenti a l N eu ros c i enc e
and Soc i ety
MIRROR C E L L S B E T WEEN U S
or thc mostpart |n th|s book, Ì havc bccn dcscr|b|ng thc
dcta||s of thc cmp|r|ca| rcscarch on m|rror ncurons and
thc |mp|icat|ons that now from that rcscarch. Vc havc sccn
thatm|rrorncurons |n thc monkcybra|narcconccrncdw|th
thc contro| of ccrta|n fundamcnta| act|ons |n thc an|ma|`s
motor rcpcrto|rc, such as grasp|ng obj ccts, b|t|ng food, and
mak|ng commun|cat|vc fac|a|cxprcss|ons. Jhcya|sohavcthc
surpr|s|ng propcrty ofnr|ng whcn thc monkcy |s not mov|ng
at a|| and |ss|mp|ywatch|ngsomcbody c|sc mak|ng thosc ac-
t|ons. M|rror ncurons a|so rcspond to sounds assoc|atcd w|th
act|ons such as brcak|ng a pcanut, cvcn whcn thc act|on |s
not sccn. M|rror cc||s hrc cvcn whcn thc act|on |s part|a||y
occ|udcd, andthcyarcab|ctod|ncrcnt|atcbctwccntwo |dcn-
t|ca| grasp|ng act|ons madc w|th d|ncrcnt |ntcnt|ons. Jakcn
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
togcthcr, thcsc cc||s sccm to "m|m|c" |n thc obscrv|ng mon-
kcy`sbra|nthcact|onsandthc|ntcnt|onsofothcr|nd|v|dua|s.
Bu||d|ng on and para||c||ng thc rcscarch on monkcys,
bra|n|mag|ngandmagnct|cst|mu|at|ondataonhumanshavc
rcvca|cd a m|rror ncuron systcm that fu|n||s thc samc func-
t|ons as |t docs |n monkcys. Ìn humans, howcvcr, |ts ro|c |n
|m|tat|on |s cvcn morc cr|t|ca| bccausc |m|tat|on |s sofunda-
mcnta|for ourcxponcnt|a||ygrcatcrcapac|tyfor |carn|ngand
for thc transm|ss|on ofcu|turc. Ìuman m|rror ncuron arcas
a|so sccm |mportant for cmpathy, sc|f-awarcncss, and |an-
guagc. Vchavc bccnwork|ngw|th m|rrorncuronsfor barc|y
nftccn ycars, but a|rcady wc havc |camcd that thcsc cc||s arc
qu|tc||kc|ytobcv|ta||y|mportantforourovcra||undcrstand-
|ngofthchumanbra|nandm|npand, thcrcforc, ofoursc|vcs.
^|| ofthcsc rcpcrcuss|ons nowfrom thc "s|mp|c" mccha-
n|sm by wh|ch m|rror ncurons nrc not on|y dur|ng our own
act|onsbuta|sodur|ngthcobscrvat|onofthcsamcact|onsby
othcrs. Jhc m|rrorncuron systcm sccms to proj cct |ntcma||y
(psychoana|ystswou|dsay"|ntroj cct") thoscothcrpcop|c |nto
our own bra|ns. Ìow aston|sh|ng shou|d thcsc nnd|ngs sccm
to us ' Cnc of my co||aborators÷thc ncurosurgcon Ìt:hak
Ìr|cd, who d|d thc ground brcak|ng work w|th dcpth c|cc-
trodcs |mp|antcd |n thcbra|ns ofcp||cpt|c pat|cnts rcqu|r|ng
surgcry÷to|d mc a story at a mcct|ng wc both attcndcd.
Ìt:hakopcratcsonpat|cntsboth|nLos^ngc|csand|n Ìsrac|.
^ coup|c ofsummcrs ago, wh||c hcwas |n Ìsrac|, hcsaw on
tc|cv|s|onthcprcscntat|onofanawardtoafamous Ìsrac||ac-
tor. Ìn h|s acccptancc spccch, th|s actor mcnt|oncd m|rror
ncurons.Jhcstory,as Ìt:hakrc|atcd |ttomc, |sthatthc actor
Z Ó 0
E X I S T E N T I A L N E U RO S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E T Y
sa|dthat ncurosc|cnt|stshad d|scovcrcd thcsc bra|n cclls that
nrcwhcnonc makcs an act|onorafac|alcxprcss|on, and also
whcnonc obscrvcs somcbodyclscmak|ngthc samc act|onor
thc samc fac|al cxprcss|on÷dcscr|b|ng thc bas|c facts, |n
othcr words. Ìc thcn notcd that wh|lc ncurosc|cnt|sts found
th|s propcrty cxtraord|nary, thcy should havc askcd "us ac-
tors, "whohavcknown-r, bcttcr, "fclt"÷allalongthatthcy
musthavc somcthing l|kc thcsc cclls |n thc|rbra|ns ' Vhcn Ì
scc somconc with a pa|nful fac|al cxprcss|on, sa|d thc actor,
Ì fcclhcrpa|n|nsidc mc.'
Vhcn wc think about |t, thc Ìsracl| actor |s clcarly r|ght.
Ìnmanycascs, th|struthsccms almostsclf-cv|dcnt. Vhcnwc
|ntrospcctivcly look |nto oursclvcs, wc nnd this |mmcd|atc
pcrccpt|on ofthc act|ons and cmot|ons ofothcrs. 5owhyd|d
( and do) ncurosc|cnt|sts nnd mirrorncurons such cxtraord|-
narycclls ' Ì bcl|cvc |tgocsbackto thc assumpt|onsd|scusscd
atthcbcg|nningofthcbook,assumpt|onswcalltcndtomakc
thatd|ctatcthcwaywcv|cwthcphcnomcnawcobscrvc.Jhc
most dom|nantv|cw |n th|nk|ng about thc m|nd÷at lcast |n
Vcstcmculturc÷or|g|natcsfromapos|t|onthatgocsbackto
thc Ìrcnch ph|losophcr Lcscartcs and looks at thc start|ng
po|ntofthcm|ndandthcsclfasthcsol|tary, pr|vatc, |nd|v|d-
ualactofth|nk|ng, thc famous cogito ofcogito ergo sum. 5omc
ph|losophcrshavcargucdthatallsortsofproblcmsar|sc |fonc
acccptsthcscprcm|scs,|nclud|ngthcfamousproblcmofothcr
m|nds, wh|chhascomcup |nscvcralcontcxtshcrc. Ìowcvcr,
somc othcr ph|losophcrs, among thcm V|ttgcnstc|n, ccrta|n
cx|stcnt|al phcnomcnolog|sts, and ccrta|n |apancsc ph|loso-
phcrs, havc challcngcd thc |dca that thc problcm of othcr
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
m|nds |s a d|fncu|t onc by cmphas|:|ng thc |mmcd|acy ofour
pcrccpt|on of thc mcnta| statcs of othcr pcop|c. Kcmcmbcr
Mcr|cau-Ìonty`s d|ctum "Ì ||vc |n thc fac|a| cxprcss|on ofthc
othcr, as Ì fcc| h|m ||v|ng |n m|nc. " ^nd now ||stcn to
V|ttgcnstc|n. "Vc see cmot|on . . . Vcdonotsccfac|a|con-
tort|ons and make the inference that hc |s fcc||ng j oy, gr|cf,
borcdom. Vc dcscr|bc a facc |mmcd|atc|y as sad, rad|ant,
borcd, cvcnwhcnwcarcunab|ctog|vcanyothcrdcscr|pt|on
of thc fcaturcs. "' M|rror ncurons sccm to cxp|a|n why and
howV|ttgcnstc|nandthc cx|stcnt|a|phcnomcno|og|stswcrc
corrccta||a|ong.
Ìn th|s nna| chaptcr, Ì tum to thcsc morc stra|ghtforward
thcorct|ca| |mp||cat|onsofthc d|scovcryofm|rrorncurons, of
wh|ch Ì bc||cvc two arc thc most |mportant. Jhc nrst con-
ccrns |ntcrsubj cct|v|ty, wh|ch has a|rcady gcncratcd qu|tc a
|argc ||tcraturc. Jhc sccond |mp||cat|on has bccn d|scusscd
much|css,butÌbc||cvc|tmaybccvcnmorc|mportant.Ìthas
to do w|th thc ro|c ofncurosc|cncc |n shap|ng and chang|ng
our soc|ctyforthc bcttcr.
T HE P ROB LE M OF INT ERS U B J E C T I VIT Y
Ìntcrsubj cct|v|ty, thc shar|ng ofmcan|ngbctwccnpcop|c, has
a|ways bccn pcrcc|vcd as a prob|cm |n c|ass|ca| cogn|t|v|sm.
5|mp|y put ( vcry s|mp|y÷|ong books havc bccn dcvotcd to
thcsubj cct) . ÌfÌhavcacccsson|ytomyownm|nd,wh|ch|sa
pr|vatc cnt|ty that on|y Ì canacccssd|rcct|y, howcanÌ poss|-
E X I S T E N T I A L N E U RO S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E T Y
b|yundcrstandthc m|ndsofothcrpcop|c'ÌowcanÌ poss|b|y
sharc thc wor|dw|th othcrs, and how can thcy poss|bly sharc
thc|rown mcnta| statcsw|thmc'
Cnc c|ass|cso|ut|on to th|s prob|cmhas bccn prov|dcdby
an argumcnt from ana|ogy, wh|chgocs as fo||ows. ÌfÌ ana|y:c
myownm|ndand |tsact|v|ty |n rc|at|on tomyownbodyand
|ts act|ons, Ì rca||:c that thcrc arc somc ||nks bctwccn my
m|ndandmybody. ÌfÌ amncrvous, Ì mayswcat,cvcnthough
|t|snothot.ÌfÌ am|npa|n,Ì mayscrcam.5ofar,sogood, and
Ì now takc th|s undcrstand|ng and |ook at thc othcr pcrson
andnndanana|ogybctwccntht bodyandmyownbody.^nd
|fthcrc |ssuch an ana|ogy, thcrc maythcrcforc bcanana|ogy
bctwccnthc othcrpcrson`sbodyand thc othcrpcrson`sm|nd.
5o|fÌ sccthc othcrpcrsonswcat|ngwhcn|t|snothot, Ì may
conc|udc that thc othcr pcrson |s ncrvous. Ìf Ì scc thc othcr
pcrson scrcam|ng, Ì may conc|udc thatthc othcrpcrson |s |n
pa|n. By ana|ogy Ì arr|vc at thc conc|us|on that h|s bchav|or
mustsomchowbcthcc|uctoundcrstand|ngh|scmot|onsand
what |sgo|ngon |n h|s m|nd.
^|though th|s k|nd of ana|ogy docs not a||ow mc to bc
comp|ctc|y pos|t|vc about thc mcnta| statcs ofothcr pcop|c,
and |t docs not a||ow mc to sharc thc|r fcc||ngs and cxpcr|-
cnccs, |tccrta|n|ydocsa||owmc toconc|udcw|th rcasonab|c
ccrta|ntythatpcop|c havcm|nds||kc myown.
Crso |twou|d sccm. Jhcargumcnthasbccnhcav||ycr|t|-
c|:cdbysomcth|nkcrsonthcgroundsthatth|swayofrcason-
|ng about thc mcnta| statcs of othcr pcop|c |s way too
comp|cx for somcth|ng wc sccm to accomp||sh so natura||y,
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
cffortlcssly, and quickly all thc timc. Ìndccd, |trcminds us of
thc infcrcntial approach to thc undcrstand|ng ofthc mcnta|
statcs ofothcr pcoplc proposcd by thcorythcory as wc havc
sccninchaptcrZ.
^ diffcrcntkindofcr|t|cismofthc analogy argumcnt that
is lcsscommonlyraiscd÷butwhichÌ nndqu|tc compc|l|ng-
conccrns thc ovcrcstimationofsclf-knowlcdgc impl|cdby thc
argumcnt. ^s wc saw inchaptcr º, wc arc much lcss |ntouch
with our own mcntal proccsscs than wc would ||kc to th|nk.
Kcmcmbcrthc phcnomcnon oftranslat|onald|ssoc|at|ondis-
cusscd |n chaptcr º, or thc cxpcrimcnt on cho|cc blindncss,
whcrcsubj ccts l|tcrallymadcuprcasonswhythcyhadchoscn
a facc on a card as morc attractivc than an altcmat|vc, cvcn
though |t was thc altcmat|vc that thcy had actually choscn'
Ìow can wc usc our undcrstand|ng ofthc sclfas a modcl for
undcrstand|ng othcr pcoplc if wc havc such limitcd sclf-
knowlcdgc' Logically, wc can't÷yct clcarly wc do, sincc wc
succcssfullyprcd|ctand cxpla|n thc bchaviorofothcrscount-
lcss timcs cach day. Vc must do this through somc proccss
othcr than making infcrcnccs bascd on an abstract analogy
bctwccnus and thcm.
^ nnal cr|ticism ofthc analogy argumcnt, also not vcry
common but dcnnitcly compclling in l|ght ofwhat wc know
aboutm|rrorncurons, is thc undcrcstimat|onofthc ab|l|tyto
acccssothcrminds. ^swchavcsccn,w|thoutrcsort|ngtoany
mag|ctr|ck,ourbrainsarccapablcofacccss|ngothcrm|ndsby
usingncural mcchan|sms ofmirror|ngands|mulat|on.
"5|mulation"÷Ì havc uscd thc word numcrous t|mcs to
dcscribc what |s goingon inthc brainofthc obscrvcrofoth-
E X I S TE NTI A L N E U RO S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E TY
crs'act|ons, and| t | s w|dc|yuscd| nthcnc|d,butÌ amnotcn-
t|rc|y happy w|th |t. Jo mc, s|mu|at|on |mp||cs so

c |cvc| of
conscious cnort,whcrcasagrcatdca|ofm|rrorncuronactiv|ty
most ||kc|y rcnccts an cxpcr|cncc-bascd, prc-rcncct|vc, and
automat|c form ofundcrstand|ng othcr m|nds. Jhc fathcr of
phcnomcno|ogy,LdmundÌusscr|,dcscr|bcdthcphcnomcnon
(w|thoutrcfcrr|ngtom|rrorncurons, ofcoursc) as"coup||ng. "
Ì ||kcth|stcrm, though|tmaybctoostrongbccausc|t|mp||cs
thatthctwo|nd|v|dua|sbccomcj ustonccnt|ty. Kcca||that|n
chaptcr 5 ourbra|n |mag|ng datashowhowthc scnsc ofbc|ng
thc agcnt of onc's own act|ons |s ma|nta|ncd÷|n "sp|tc" of
m|rror ncurons÷by cnhanc|ng thc fccdback wc rccc|vc from
our bod|cs. Kcca|| a|so that |n chaptcr 7 our s|ng|c-un|t
rccord|ngs |n ncuro|og|ca| pat|cnts havc rcvca|cd a spcc|a|
c|assofm|rrorncurons÷supcrm|rrorncurons÷that |ncrcasc
thc|rnr|ngratcforact|ons ofthc sc|f, butdccrcascthc|rnr|ng
ratcforact|onsofothcrpcop|c.Jhcsctwoncura|mcchan|sms
a||owus to |ntcma||y rcprcscntsc|fand othcrw|thsomc|cvc|
of|ndcpcndcncc, cvcnwh||cthcyarcm|rror|ngcachothcr.
Jhc ro|c ofm|rror ncurons |n |ntcrsubj cct|v|ty, thcn, may
bc morc accuratc|y dcscr|bcd as a||ow|ng |ntcrdcpcndcncc
rathcrthanpurc "coup||ng. "Vchavc sccn that, throughm|r-
ror ncurons, wc can undcrstand thc |ntcnt|ons of othcrs,
thcrcby prcd|ct|ng÷st||| |n a prc-rcncct|vc way÷thc|r mturc
bchav|or. Jhc |ntcrdcpcndcncc bctwccn sc|f and othcr that
m|rror ncurons a||ow shapcs thc soc|a| |ntcract|ons bctwccn
pcop|c, whcrc thc concrctc cncountcrbctwccnsc|fandothcr
bccomcs thc sharcd cx|stcnt|a| mcan|ng that connccts thcm
dccp|y.
Z Ó
§
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
A NE W E XI S T E NT I A L I S M
Ìn my |ccturcs on m|rror ncurons Ì oftcn conc|udc by say|ng
that our rcscarch shou|d bc ca||cd cx|stcnt|a| ncurosc|cncc. Ì
say th|s bccausc thc thcmcs ra|scd by m|rror ncuron rcscarch
map wc|| onto thcmcs rccurrcnt |n cx|stcnt|a| phcnomcno|-
ogy. Jhc fccdback from studcnts and pccrs tcnds to bc vcry
pos|t|vc on thc phcnomcno|ogy part of thc cquat|on, but
much |css on thc cx|stcnt|a| part. Ì bc||cvccx|stcnt|a||smgot
a bad prcss at thc pcak of |ts popu|ar|ty |n thc I º10s and
I º50s, and |t st||| gcts a bad prcss now, probab|y bccausc of
thc assoc|at|onw|th thc |dcas ofdrcad and dcspa|r. Jhc cx|s-
tcntia| thcmcs Ì am th|nk|ng about w|th m|rror ncuron rc-
scarchhavcnoth|ngtodow|thdrcadanddcspa|r. Ìfanyth|ng,
thcy arc opt|m|st|c and cou|d bc uscd to bu||d a morc cmpa-
thct|c,car|ngsoc|cty.'
Cbv|ous|y, phcnomcno|ogy maps wc|| onto m|rrorncuron
rcscarch bccausc on|y by "go|ng back to thc th|ngs thcm-
sc|vcs" cou|d my fr|cnds |n Ìarma havc found thcsc cc||s |n
thc nrst p|acc. Lvcn thcorct|c|ans who morc voca||y c|a|mcd
thc c|oscncss or |nt|macy bctwccn thc sc|fandothcrs ncvcr
proposcdanatura|phcnomcnon||kcm|rrorncurons.Ìntcrcst-
|ng|y, thc on|ysc|cnt|sts who had cvcn a g||mmcrofa m|rror
ncuronsystcmbcforc|twasd|scovcrcdwcrcthoscwhodonot
typica||y thcor|:c or pass|vc|y obscrvc, but rathcr thosc who
bu||d th|ngs. Jhc robot|c|st Maj a Matar|c at L5C to|d mc
thatwh||c strugg||ng to bu||d robotsthat cou|d |carnfromcx-
pcr|cncc and cou|d |m|tatc, shc had thought of somcth|ng
Z Ó Ó
E X I S T E N T I A L N E U R O S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E T Y
s|m||ar to m|rror ncurons. Cthcr robot|c|sts a|so cntcrta|ncd
such cng|nccr|ng "fantas|cs, "wh|ch now tum out to bc r|ght
onthc mark.
Lx|stcnt|a||sm, on thc othcr hand, |nv|tcs us to cmbracc
mcan|ng |n th|s wor|d, thc wor|d of our cxpcr|cncc, rathcr
than |dcnr|p|ng mcan|ng on somc mctaphys|ca| p|anc, out-
s|dc of oursc|vcs. ' M|rror ncurons arc thc cc||s |n our bra|n
that makc our cxpcr|cncc, most|y madc of |ntcract|ons w|th
othcrpcop|c, dccp|ymcan|ngfu|. Jh|s |swhy Ì ca||thc m|rror
ncuron rcscarch an cx|stcnt|a| ncurosc|cncc of sorts. Jh|s
dcnn|t|onmay sound ||kc an oxymoron, s|ncc thc d|chotomy
bctwccnana|yt|cand cont|ncnta| ( |nc|ud|ngcx|stcnt|a|) ph|-
|osophy trad|t|ona||y ass|gns dctachcd hypcrrat|ona| and sc|-
cnt|nc th|nk|ng to thcana|yt|cschoo|andpoct|c, ||tcrary, or
morcgcncra||yart|st|c "cu|turc" to thc cont|ncnta| and cx|s-
tcnt|a| schoo|. Ìowcvcr, thcrc |s onc |csson wc shou|d havc
|camcdfromm|rrorncurons bynow. to bc susp|c|ous ofr|g|d
d|chotom|cs ( rcmcmbcr pcrccpt|on and act|on' ) . ' Jhc cx|s-
tcnt|a||sts havc constant|y rcm|ndcd us that what |s worth
undcrstand|ngand know|ng |sourcx|stcncc, thc human con-
d|t|on, and thatcngagcmcntand |nvo|vcmcntarc supcr|or to
a dctachcd stancc. M|rror ncurons arc bra|n cc||s that sccm
spcc|a|i:cdinundcrstand|ngourcx|stcnt|a|cond|t|onandour
|nvo|vcmcnt w|th othcrs. Jhcy show that wc arc not a|onc,
but arc b|o|og|ca||y w|rcd and cvo|ut|onar||y dcs|gncd to bc
dccp|y|ntcrconncctcdw|thonc anothcr.
Jhcrc |s a|so anothcr cx|stcnt|a| thcmc that maps wc||
ontom|rrorncuronpropcrt|cs. Jh|s thcmc gocs back to thc
pcrson who |s cons|dcrcd thc vcry nrst cx|stcnt|a| th|nkcr,
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
5ørcn K|crkcgaard. Ìn Fear an Trembling, K|crkcgaard pro-
poscd that our cx|stcncc bccomcs mcan|ngm| on|y through
ourauthcnt|ccomm|tmcnttothc nn|tc andtcmpora|,acom-
m|tmcnt that dcnncs us. Jhc ncura| rcsonancc bctwccn sc|f
andothcrthatm|rrorncuronsa||ow|s |nmyop|n|onthccm-
bod|mcnt ofsuchcomm|tmcnt. Curncurob|o|ogy÷our m|r-
rorncurons÷comm|ts us to othcrs. M|rrorncuronsshowthc
dccpcst way wc rc|atc to and undcrstand cach othcr. thcy
dcmonstratc thatwc arc w|rcdforcmpathy, wh|ch shou|d |n-
sp|rc ustoshapcoursoc|ctyandmakc |tabcttcrp|accto||vc.
NE UROS C I ENC E AND SOC I E T y 6
Vhcn wc cncountcr cach othcr, wc sharc cmot|ons and |n-
tcnt|ons. Vc arc dccp|y |ntcrconncctcd at a bas|c, prc-
rcncct|vc |cvcl. Jh|s wc nowknow, and th|s]a|sccmstomc
afundamcnta|start|ngpo|ntforsoc|a|bchav|orthathasbccn
largcly ncg|cctcd by an ana|yt|ca| trad|t|on that cmphas|:cs
rcncct|vc bchav|or and d|ncrcnccs among pcop|c. Cn thc
othcr hand, thcrc |s anothcr fact star|ng us |n thc facc. an
atroc|ous world, ||tcral|y÷onc n||cd w|th atroc|t|cs cvcry
day÷and th|s dcsp|tc a ncurob|o|ogy w|rcdforcmpathy and
gcarcdtowardm|rror|ngandshar|ngofmcan|ng.Vhy |sth|s '
Ì bc||cvc |t|sductothrcc ma|nfactors. Ì|rst,wchavc sccn
|n thcphcnomcnon of|m|tat|vc v|o|cncc thatthcsamc ncu-
rob|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms fac|||tat|ng cmpathy may producc,
undcr spcc|nc c|rcumstanccs andcontcxts, a bchav|or that |s
thc oppos|tc ofancmpathct|c bchav|or. Jh|s |s most|y a hy-
Z Ó 0
E X I S T E N T I A L N E U RO S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E T Y
pothcs|s r|ght now, but |t |s a vcry strong onc. Ìfconnrmcd,
th|sncurosc|cnt|ncfactshou|d |nform po||cymak|ng. V||| |t'
Ì doubt |t, for tworcasons. I|rst, oursoc|cty |sfar from bc|ng
rcady to usc sc|cnt|nc data to dr|vc po||cy, cspcc|a||y |n cascs
such as |m|tat|vc v|o|cncc, wh|ch |nvo|vc an |ntr|catc rc|a-
t|onsh|p bctwccn nnanc|a| |ntcrcsts and frcc spccch. Ìt's a
tough po||cy |ssuc w|th no casy answcrs, and Ì don't th|nk |t
hc|ps to connnc sc|cncc |n gcncra|, and ncurosc|cncc |n par-
t|cu|ar, to thc |vory towcr and thc markctp|acc. d|scovcr|cs
arcapp||cdon|ytodcvc|op|ngpharmaco|og|ca|trcatmcntsfor
ncuro|og|ca| d|scascs, rarc|y to cnhanc|ng thc wc||-bc|ng of
thc soc|ctyasawho|c. Ì wou|d||kc toscc at |castanopcnd|s-
cuss|onofthcc|a|mthatncurosc|cnt|ncd|scovcr|cscou|dand
shou|d actua||y |nform po||cy mak|ng. Jhcrc |s not much of
that k|nd of th|nk|ng go|ng on r|ght now, and Ì bc||cvc wc
nccd |t.
Jhc sccondrcasonwhy thcrc |s rcs|stancc to thc |dca of
ncurosc|cncc ancct|ng po||cy has to do w|th thc pcrcc|vcd
thrcattoournot|onoffrcc w||| that|s obv|ous|y ||nkcdtothc
argumcnt on |m|tat|vcv|o|cncc. Jhc rcscarch onm|rrorncu-
rons |mp||cs that our soc|a||ty÷pcrhaps thc h|ghcst ach|cvc-
mcntofhumans÷|sa|so a ||m|t|ngfactorofourautonomyas
|nd|v|dua|s. Jh|s |s a maj or rcv|s|on of|ong-stand|ng bc||cfs.
Jrad|t|ona||y, b|o|og|ca|dctcrm|n|smof|nd|v|dua|bchav|or|s
contrastcd by a v|cw ofhumans capab|c ofr|s|ng abovc thc|r
b|o|og|ca| makcup to dcnnc thcmsc|vcs through thc|r |dcas
and thc|rsoc|a|codcs. M|rrorncuron rcscarch, howcvcr, sug-
gcsts thatour soc|a| codcs arc |argc|yd|ctatcd by our b|o|ogy.
Vhat shou|d wc do w|th th|s ncw|y acqu|rcd knowlcdgc'
M I RRO RI N G P E O P L E
Lcny itbccausc it isdifncu|t to acccpt it'Crusc itto inform
po|icy and makc our socicty a bcttcr onc' Ì wou|d obvious|y
votcfor thc|attcr.
Jhc sccond factor that has rcduccd thc bcncncia| impact
of our fundamcnta| ncurobio|ogica| drivc to undcrstand and
to cmpathi:c is thc "|cvc|" at which such a ncurobio|ogica|
drivc works bcst. Mirror ncurons arc prcmotor ncurons, rc-
mcmbcr, and thus arc cc||s not rca||y conccmcd with our
rcncctivc bchavior. Ìndccd, mirroring bchaviors such as thc
chamc|concncct sccm imp|icit,automatic,andprc-rcncctivc.
Mcanwhi|c, socicty is obviouslybui|t on cxp|icit, dclibcratc,
rcncctivc discoursc. Ìmp|icit and cxp|icit mcnta| proccsscs
rarc|y intcract, indccd, thcy can cvcn dissociatc. Ìowcvcr,
thc ncuroscicntinc discovcry ofmirror ncurons has disc|oscd
thcprc-rcncctivc ncurobio|ogica|mcchanismsofmirroringto
ourrcncctivc |cvc| ofundcrstanding othcrpcop|c. Ì hopc this
bookiswc|comcdintothcfray. Ìcop|c dosccmtohavcan in-
tuitivc undcrstanding ofhow ncura| mcchanisms for mirror-
ing work. Vhcn to|d about this rcscarch, thcy catch on÷at
|cast in my cxpcricncc. Jhcy cannna||y articu|atc what thcy
a|rcady "kncw" at a prc-rcncctivc |cvcl. Ìndccd, thc usc in
cvcryday |anguagc ofthc cxprcssion "bcing movcd" by somc-
thing is rcvca|ing ofthisprc-rcncctivc |cvc|ofundcrstanding
of thc roots of cmpathy. Ìcop|c say that thcy arc movcd to
sadncss whcn thcy watch a tcarjcrkcr n|m, thcy arc movcd
to j oy whcn thcir chi|d hits a homc run and cc|cbratcs aftcr
rounding thc bascs. Ìn somc |itcra| scnsc thcy arc indccd
movcd. Jhcrc is somcthing |ikc physica| contact whcn
Z
/
0
E X I S TE NTI A L N E U RO S C I E N C E A N D S O C I E TY
thcy orchcstratc movcmcnts |n thc|r m|nd whcn watch|ng
somconc c|sc. Ìcop|c sccm to havc thc intuition that "bc|ng
movcd" |sthcbas|sofcmpathyandthus mora||ty. Myhopc |s
that a morc cxpl|c|t |cvcl ofundcrstand|ng ofourcmpathct|c
naturc w||| atsomc po|nt bc afactor|n thc dc||bcratc, rcncc-
t|vcd|scoursc thatshapcssoc|cty.
Jhc th|rdfactor|nh|b|t|ngwhatshou|dbc thc pos|t|vc |m-
pactofthcm|rror|ngnctworkhas to do w|th thc powcrfu| |o-
cal cnccts ofm|rror|ng and |m|tat|on |n shap|ng a var|cty of
human cu|turcs that arc oftcn not |ntcrconncctcd w|th onc
anothcr and thcrcforc cnd up c|ash|ng, as wc oftcn scc thcsc
days, a|| around thc wor|d. Ìnthc cx|stcnt|a| phcnomcno|ogy
trad|t|on, thcrc |s a strong cmphas|s on |m|tat|on of|oca| tra-
d|t|ons as a powcrfu| shapcr of thc |nd|v|dual' Vc bccomc
hc|rs ofcommuna| trad|t|ons. Vho cou|d doubt |t ' Ìowcvcr,
thc powcrm| ncurob|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms of m|rror|ng that
makc th|s ass|m||at|on of |oca| trad|t|ons poss|b|c cou|d a|so
reveal othcrcu|turcsas|ongassuchcncountcrsarctrulyposs|-
b|c. Ìnstcad, wc scc cxact|ythc oppos|tc. Jruc cross-cu|tura|
cncountcrs arc actua||y madc |mposs|b|c by thc |nnucncc of
mass|vc bc||cf systcms÷rc||g|ous and po||t|ca|÷that dcny
cont|nuous|y thc fundamcnta| ncurob|o|ogy that ||nks us to-
gcthcr.º
Ì bc||cvc wc arc at a po|nt at wh|ch nnd|ngs from ncuro-
sc|cncccans|gn|ncant|y|nnucnccandchangcoursoc|ctyanJ
our undcrstand|ng of oursc|vcs. Ìt |s h|gh t|mc wc cons|dcr
th|s opt|on scr|ous|y. Cur know|cdgc ofthc powcrfu| ncuro-
b|o|og|ca| mcchan|sms undcr|y|ng human soc|a||ty prov|dcs
Z / ¡
M IRRO RI N G P E O P L E
an invaluablc rcsourcc for hclp|ng us dctcrm|nc how to rc-
ducc v|olcnt bchav|or, incrcasc cmpathy, and opcn oursclvcs
to othcr culturcs without forgctting our own. Vc havc
cvolvcd to conncct dccply with othcr human bc|ngs. Cur
awarcncss ofthis fact canandshouldbr|ngus cvcn closcr to
onc anothcr.
A fter wor d
Ì am wr|t|ng th|s aftcrword on Ìnaugurat|on Lay. Jhcsc arc
days of h|gh hopc, thc hopc that Barack Cbama's campa|gn
andprcs|dcnt|a|c|cct|onhavcsobr||||ant|yra|scd |n a||ofus.
^ma:|ng|y, |n h|s nrst spccch as Ìrcs|dcnt, Cbama has sa|d
that hc wants to "rcstorc sc|cncc to |ts r|ghtfu| p|acc. "Cbv|-
ous|y, Ì cou|dn't agrcc morc. Mirroring People a|so cnds on a
hopcfu| notc, thc hopc that sc|cncc and sc|cnt|nc th|nk|ng
mayp|ay an |mportantro|c |noursoc|cty.
Jhc purposc ofth|s aftcrword |s to prov|dc a br|cfupdatc
onthcsc|cnt|ncprogrcssandrcscarchonm|rrorncuronsfrom
thc pastycar. 5c|cnccobv|ous|yncvcrstops, cvcrymonththc
rcsu|tsofncwcxpcr|mcntsarcannounccdatsc|cnt|ncconfcr-
cnccs and ncw sc|cnt|nc papcrs arc pub||shcd |n spcc|a||:cd
j ourna|s. ^ book, howcvcr, |s wr|ttcn ovcr a |ong pcr|od of
t|mc, and thc abundancc ofncw data, ncw nnd|ngs, and ncw
|ntcrprctat|onsthathadcmcrgcddur|ngthcwr|t|ngofMirror-
A F TE RW O RD
ing People prcscntcd a chal|cngc to mc. Ì askcd mysclfmany
t|mcs as thc manuscr|pt cntcrcd thc nna| stagcs of cd|t|ng.
"5hou|d Ì |nc|udcthcscncwrcsu|ts at thc costofa|tcr|ngthc
structurc ofthcargumcnt, orthcrhythm ofthcbook'" Luck-
|ly, Ì amno |ongcr|nthatrathcruncomfortab|cs|tuat|on,and
th|saftcrword, wr|ttcn |nacomprcsscd t|mc framc, |son|y |n-
tcndcd to scrvc as a snapshot ofthc most |mportant rcscarch
nnd|ngsthathavc appcarcds|ncc Ì nn|shcdthc book.
Jhcrc havc bccn so many d|ncrcnt stud|cs that Ì cannot
poss|bly summar|:c thcm a|l , wh|ch pcrhaps |s tcst|mony to
thc factthat thcrc |s a |otofcxc|tcmcnt |nthc ncurosc|cnccs
about m|rror ncurons. Ìndccd, rcscarch on ncural m|rror|ng
has bcgun to cxpand bcyond pr|matcs. Jwo rcccnt sc|cnt|nc
art|clcs pub||shcd |n thc h|gh|yrcgardcdj ourna| Nature havc
rcportcd thc cx|stcncc of aud|tory-voca| m|rror ncurons |n
songb|rds, suggcst|ngthat thcsc cc||s maybccr|t|ca|forsong-
b|rd |carn|ng. Ì cxpcct many morc stud|cs on m|rror ncurons
|n non-pr|matcs |n thc futurc, and that thcsc stud|cs w||| bc
cxtrcmc|y |mportant to undcrstand|ng thc ro|c ofm|rrorncu-
rons|n an|ma|bchav|or. Ìnth|s aftcrword,howcvcr,Ì w|||fo-
cus onstud|cs |n monkcys and humans, and |npart|cu|arw|||
h|gh||ght rcscarch trcnds that|||ustratc ourundcrstand|ng of
m|rrorncuronsandoursoc|a|bra|n.
Jhcrcarcthrccmaj ortrcnds|nm|rrorncuronrcscarchto-
day. Cnc |nc|udcs stud|cs that |nvcst|gatc what wc sc|cnt|sts
ca|l "|nd|v|dua| d|ncrcnccs. " 5omc p|onccr|ng studics ofth|s
k|nd havc bccn alrcady d|scusscd |n thc book, spcc|nca||y
thosc that|nvcst|gatcdthcrcduccdact|v|tyofthc m|rrorncu-
ronsystcm|npat|cntsw|thaut|sm,andhow|tcorrc|atcsw|th
Z
/ 4
A FTE RW O RD
thc scvcr|ty of aut|sm, or thc stud|cs that |ookcd at m|rror
ncuron act|v|ty among ado|csccntsorhca|thyadu|ts and cor-
rc|atcd |tw|th a var|cty ofmcasurcs ofsoc|a|compctcnccand
cmpathy. Many stud|cs of th|s k|nd havc bccn prcscntcd at
confcrcnccs rcccnt|y. Jhcy corrc|atc a var|cty ofpcrsona||ty
and psycho|og|ca| mcasurcs w|th act|v|ty |n m|rror ncuron
arcas. Jhc morc wc |cam about thc systcm |n our bra|n,
thc morc |t sccms a corncrstonc of our ab|||ty to soc|a||:c
w|th othcrs. Ìt |s too car|y to drawstrong conc|us|ons or to
summar|:c many ofthc nnd|ngs |n afcwscntcnccs, but thcrc
|s dcnn|tc|y a scnsc that wc may soon rcach an ama:|ng un-
dcrstand|ngofthcb|o|og|ca|foundat|onsofourmostcomp|cx
bchavior÷that |s, our soc|a| bchav|or.
Jhcsccondtrcnd rc|atcs tothcdcvc|opmcntofthcm|rror
ncuron systcm. Ìt |s cxtrcmc|y |mportant to undcrstand how
m|rror ncurons arc formcd car|y on |n ||fc, and wh|ch factors
favor a hca|thy dcvc|opmcnt ofthcsc cc||s. Many co||cagucs
sharc my bc||cf, and thcy arc try|ng to |nvcst|gatc thc m|rror
ncuron systcm |n thc |nfant bra|n. Lnfortunatc|y, for many
tcchn|ca| and cth|ca| rcasons, |t |s d|fncu|t to conduct thcsc
k|ndsofcxpcr|mcnts. Jhcmostprom|s|ngstudyonthcm|rror
ncurons systcm |n thc |nfant bra|n is currcnt|y bc|ng pcr-
formcd |nthc |abof5tcvc 5uom| atÞÌÌ. Jhc sc|cnt|st|cad-
|ng th|s study |s Ì|cr Ìranccsco Ìcrrar|, thc ctho|og|st and
ncurophys|o|og|stwho |cd thc cxpcr|mcnt on m|rror ncurons
andtoo|-uscdcscr|bcd|nthcnrstchaptcrofth|sbook. Ìcrrar|
|s study|ng babymonkcysfromthc|rvcrynrstfcwdaysof||fc,
us|ngLLC and bchav|ora| obscrvat|ons. ^tth|s t|mc, Ìcrrar|,
5uom|,andthc|rco|lcagucshavcnotyctpub||shcdthc|rnnd-
Z
/
Þ
A F TE RW O RD
|ngs. Ìcrrar|, howcvcr, prcscntcd somc prc||m|nary obscrva-
t|ons at two sma|| confcrcnccs Ì attcndcd |n thc |ast fcw
months. Jwo ofh|s nnd|ngs arc part|cu|ar|y |ntr|gu|ng. Ì|rst,
Ìcrrar| and h|s co||cagucs |ookcd at thc ab|||ty ofthc |nfant
monkcy to |m|tatc. Ìn th|s cxpcr|mcnt, thc baby monkcys
wcrc prcva|cnt|y |m|tat|ngrc|at|vc|ys|mp|cfac|a|cxprcss|ons,
for |nstancc tonguc protrus|on, as |n thc study on human |n-
fants |cdbyMc|t:onthatÌ dcscr|bcd |nthc sccondchaptcrof
thc book. Ìcrrar| and h|s co||cagucs found that somc |nfant
monkcys arc good |m|tators, whcrcas othcrs do not |m|tatc
wc||ata||.Jh|s|snotrca||ysurpr|s|ng. Monkcys,andhumans
too, ofcoursc, a||d|ncrfromoncanothcrtosomcdcgrcc. Jhc
fundamcnta| qucst|on, howcvcr, |swhcthcrbc|ng agood |m|-
tatorvcrycar|y|n||fcfac|||tatcs|cam|ng.Jhcsc|cnt|stsfound
that thc good |m|tatorsdcvc|opcd thc ab|||ty tograsp obj ccts
car||crandbcttcrthanthcbad |m|tators. Jh|srcsu|tconnrms
noton|yhow |mportant |m|tat|vc |cam|ng |scar|y |n ||fc, but
a|sohowhandandmouth arc t|ght|ycoup|cd |n thc bra|n, as
d|scusscd |nchaptcrJ.
Jhc sccond |mportant nnd|ng from Ìcrrar|`s cxpcr|mcnt
on babymonkcys |s rc|atcd to thc LLC data. Kcmcmbcrthat
oncofthc"b|omarkcrs"ofm|rrorncuronact|v|tywchavcd|s-
cusscd |s thc supprcss|on of thc mu rhythm. Ìn thc |nfant
monkcy bra|n, Ìcrrar| and co||cagucs havc found somcth|ng
s|m||ar, that |s,thc supprcss|onofs|owJ- 5Ì:rhythmaround
motorarcaswh||c thcbabymonkcy|sobscrv|ngthcact|onsof
somcbodyc|sc. Ìt|s st||| toocar|ytohavc afu||undcrstand|ng
ofth|sphcnomcnon, howcvcr, |fwc assumc that |trcprcscnts
yct anothcr b|omarkcr ofm|rror ncuron act|v|ty, wc havc to
A FTE R W O R D
conc|udc that thc |nfant bra|n a|rcady posscsscs somc m|rror
ncurons.
Jhc th|rd and nna| trcnd ofrcccntstud|csonm|rrorncu-
rons |s rc|atcd to dcvc|op|ng a morc rcnncd dcscr|pt|on of
thc|r propcrt|cs. Jwo rcccnt nnd|ngs arc cxtrcmc|y cxc|t|ng,
andbothrcm|ndusofthc thcmcsand|dcasdcvc|opcdbyour
o|d fr|cnd, thc Ìrcnch phcnomcno|og|st Maur|cc Mcr|cau-
Ìonty. Jhcy arc rc|atcd to thc conccpts of spacc and goa|s.
Kcmcmbcrthat arcaÌ5, thc bra|n arcawhcrcm|rrorncurons
wcrcor|g|na||yd|scovcrcd, bordcrs bra|n arcaÌ1, whcrc spacc
|s codcd |n two maj or maps, onc for pcr|pcrsona| spacc ( thc
spacc thatsurroundsthcbody, whcrcwccanrcachforobj ccts
and grab thcm) , and thc othcr onc for cxtrapcrsona| spacc
( thcspaccwccan'trcach) . ÞcwdatahomLcoÌogass|,oncof
thc rcscarchcrs who or|g|na||y d|scovcrcd m|rror ncurons,
show that somc m|rrorncurons changc thc|rrcsponscs to ob-
scrvcdact|ononthcbas|sofwhere the action is located. Jhco|d
stud|cs on m|rror ncurons wcrc a|| pcrformcd by show|ng thc
act|ons far away from thc monkcy ( that |s, a|| thc act|ons
wcrc |ncxtrapcrsona|spacc) . Jh|swasdonctoavo|dthc cr|t-
|c|smthatthcnr|ngofthccc||÷wh||cthcmonkcywass|mp|y
obscrv|ng÷wasduc tosomcformofmotor prepartion, gctt|ng
rcady to act bccausc somcbody c|sc was grasp|ng th|ngs c|osc
to thc obscrv|ng monkcy. Ìn thc ncw study, Ìogass| nrst pcr-
formcdsomcgrasp|ngact|ons |nthcpcr|pcrsona|spaccofthc
monkcy. Þot surpr|s|ng|y, m|rror ncurons nrcd at thc s|ght of
thc act|on. Jhcn hc had thc c|cvcr |dca of p|ac|ng a g|ass
scrccn bctwccn h|msc|f and thc monkcy. Þow thc monkcy
canst||| scc thc act|on (pcrformcd |n hcrpcr|pcrsona| spacc)
Z
//
A FTE RW O RD
butcannotposs|b|yactonthcobj cct( bccauscthc scrccngcts
|nthcway) . Ìn th|s s|tuat|on, somcm|rrorncuronsno |ongcr
nrc. Jhcsc cc||s apparcnt|y rcspond to thc act|ons of othcr
pcop|c |n an opertionl way. Ìfthc obscrvcrcannot |ntcrvcnc
on thc obscrvcd act|on, thcrc |s no nr|ng. Jhcsc ncurons arc
a|| about cngagcmcnt, bc|ng |nvo|vcd |n soc|a| |ntcract|on |n
afundamcnta||y act|vc way. Ìfwc can`t |ntcrvcnc, thcsc cc||s
no |ongcrcarcaboutwhatwc scc.
Jhcmost compc|||ng cv|dcncc |nsupport ofthc |dca that
m|rror ncurons ( and motor ncurons |n gcncra|) arc |css con-
ccmcd w|th spcc|nc dcta||s of thc act|on and morc w|th |ts
goa|, comcs from anothcr study from thc group ofK|::o|att|
(Lm||tà ct a|. , "Vhcn p||crs bccomc nngcrs |n thc monkcy
motor systcm. " ÌÞ^5 I05. ZZ0º-ZZ I J, Z00o) that tra|ncd
monkcys to usc rcvcrsc p||crs to grab sma|| obj ccts ||kc
pcanuts and ra|s|ns. V|th rcgu|ar p||crs, thc monkcy had to
fex thcnngcrstograbthcobj cct ( c|os|ngthchand) . V|thrc-
vcrsc p||crs, thc monkcyhad to exten thc nngcrs to grab thc
obj cct ( opcn|ngthchand) . Jhcmovcmcntspcrformcdbythc
monkcy wcrc cxact|y thc opposite ofcach othcr. ^ma:|ng|y,
howcvcr, thc samc grasp|ng cc||s |n arca FS that nrcd whcn
thc monkcy ncxcd thc nngcrs wh||c us|ng thc rcgu|ar p||crs
a|so nrcd whcn thc monkcy cxtcndcd thc nngcrs wh||c us|ng
thc rcvcrsc p||crs to grab thc obj ccts. M|rror ncurons obv|-
ous|ynrcdwhcnthc monkcy s|mp|y obscrvcd somcbodyc|sc
us|ng rcgu|ar and rcvcrsc p||crs. Jh|s bcaut|fu| study con-
nrmcd |n thc most compc|||ng way that both motor cc||s |n
arcaFS andm|rrorncuronsarcconccmcdmorcw|ththcgoa|
wc try to ach|cvc w|th our own act|ons thanw|th thc motor
Z
/
0
A FTE RW O RD
dcta||s of how to ach|cvc our goa|s. Jh|s conccpt has obv|-
ous|yprofound|mp||cat|onsformotor|cam|ngandrchab|||ta-
t|on, but a|so rcvca|s an |mportant aspcct ofhow thc motor
systcm and m|rror ncurons codc |nformat|on. Jh|s cod|ng |s
notshllow; |tdocs notstop at thc supcrnc|a| c|cmcnts ofour
own and othcr pcop|c`s act|ons. Ìt |s a Jcp cod|ng, a cod|ng
thata||owsus to dccp|yundcrstandothcrpcop|c`s goa|s.
Jhc morc wc |nvcst|gatc thc propcrt|csofm|rror ncurons,
thc morc wc undcrstand how thcsc cc||s hc|p us to bc cm-
path|c and fundamcnta|ly attuncd to othcr pcop|c. Jh|s |s
pcrhapsthc most|mportantnnd|ngofa||, and |t|sabcaut|fu|
onc.
Z
/V
Notes
0ue. H0ukey 5ee, H0ukey00
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Two: Si mon Says
1. I found this quote in the charming book on emotional contagion by
E. Hatfeld, J. T. Cacioppo, and R. L. Rapson, Emotional Contagion (New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1 994) . However, the book does not
specif the original source.
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( Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002) ; Eckerman, C. \. ,
N O TE S TO P A G E S S l - 6 7
and S. M. Didow, "Nonverbal Imitation and Toddlers' Mastery of Verbal
Means of Achieving Coordinated Actions, " Developmental Psycholog 32
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4. Dawkins, R. , The Selfsh Gene (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press,
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5. See, for instance, Dennett, D. , Consciousness Explained ( Boston: Little,
Brown, 1 991 ) ; Hull, D. L., "The Naked Meme, " in H. C. Plotkin, ed. ,
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During Action Observation: A Magnetic Stimulation Study," Jourl of
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N. Chater, Perspectives on Imitation: From Neuroscience to Social Science .
Volume Ì . Mechanisms of Imitation and Imitation in Animals (Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 2005 ) , 1 41-56.
1 0. James, W. , Principles of Psycholog (New York: Holt, 1 890) .
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of Human Action: Cognitive Factors Infuencing Imitation in Three­
Year-Olds, " Developmental Science 3 ( 2000) :405-1 4; Bekkering, H. ,
A. Wohlschlager, and M. Gattis, "Imitation of Gestures i n Children I s
Goal-Directed, " Quarterly Jourl of Experimental Psycholog A 53
( 2000) : 1 53-64; Wohlschlager, A. , and H. Bekkering, "Is Human Imita­
tion Based on a Mirror-Neurone System? Some Behavioural Evidence, "
Experimental Brain Research 1 43 ( 2002) : 335-41 .
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and Premotor Activity During Imitation of Target-Directed Actions,"
Cerebral Cortex 1 2 ( 2002 } : 847-55.
1 3. Wapner, S. , and L. Cirillo, "Imitation of a Model's Hand Movement: Age
Changes in Transposition of Left-Right Relations. " Child Development 39
( 1 968}: 887-94; Koski, L. , M. Iacoboni, M. C. Dubeau, et aI. , "Modulation
of Cortical Activity During Diferent Imitative Behaviors," Jourl of
Neurophysiolog 89 ( 2003 } : 460-7 1 .
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aI., "Form and Function in Motor Mimicry: Topographic Evidence That
the Primary Function Is Communication," Human Communications Re­
search 1 4 ( 1 988} : 275-99; LaFrance, M. , "Posture Mirroring and Rapport,"
in M. Davis, ed. , Interaction Rhythms: Periodicity in Communicative Behavior
(New York: Human Sciences Press, 1982) , 279-98.
1 5. Rogers, S. ]. , 'and B. Ì Pennington, "A Theoretical Approach to the
Defcits in Infantile Autism, " Developmental Psycholog 3 ( 1 99 1 ) : 1 37-62;
Whiten, A. , and ] . D. Brown, "Imitation and the Reading of Other Minds:
Perspectives from the Study of Autism, Normal Children and Non-human
Primates, " in S. Braten, ed. , Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in
Early Ontogeny (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1 999) ,
260-0; Williams, ] . H. , A. Whiten, ¯ Suddendorf, et aI. , "Imitation,
Mirror Neurons and Autism, " Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 25
( 2001 } : 287-95.
1 6. Gallese, N. , and A. Goldman, "Mirror Neurons and the Simulation The­
ory of Mind-reading, " Trends in Cogitive Science 2 ( 1 998} :493-501 ; Car­
ruthers, Ì, and Ì Smith, Theories of Theories of Min (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1 996) ; Goldman, A. I . , "Imitation, Mi nd
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on Imitation: From Neuroscience to Social Science , Volume Z: Imitation, Hu­
man Development , and Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005 ) , 79-94;
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1 7 . Iacoboni, M. , I . Molnar-Szakacs, \ Gallese, et aI. , "Grasping the Inten-
Z 0
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3. Goldin-Meadow, S. , "When Gestures and Words Speak Diferently," Cur­
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6. Rizzolatti, G. , and M. A. Arbib, "Language Within Our Grasp, " Trends in
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7. Iverson, J . M. , and E. Thelen, "Hand, Mouth and Brain. The Dynamic
Emergence of Speech and Gesture, " Jourl of Consciousness Studies 6
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and Thinking," 41 9-29.
8. Greenfeld, P. M., "Language, Tools and Brain: The Ontogeny and Phy­
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1 0. Glenberg, A. M. , and M. P. Kaschak, "Grounding Language in Action,"
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1 1 . Ochs, E. , P. Gonzales, and S. Jacoby, " 'When I Come Down I ' m i n the
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1 2. Gallese, \, and G. Lakof, "The Brain's Concepts: The Role of the
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13. Aziz-Zadeh, L. , S. M. Wilson, G. Rizzolatti, and M. Iacoboni, "Congruent
Embodied Representations for Visually Presented Actions and Linguistic
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1 4. Garrod, S. , and M. J. Pickering, "Why Is Conversation So Easy?" Trends in
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ana Cogition 22 ( 1 996) : 1 482-93; Schober, M. Ì, and H. H. Clark,
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1 6. Goodwin, C. , "Restarts, Pauses, and the Achievement of a State of Mu­
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Kendon, A. , "Some Functions of Gaze-direction in Social Interaction,"
Acta Psychologica 26 ( 1 967) : 22-63; Goodwin, L., and J. Heritage, "Con­
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1 7 . Kegl, J. , "The Nicaraguan Sign Language Proj ect: An Overview," Sig­
post 7 ( 1 994) : 24-3 1 .
1 8. See, for instance, S. Pinker, ¯h Language Instinct (New York: Morrow,
1 994) .
N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 0 0 - 1 0 9
19. Tomasello, M. , "The Item-based Nature of Children's Early Syntactic
Development," Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 ( 2000) : 1 56-3.
20. Clark, H. , Using Language (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,
1 996) ; Garrod, S., and A. Anderson, "Saying What You Mean in Dia­
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cilitation in Response to Manual Action Sounds," European Jourl of
Neuroscience 1 9 ( 2004) : 2609-1 2; Gazzola, \, L. Aziz-Zadeh, and C. Key­
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Current Biology 1 6 ( 2006) : 1 824-29.
22. McGurk, H. , and J. MacDonald, "Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices, " Nature
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24. Fadiga, L. , L. Craighero, G. Buccino, and G. Rizzolatti, "Speech Listening
Specifcally Modulates the Excitability of Tongue Muscles: A TMS
Study," European Jourl of Neuroscience. 15 ( 2002) :399-402.
25. Wilson, S. M. , / P. Saygin, M. Ì. Sereno, and M. Iacoboni, "Listening to
Speech Activates Motor Areas Involved in Speech Production," Nature
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27. Warren, J. E. , D. A. Sauter, Ì Eisner, et ai., "Positive Emotions Preferen­
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Four: See Me. Feel Me
1 . Smith, /, The Theory of Moral Sentiments ( Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press,
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( 1 982) :643-47.
4. Hatfeld et aI. , EmotioTI Contagion.
5. Niedenthal, P. M. , L. W. Barsalou, P. Winkielman, et aI. , "Embodiment in
Attitudes, Social Perception, and Emotion," PersoTlity and Social Psychol­
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6 . Chartrand, T. L. , and J . / Bargh, "The Chameleon Efect: The Perception­
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the Physical Appearance of Spouses, " Motivation and Emotion 1 1
( 1 987) : 335-46; Cole, J. , "Empathy Needs a Face, " }ouTI of Consciousness
Studies 8 ( 2001 ) : 5 1-68; Merleau-Ponty, M. , The Primacy of Perception
(Evanston, IL: Northwester University Press, 1964) .
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Primates Including Humans," Brain Research Reviews 2 2 ( 1 996) : 22 9-94.
9. Poe, E. /, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings (New York: Bantam
Books, 1982) ; Darwin, L., The Exression of the Emotions in Man and Ani­
mals (University of Chicago Press, 1 965 ) ; James, w ( 1 890) , "What Is an
Emotion?" in C. Calhoun and R. C. Solomon, eds. , What Is an Emotion?
(New York: Ox
f
ord University Press, 1 984) , 1 25-42.
10. Carr, L. , M. Iacoboni, M. C. Dubeau, et aI. , "Neural Mechanisms of
Empathy in Humans: A Relay from Neural Systems for Imitation to
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( 2003 ) : 5497-5502.
1 1 . Hutchison, W. D. , K. D. Davis, / M. Lozano, et aI . , "Pain-related
Neurons in the Human Cingulate Cortex, " Nature Neuroscience 2
( 1 999) :403-405.
1 2. Avenanti, /, D. Bueti, G. Galati, et aI. , "Transcranial Magnetic Stimula­
tion Highlights the Sensorimotor Side of Empathy for Pain," Nature Neu­
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1 3. Singer, ¯, B. Seymour, J. O' Doherty, et aI., "Empathy for Pain Involves
N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 2 6 - 1 3 8
the Afective but Not Sensory Components of Pain," Science 303
( 2004) : 1 1 57-62.
1 4. Antonio Damasio's "as if loop" theory, although not directly referring to
mirror neurons, at least in its original versions that preceded the discovery
of mirror neurons, also invoked a central role of simulative processes in
emotion. See Damasio, A. R., Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the
Human Brain (New York: Putnam, 1 994); Damasio, A. R., The Feeling of
Wat Happens : Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (New
York: Harcourt Brace, 1 999) ; Damasio, A. R. , Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sor­
row, and the Feeling Brain (Orlando, FL: Harcott, 2003) .
1 5. Haviland, J. M. , and M. Lilac, "The Induced Afect Response: 1 O-Week­
Old Infants' Responses to Three Emotion Expressions," Developmental Psy­
cholog 23 ( 1 987) : 97-104; Termine, N. ¯, and C. E. Izard, "Infants'
Response to Their Mother's Expressions of Joy and Sadness, " Developmen­
tal Psycholog 24 ( 1 988) : 223-29.
16. Bemieri, Ì J. , J. S. Reznick, and R. Rosenthal, "Synchrony, Pseudosyn­
chrony, and Dissynchrony: Measuring the Entrainment Process in Mother­
Infant Interactions," Jour of Personality and Social Psycholog 54
( 1 988) : 243-53.
1 7. Rizzolatti, G. , and G. Luppino, "The Cortical Motor System, " Neuron 3 1
(2001 ) :889-901 .
Flv. : Facing Yours.lf
1. Iacoboni, M. , R. P. Woods, M. Brass, et aI. , "Cortical Mechanisms of Hu­
man Imitation," Science 286 ( 1 999) : 2526-28.
2. Zahavi, D. , "Beyond Empathy: Phenomenological Approaches to Inter­
subjectivity," Jourl of Consciousness Studies 8 ( 2001 ) : 1 5 1-67.
3. Asendorpf, J . B. , and P. -M. Baudonniere, "Self-awareness and Other­
awareness: Mirror Self-recognition a

d Synchronic Imitation Among Un­
familiar Peers, " Developmental Psycholog 29 ( 1 993) : 88-95.
4. Keenan, J. P. , G. G. Gallup, and D. Falk, The Face i n the Miror: The Search
for the Origns of Consciousness (New York: Ecco, 2003 ) .
5. Gallup, G. G. , "Chimpanzees: Self-recognition," Science 1 67 ( 1 970):
86-87.
6. Miles, H. , "Me Chantek: The Development of Self-Awareness i n a Sign-
N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 3 9 - 1 4 9
ing Orangutan," in S. Parker and R. Mitchell, Self-awareness in Animals
and Humans : Developmental Perspectives (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Uni­
versity Press, 1 994) , 254-72.
7. Reiss, D. , and L. Marino, "Mirror Self-recognition i n the Bottlenose Dol­
phin: A Case of Cognitive Convergence, " Proceedings of the National Acad­
emy of Sciences USA 98 ( 2001 ) : 5937-42; Rendell, L. , and H. Whitehead,
"Culture in Whales and Dolphins," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24
( 2001 ) : 309-24; discussion 324-82.
8. Gallup, G. G. , "Self-awareness and the Emergence of Mind i n Primates,"
American Jourl of Primatolog ( 1 982) : 237-48; Povinelli, D. J. , "Failure to
Find Self-recognition in Asian Elephants ( Elephas maximus ) in Contrast
to Their Use of Mirror Cues to Discover Hidden Food," Jourl of Compar­
ative Psycholog 1 03 ( 1 989) : 1 22-3 1 ; Plotnick, J. M. , EB. M. de Waal, and
D. Reiss, "SelfRecognition in an Asian Elephant," Proceedings of the Na­
tional Academy of Sciences USA 1 03 ( 2006) : 1 7053-57.
9. Amsterdam, B. , "Mirror Selfimage Reactions Before Age Two, " Develop­
mental Psychobiolog 5 ( 1 972) : 297-305.
10. Sperry, R. W. , E. Zaidel, and D. Zaidel, "Selfrecognition and Social
Awareness in the Deconnected Minor Hemisphere, " Neuropsychologia 1 7
( 1 979) : 1 53-66.
1 1 . Uddin, L. Q., J. Rayman, and E. Zaidel, "Split-brain Reveals Separate but
Equal Self-recognition in the Two Cerebral Hemispheres," Consciousness
and Cogition 14 ( 2005 ) : 633-40.
1 2. Kourtzi, J., and N. Kanwisher, "Activation in Human MT/MST by Static
Images with Implied Motion, " Jourl of Cogitive Neuroscience 1 2
( 2000) :48-55; Urgesi, G, V. Moro, M. Candidi, e t aI. , "Mapping Implied
Body Actions in the Human Motor System," Jourl of Neuroscience 26
( 2006) : 7942-49.
1 3. Uddin, L. Q., J. T. Kaplan, Ì. Molnar-Szakacs, et aI. , "Self-face Recog­
nition Activates . a Frontoparietal ' Mirror' Network in the Right
Hemisphere: An Event-related fRI Study," Neuroimage 25 (2005 ) :
926-35.
14. Feinberg, T. , and R. Shapiro, "Misidentifcation-Reduplication and the
Right Hemisphere, " Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsycholog, and Behavioral Neu­
rolog 2 ( 1 989) : 39-48; Spangenberger, K. , M. Wagner, and D. Bachman,
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"Neuropsychological Analysis of a Case of Abrupt Onset Following a Hy­
potensive Crisis in a Patient with Vascular Dementia," NeuroCase 4
( 1 998) : 1 49-54; Breen, N. , D. Caine, and M. Coltheart, "Mirrored-Self
Misidentifcation: Two Cases of Focal Onset Dementia," NeuroCase 7
(2001 } : 239-54.
1 5. This type of brain stimulation is obviously entirely safe for the subjects.
16. Uddin, L., I. Molnar-Szakacs, E. Zaidel, et aI., "rTMS to the Right Inferior
Parietal Area Disrupts Self-Other Discrimination," Social Cogitive and Af­
fective Neuroscience 1 ( 2006) :65-7 1 .
1 7 . Feinberg, T. E. , L. D. Haber, and N. E. Leeds, "Verbal Asomatognosia,"
Neurolog 40 ( 1 990) : 1 391 -94.
18. Trevarthen, L., "Communication and Cooperation in Early Infancy: A
Description of Primary Intersubjectivity," in M. Bullowa, ed. , Before Speech
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979) .
Si x: Broken Mirrors
1. Shimada, S. , and K. Hiraki, "Infant's Brain Responses to Live and Tele­
vised Action, " Neuroimage 32 ( 2006) : 930-39.
2. Flanagan, J . R. , and R. S. Johansson, "Action Plans Used i n Action Ob­
servation," Nature 424 ( 2003) : 769-7 1 .
3. Falck-Ytter, ¯, G. Gredeback, and C. von Hofsten, "Infants Predict Other
People's Action Goals, " Nature Neuroscience 9 ( 2006) : 878-79.
4. Hari, R. , N. Forss, S. Avikainen, et aI. , "Activation of Human Primary
Motor Cortex During Action Observation: A Neuromagnetic Study," Pro­
ceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95 ( 1 998) : 1 5061-65.
5. Davis, M. H. , "Measuring Individual Diferences in Empathy: Evidence for
a Multidimensional Approach," Jourl of Personality C Social Psychology
44 ( 1 983 ) : 1 1 3-26; Cairs, R. B. , M-C. Leung, S. D. Gest, et aI. , "A Brief
Method for Assessing Social Development: Structure, Reliability, Stabil­
ity, and Developmental Validity of the Interpersonal Competence Scale, "
Behaviour Research and Therapy 33 ( 1 995 ) : 725-36.
6. Pfeifer, J. , M. Iacoboni, J. L. Mazziotta, and M. Dapretto, "Mirroring Oth­
ers' Emotions Relates to Empathy and Interpersonal Competence in Chil­
dren," Neurolmage ( 2008) , in press.
7. Ritvo, S., and S. Provence, "From Perception and Imitation in Some
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Autistic Children: Diagnostic Findings and Their Contextual Interpreta­
tion, " The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume VIII (New York: Inter­
national Universities Press, 1 953) , 1 55-61 . I have to thank Ami Klin at
Yale University for sending me this article.
8. Gopnik, A, A N. Meltzof, and P. K. Kuhl, The Scientist in the Crib (New
York: Perennial, 2001 ) . Meltzof, one of the authors of this book, has
recently modifed his position. His "like me" hypothesis of social cogni­
tion is reminiscent of simulation theory. See his recent papers: Mel­
tzof, A. N. , "Imitation and Other Minds: the 'Like Me' Hypothesis," in
Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imittion, Volume Z, 55-77; Meltzof,
A. N. , " 'Like Me' : A Foundation for Social Cognition," Developmentl
Science 1 0: 1 26-34; Meltzof, A N. , " 'Like Me' Framework for Recog­
nizing and Becoming an Intentional Agent, " Acta Psychologca 1 24
( 2007) : 26-43.
9. Rogers, S. ]. , and B. Ì Pennington, "A Theoretical Approach to the
Defcits of Infantile Autism, " Development C Psychopatholog 3
( 1 991 ) : 137-62.
1 0. Hobson, P. , The Crale of Thought (London: Pan Macmillan, 2002) ;
Weeks, S. ]. , and R. Ì Hobson, "The Salience of Facial Expression
for Autistic Children," Jourl of Child Psycholog and Psychiatry 28
( 1 987) : 1 37-52.
1 1 . Hobson, The Crale of Thought.
1 2. Ibid. ; Hobson, R. Ì, and A. Lee, "Imitation and Identifcation in Autism,"
Jourl of Child Psycholog and Psychiatry 40 ( 1 999) :649-59.
13. Williams, ]. H. , A Whiten, T. Suddendorf, and D. I . Perrett, "Imitation,
Mirror Neurons and Autism, " Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review 25
( 2001 ) : 287-95.
14. Altschuler, E. L. , A. Vankov, E. M. Hubbard, et aI. , "Mu Wave Blocking
by Observation of Movement and Its Possible Use to Study the Theory of
Other Minds, " Society for Neuroscience ( 2000) . Abstracts 68. 1 .
1 5. Nishitani, N. , S. Avikainen, and R. Hari, "Abnormal Imitation-Related
Cortical Activation Sequences in Asperger's Syndrome," Annals of Neu­
rology 55 ( 2004) : 558-62.
1 6. Hari's paper (Nishitani, et aI. , "Abnormal Imitation-Related Cortical Ac­
tivation Sequences in Asperger's Syndrome") was published in 2004. By
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N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 7 6 - 1 7 9
this time, Ramachandran and his colleagues had completed the mu wave
suppression study for which their preliminary results had been presented at
the big neuroscience meeting in 2000. This work also strongly suggests
that individuals with autism are hindered by mirror neurons that are not
fully functioning (Oberman, L. M. , E. M. Hubbard, j. P. McCleery, et aI. ,
"EEG Evidence for Mirror Neuron Dysfnction in Autism Spectrum Dis­
orders," Brain Research: Cogitive Brain Research 24 ( 2005 ) : 1 90-98) . The
Scottish group led by justin Williams has also recently completed a study
on adolescents with autism, using fRI. When these adolescents imitate,
the activity in mirror neuron areas is reduced compared with that of typi­
cally developing adolescents. This was the frst evidence fom brain imag­
ing experiments supporting the hypothesis that the imitation defcits seen
in patients with autism are indeed due to a reduced fnctioning of mirror
neurons (Williams, j. H. , G. D. Waiter, A. Gilchrist, et aI. , "Neural Mech­
anisms of Imitation and ' Mirror Neuron' Functioning in Autistic Spec­
trum Disorder," Neuropsychologia 44 ( 2006) : 61 0-2 1 ) . Furthermore, Hugo
Theoret's group in Montreal recently used TMS to test for adefcit in mir­
ror neurons in subjects with autism. This experiment measured the ex­
citability of the motor system while subjects watched the actions of other
people. As detailed earlier, this excitability refects a "motor resonance"
mechanism that is considered another index of mirror neuron fnctioning,
and Theoret and his colleagues found, not surprisingly, that individuals
with autism had a much lower resonance than the healthy volunteers
(Theoret, H., E. Halligan, M. Kobayashi, et aI., "Impaired Motor Facilita­
tion During Action Observation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum
Disorder," Curent Biolog 15 ( 2005 ) :R84-R85 ) .
1 7 . Dapretto, M. , M. S. Davies, j. H. Pfeifer, et aI. , "Understanding Emotions
in Others: Mirror Neuron Dysfnction in Children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders," Nature Neuroscience 9 ( 2006) : 28-30.
18. Klin, A. , W. jones, R. Schultz, et aI. , "Visual Fixation Patters During
Viewing of Naturalistic Social Situations as Predictors of Social Compe­
tence in Individuals with Autism, " Archives of General Psychiatry 59
(2002) :809-16; Klin, A. , W. jones, R. Schultz, et aI. , "The Enactive Mind;
or From Actions to Cognition: Lessons from Autism, " Philosophical Trans­
actions of the Royal Society.of London: B Biological Series 358 ( 2003 ) :345-60.
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N OTE S TO P A G E S 1 8 2 - 1 9 6
19. Field, T., C. Sanders, and J . Nadel, "Children with Autism Display
More Social Behaviors After Repeated Imitation Sessions, " Autism 5
( 2001 ) :3 1 7-23; Escalona, A. , ¯ Field, J. Nadel, et ai. , "Brief Report: Imi­
tation Efects on Children with Autism, " Jourl of Autism and Develop­
mental Disorders 32 ( 2002) : 1 41-4.
20. Ingersoll, B. , E. Lewis, and E. Kroman, "Teaching the Imitation and Sponta­
neous Use of Descriptive Gestures in Young Children with Autism Using a
Naturalistic Behavioral Intervention," Jour of Autism and Developmentl
Disorders 37 ( 2007) : 1446-56; Ingersoll, B. , and L. Schreibman, "Teaching
Reciprocal Imitation Skills to Young Children with Autism Using a Natu­
ralistic Behavioral Approach: Efects on Language, Pretend Play, and Joint
Attention," Jour of Autism and Developmentl Disoders 36 ( 2006) :487-
505; Ingersoll, B., and S. Gergans, "The Efect of a Parent-Implemented Im­
itation Intervention on Spontaneous Imitation Skills in Young Children
with Autism," Research and Developmentl DisabiUty 28 ( 2007) : 1 63-75.
Seven: Super Mirrors and the Wi red Brain
1. A good example is the collaborative paper between the lab of Giacomo
Rizzolatti and the lab of Guy Orban, in which a monkey's brain activity
during action observation is measured with fRI rather than single-unit
recordings: Nelissen, K., G. Luppino, W. Vandufel, et ai. , "Observing
Others: Multiple Action Representation in the Frontal Lobe, " Science 31 0
( 2005) : 332-36.
2. Leao, A. A. P. , "Spreading Depression of Activity i n the Cerebral Cortex,"
Jour of Neurophysiolog 7 ( 1 944): 359-90; Leao, A. A. P. , and R. S. Mor­
rison, "Propagation of Spreading Cortical Depression," Jour of Neuro­
physiolog 8 ( 1 945) : 33-5.
3. Woods, R. P. , M. Iacoboni, and J. L. Mazziotta, "Brief Report: Bilateral
Spreading Cerebral Hypoperfsion During Spontaneous Migraine
Headache, " New England Jourl of Medicine 33 1 ( 1 994) : 1 689-92.
4. Mukamel, R. , H. Gelbard, A. Arieli, et ai. , "Coupling Between Neuronal
Firing, Field Potential, and fRI in Human Auditory Cortex, " Science 309
(2005) : 95 1-54.
5. Gross, C. G. , "Genealogy of the Grandmother Cell," Neuroscientist 8
( 2002) : 5 1 2-18.
Z

N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 9 7 - 2 0 6
6. Gallese, V. , L. Fadiga, L. Fogassi, et aI. , "Action Recognition in the Pre­
motor Cortex, " Brain 1 1 9 ( Pt 2) ( 1 996): 593-09.
7. Quiroga, R. Q. , L. Reddy, G. Kreiman, et aI. , "Invariant Visual Represen­
tation by Single Neurons in the Human Brain, " Nature 435 ( 2005 ) :
1 1 02-07.
8. One possibility here i s that the Jennifer Aniston cell codes the character
of Rachel in Frn, rather than the actress Jennifer Aniston. This might
explain why this cell does not fre at a picture of Aniston and Brad Pitt.
Thanks to Kelsey Laird for suggesting this hypothesis.
9. Ekstrom, / D., M. J. Kahana, J. B. Caplan, et aI. , "Cellular Networks Un­
derlying Human Spatial Navigation," Nature 425 ( 2003) : 1 84-88;
Kreiman, G. , C. Koch, and I . Fried, "Imagery Neurons in the Human
Brain, " Nature 408 ( 2000) : 357-61 .
1 0. Dijksterhuis, A. , "Why We Are Social Animals: The High Road to Imita­
tion as Social Glue, " in Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imitation, Vol­
ume Z, 207-20.
1 1 . Mukamel, R. , A. D. Ekstrom, J. Kaplan, et aI., "Mirror Neurons of Single
Cells in Human Medial Frontal Cortex, " Program No. 1 27. 4 ZUU/Abstract
Viewer, CD-ROM, Society for Neuroscience meeting, San Diego, CA
Ei ght: The Bad and the Ugl y: Vi ol ence and Drug Abuse
1. The frst two sections of this chapter are based on my response to the 2006
Edge's World Question (www.edge.org) , also reprinted in J. Brockman,
Wat Is Your Dangerous Idea? : Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable
(London: Simon Õ Schuster, 2006) , 7 1-74.
2. Brison, S. , "Imitating Violence, " in Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Im­
itation, Volume Z, 202-204; Eldridge, J. , "What Efects Does the Treatment
of Violence in the Mass Media Have on People's Conduct? A Controversy
Reconsidered," in Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imitation, Volume Z,
243-55.
3. Bandura, /, Social Learing Theory (Englewood Clifs, NJ: Prentice Hall,
1 977) ; Geen, R., and S. Thomas, "The Immediate Efects of Media Vio­
lence on Behaviour," Jourl of Social Issues 42 ( 1 986) : 7-28; Paik, H., and
G. Comstock, "The Efects of Television Violence on Antisocial Behavior:
N O T E S T O P A G E S 2 0 7 - 2 1 7
A Meta-analysis, " Communication Research 2 1 ( 1 994) : 5 1 6-46; Bushman,
B. , and L. Huesmann, "Efects of Television Violence on Aggression," in
D. Singer and ]. Singer, eds. , Handbook of Children and the Media (Thou­
sand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001 ) , 223-54.
4. Kostinsky, S. , E. O. Bixler, and P. A. Ketti, "Threats of School Violence
in Pennsylvania After Media Coverage of the Columbine High School
Massacre: Examining the Role of Imitation, " Archives of Pediatric and
Adolescent Medicine 1 55 (2001 ) : 994-1 001 ; Huesmann, L. , and L. Eron,
"Television and the Aggressive Child: A Cross-national Comparison,"
( Hillsdale, N]: Erlbaum, 1 986); Milavsky, ]. , R. Kessler, H. Stipp, et aI. ,
Television and Ag ession: A Panel Study (New York: Academic Press,
1 982) .
5. Huesmann, L. R. , "Imitation and the Efects of Observing Media Violence
on Behavior," in Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imittion, Volume Z,
257-66.
6. Comstock, G. , "Media Violence and Aggression, Properly Considered," in
Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imitation, Volume Z, 371 -80.
7. Hurley, S. , "Imitation, Media Violence, and Freedom of Speech, " Philo­
sophical Studies 1 1 7 ( 2004) : 1 65-2 1 8; Brison, S. , "Imitating Violence, " in
Hurley and Chater, Perspectives on Imitation, Volume Z, 202-204.
8. Marcus, S., Neuroethics : Mapping the Field (New York: Dana Press, 2002) ;
Gazzaniga, M. S. , The Ethical Brain (New York: Dana Press, 2005) .
9. Maisro, S. A. , and G. ]. Connors, "Relapse i n the Addictive Behaviors:
Integration and Future Directions," Clinical Psycholog Review 26
( 2006) : 229-3 1 ; Gordon, S. M. , R. Sterling, C. Siatkowski, et aI., "Inpa­
tient Desire to Drink as a Predictor of Relapse to Alcohol Use Following
Treatment, " American Jourl of Addiction 15 ( 2006) : 242-45; Shifman, S. ,
]. A. Paty, M. Gnys, et aI. , "First Lapses to Smoking: Within-Subjects
Analysis of Real-time Reports," Jourl of Consulting in Clinical Psycholog
64 ( 1 996) : 366-79; Harakeh, Z. , R. C. Engels, R. B. Van Baaren, et aI. ,
"Imitation of Cigarette Smoking: An Experimental Study on Smoking in
a Naturalistic Setting, " Drug and Alcohol Dependence 86 ( 2007) : 1 99-206.
1 0. Calvo-Merino, B. , D. E. Glaser, ]. Grezes, et aI. , "Action Observation and
Acquired Motor Skills: An fMRI Study with Expert Dancers, " Cerebral
Z
V /
N O T E S T O P A G E S 2 2 0 - 2 S 0
Cortex 1 5 ( 2005 ) : 1 243-49; Calvo-Merino, B. , J . Grezes, D.E. Glaser et aI. ,
"Seeing or Doing? Infuence of Visual and Motor Familiarity i n Action
Observation," Curent Biology 16 ( 2006) : 1 905-10; Shiraishi, T. , H. Saito,
H. Ito, et aI. , "Observation and Imitation of Nursing Actions: A NIRS
Study with Experts and Novices, " Student Health and Technolog Infora­
tion 1 22 ( 2006) : 820-21 .
Ni ne: Mirroring Wanting and Li ki ng
1 . A good review of these studies is in Schooler, J. W. , "Re-presenting Con­
sciousness: Dissociations Between Experience and Meta-consciousness,"
Trends in Cogitive Sciences 6 ( 2002) :339-44.
2. Johansson, P. , L. Hall, S. Sikstrom, et aI., "Failure to Detect Mismatches
Between Intention and Outcome in a Simple Decision Task," Science 3 1 0
( 2005) : 1 1 6-19.
3. Schultz, W. , P. Dayan, and P. R. Montague, "A Neural Substrate of Predic­
tion and Reward," Science 275 ( 1 997) : 1 593-99; Montague, Ì R., B. King­
Casas, and J. D. Cohen, "Imaging Valuation Models in Human Choice,"
Annual Review of Neuroscience 29 ( 2006) : 41 7-48.
4. McClure, S. M., J. Li, D. Tomlin, et aI., "Neural Correlates of Behavioral
Preference for Culturally Familiar Drinks," Neuron 44 ( 2004) : 379-87.
Ten: Neuropol1tlcs
1. Converse, P. , "The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics, " in D. Apter,
ed. , Ideology and Discontent (New York: Free Press, 1 964) , 206-61 ; Achen,
C., "Mass Political Attitudes and the Survey Response," American Political
Science Review 69 ( 1 975 ) : 1 21 8-3 1 ; Zaller, J. R., and S. Feldman, "A Sim­
ple Theory of the Survey Response: Answering Questions versus Reveal­
ing Preferences," Amencan loumal of Political Science 36 ( 1 992) : 579-616.
2. Raichle, M. E. , J. A. Fiez, ¯ O. Videen, et aI. , "Practice-Related Changes
in Human Brain Functional Anatomy During Nonmotor Learing, " Cere­
mm Cortex 4 ( 1 994) : 8-26.
3. Carr, L. , M. lacoboni, M. C. Dubeau, et aI. , "Neural Mechanisms of Empa­
thy in Humans: A Relay fom Neural Systems for Imitation to Limbic
Areas, " Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 1 00
(2003 ): 5497-5502.
N O T E S T O P A G E S 2 5 0 - 2 6 2
4. Schreiber, D. , and M. Iacoboni, "Monkey See, Monkey Do: Mirror Neu­
rons, Functional Brain Imaging, and Looking at Political Faces," paper
presented at the American Political Science Association Meeting, 2005,
Washington, D.C.
5. Gusnard, D. A. , and M. E. Raichle, "Searching for a Baseline: Functional
Imaging and the Resting Human Brain, " Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2
( 2001 ) : 685-94; Raichle, M. E. , A. M. MacLeod, A. Z. Snyder, et ai. , "A
Default Mode of Brain Function," Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences USA 98 (2001 ) : 676-82.
6. Schreiber, D. , and M. Iacoboni, "Thinking About Politics: Results from
Three Experiments Studying Sophistication," paper presented at the 61st
Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Associa­
tion, 2003.
7. lacoboni, M. , M. D. Lieberman, B. ]. Knowlton, et ai. , "Watching Social
Interactions Produces Dorsomedial Prefrontal and Medial Parietal BOLO
fMRI Signal Increases Compared to a Resting Baseline, " Neuroimage 2 1
( 2004) : 1 1 67-73.
8. Fiske, A. P. , Stuctures of Social Life: The Four Elementary Fors of Human
Relations (New York: Free Press, 1 99 1 ) .
9. lacoboni, M. , "Failure to Deactivate in Autism: The Co-constitution of
Self and Other," Trends in Cogitive Science 1 0 ( 2006) :43 1-33; Uddin,
L. Q., M. Iacoboni, C. Lange, and ]. P. Keenan, "The Self and Social Cog­
nition: The Role of Cortical Midline Structures and Mirror Neurons,"
Trends in Cogitive Science 1 1 ( 2007) : 1 53-57; Lieberman, M. D., "Social '
Cognitive Neuroscience: A Review of Core Processes," Annul Review of
Psycholog 58 ( 2007) : 259-89.
Eleven: Exi stenti al Neurosci ence and Soci ety
1. One day I told this story to Giacomo Rizzolatti. He said that he had read
similar remarks in a newspaper interview with Peter Brook, the world­
renowned theater director. Is this story another meme with high replica­
bility?
2. Wittgenstein, L., Remrks on the Philosophy of Psycholog, Volume 2 (Ox­
ford, UK: Blackwell, 1 980) ; Merleau-Ponty, M., The Primacy of Perception
(Evanston, IL: Northwester University Press, 1 964) .
Z
V V
N O T E S T O P A G E S 2 6 6 - 2 7 1
3. Benner, P. , "The Quest for Control and the Possibilities of Care, " in
M. Wrathall and J. Malpas, eds. , Heideger, Coping, and Cogitive Science:
Essays in Honor of Hubert L. Dreyfus, Volume Z (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 2000) , 293-309.
4. Heidegger, M., Being and Tme (New York: Harper Õ Row, 1 962) ; Sartre,
J-P. , Being and Nothingess : A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology (New
York: Citadel Press, 1 956) .
5. Indeed, the philosopher Hubert Dreyfs, i n his presidential address to the
Pacifc Division of the American Philosophical Association, emphasized
what is wrong with the analytic/continental dichotomy and forceflly re­
minded us why both "sides" of philosophy are important. Dreyfs, H. L. ,
"Overcoming the Myth of the Mental: How Philosophers Can Proft from
the Phenomenology of Everyday Expertise," APA Pacifc Division Presi­
dential Address, 2005.
6. This fnal section of the book is partly based on my response to the 2007
Edge World Question (www.edge.org) "What are you optimistic about?
Why?"
7. Heidegger, M., Being and Tme; Zahavi, D., "Beyond Empathy," Jour of
Consciousness Studies 8 ( 2001 ) : 1 5 1-67.
8. Olson, G. , "Hard-wired for Moral Politics: Neuroscience and Empathy,"
ZNet (www.zmag.org) , May 20, 2007; Amin, A. , "From Ethnicity to Em­
pathy: A New Idea of Europe, " openDemocracy (www.opendemocracy.net) .
July 23, 2003; Olson, G. , "Neuroscience and moral politics: Chomsky's in­
tellectual progeny," Identitytheory.com (www.identitytheory.com/social/
olson_neuro.php) , October 1 6, 2007.
}
0 0
Acknowledgments
This book would not have been possible without the help, encouragement,
and support of many friends and colleagues. First and foremost I thank John
Brockman for his unfaltering encouragement to write it. I also thank Katinka
Matson, Mike Bryan, and my editor, Eric Chinski, for shaping the manuscript
in many important ways.
Several people read individual chapters from early and late drafts of the
book. I am grateful to George Lakof, Sam Hartis, Annaka Harris, Frank Vin­
cenzi, Sally Rogers, Kelsey Laird, Amy Copl;n, Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Elizabeth
Reynolds, Julian Keenan, Alan Fiske, John Mazziotta, Giacomo Rizzolatti, and
Vittorio Gallese for their comments, suggestions, and questions.
A common thread of the book is the research that has been performed in
my lab in the last ten years. This research has been possible because of the ded­
ication and enthusiasm of colleagues and trainees. First and foremost, I am in
debt to Giacomo Rizzolatti . and Vittorio Gallese, wonderful friends and col­
leagues who participated in seminal experiments performed in my lab. John
Mazziotta, Roger Woods, Harold Bekkering, Marcel Brass, Andreas Wohl­
schlager, Eran Zaidel , Gian Luigi Lenzi, Patricia Greenfeld, and Itzhak Fried
also participated in crucial experiments on the human mirror neuron system.
With her own lab, my wife and colleague, Mirella Dapretto, led groundbreak-
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S
ing research on mirror neuron dysfunction in autism, and I was fortunate to
collaborate on these studies.
I celebrate my trainees, who have enriched my life in many ways. Mentor­
ing and doing experiments with them has been illuminating and exhilarating:
Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Laurie Carr, Choi Deblieck, Marie-Charlotte Dubeau, Marc
Heiser, Jonas Kaplan, Lisa Koski, Ingo Meister, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Roy
Mukamel, Darren Schreiber, Lucina Uddin, Stephen Wilson, and Allan Wu
were involved in experiments and endless discussions on how mirror neurons
shape our social behavior.
With leadership and vision, John Mazziotta created a wonderful research
facility-the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center-where my lab is lo­
cated. I celebrate John and the center and feel fortunate to do my research in
such a world-class facility. I thank the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience
and Human Behavior and the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and De­
velopment for creating extraordinarily stimulating environments where I often
discussed the role of mirror neurons in human behavior.
In the last ten years, I have given seminars on mittor neurons all over the
world. I thank all the people who came to hear me speak, asked me questions,
and gave me comments. All those people helped in shaping the arguments I
put in this book. I am deeply grateful to them.
}
0Z
I ndex
Page references in itlics refer to illustrations.
Achen, Chris, 246
actions, 1 2-1 3, 14, 25, 30-34, 38,
40, 1 22, 1 23, 146-47, 1 66, 197,
202-203, 259-61 ; hierarchical
structures for, 87-89; ideomotor
model of, 57-59; mu rhythm and,
1 62-64, 1 74; sensory-motor
model of, 58
addiction, 21 3-14; craving and
relapse in, 21 4-1 5, 21 8
advertising, 2 1 9-43; political cam­
paigns and, 238-43; Super Bowl
and, 230-37
afliation, 228-29
Aglioti, Salvatore, 1 23-24
alcohol abuse, relapse and, 21 4
Alibali, Martha, 82-83
American Sign Language, 99
amygdala, 1 1 9
Aniston, Jennifer, 197-98, 296n8
anterior cingulate cortex, 202
anterior commissure, 142
aphasia, 37
Arbib, Michael, 27, 36
"as i f loop" theory, 290n1 4
asomatognosia, 1 5 1
Asperger's syndrome, 1 74
attachment theory, 1 26
attention, premotor theory of, 2 1
auditory cortex, 1 94-95
authority ranking, 254, 255-56
autism, 7, 1 57-83; i n adolescents,
293n16; facial expression and,
1 70-7 1 , 1 74-75; false belief test
I N D E X
autism (cont. )
and, 1 68-69; imitation as treat­
ment for, 1 79-83; imitative be­
havior and, 168-72, 1 75, 1 79-83;
mirror neuron hypothesis of, 1 72-
77, 274-75, 293n1 6; mu wave
suppression and, 1 73, 1 74-75,
293n 1 6; visual fxation and, 1 77-
79
axons, 22, 1 98
Aziz-Zadeh, Lisa, 94-95, 1 02
Babkin refex, 85
ballet, 2 1 6-1 7
Bargh, John, 1 1 2-1 4
Baylor College of Medicine, 225-27
beat gestures, 82-84
Bearles, 197
behavioral neurology, 20
Bekkering, Harold, 57, 59, 63-68
Berry, Halle, 1 98
Blackmore, Susan, 47, 50, 5 1
Blakeslee, Sandra, 70-71
blind taste tests, 225-27
body schema, 132
Bogen, Joe, 142
bonobos, 23
Brin, 197
brain: amygdala of, 1 1 9; anterior and
posterior commissures of, 142; an­
terior cingulate cortex of, 202; au­
ditory cortex of, 1 94-95; auditory
stimuli and, 34-38, 1 01 -105,
1 52-54, 1 94-95, 234, 259; body
awareness and, 1 32; Broca's area
of, 37, 62, 67, 84, 87, 89-91 ;
causal versus correlative changes
in activity of, 89-92; cerebral cor­
tex of, 1 91 ; cingulate cortex of,
1 2 1 -23, 1 25; communication
links between regions of, 1 1 6-2 1 ,
1 1 9; compartmentalization of
fnctions paradigm and, 1 2-14,
15, 16; complexity of, 8-9; corpus
callosum of, 142, 1 98; default state
network of, 252-53, 257-58; dis­
connection of hemispheres of,
142-44; dorsolateral prefrontal
cortex of, 227, 25 1 ; dorsomedial
prefrontal cortex of, 252; ethics of
research on, 23; evolutionary steps
in development of, 57-62, 62; ex­
ecutive control areas of, 227, 234,
25 1 ; F4 area of ( in monkeys) , 14-
1 6, 277; F5 area of ( in monkeys) ,
9-1 1 , 1 2, 14-1 6, 24-25, 27, 35,
37, 41 , 42, 54, 6 1 , 84, 1 28, 277,
278; F6 area of ( in monkeys) , 1 28;
frontal lobe of, 1 75, 195, 1 98, 202,
225; gyri of, 62, 1 63; human and
macaque, comparison of, 61 -62,
62; insula of, 1 1 7- 1 9, 1 1 9, 1 27,
1 65, 1 66; left hemisphere of, 143,
1 49, 1 50, 1 98; limbic system of,
1 1 2, 1 1 5-21 , 1 1 9, 1 22, 1 27, 1 65-
68, 1 72, 234; marketing and, 2 1 9-
43; medial orbitofrontal cortex of,
224, 226, 227, 242-43; memory
and, 1 95-98, 1 99, 220-22, 223,
I N 0 E X
236, 25 1 -53, 264; migraine and,
1 88-91 ; motor cortex of, 14; MT
area of, 147; mu rhythm of, 1 62-
64, 1 73, 1 74-75; neocortex of, 9,
1 2 1 ; orbitofontal cortex of, 202;
parietal lobe of, 1 46, 1 49, 1 75; pa­
rietal operculum of, 1 3 1 -32; PF
area of, 61 ; precuneus prefrontal
cortex of, 252; premotor cortex of,
9, 1 2 1 ; pre-SMA area of, 1 28; pre­
supplementary motor area of, 202,
203; reward areas of, 223-28, 232,
236, 237, 242-43; right hemi­
sphere of, 1 32, 143, 1 46, 1 48-49,
1 5 1 , 1 98; self-recognition and,
1 41 -56, 228, 260; spatial area
around body and, 1 5- 1 6, 2 1 ;
spreading depression and, 1 91 ;
sulci of, 62, 1 63; supramarginal
gyrus of, 1 49, 150-5 1 ; teacup ex­
periment and, 6-7; temporal cor­
tex of, 1 89; temporal lobe of, 195,
25 1 ; unifcation of fnctions para­
digm for, 13 -1 7; ventral striatum
of, 224; visual cortex of, 195;
visual stimuli and, 1 5-1 6, 24-25,
27-30, 35-38, 41 , 1 41 -54, 1 77-
79, 1 88-89, 1 95, 1 97-98, 234
Brain Camp, 1 46
brain imaging, 20, 2 1 , 23, 56, 59-60,
68, 70, 75, 88-89, 1 1 8, 1 44, 1 50,
1 5 1 , 1 52, 1 53; childhood develop­
ment and, 1 58-68, 1 73, 1 75-76;
costs of, 247-48; credit card study
by, 235-36; experience study
with, 21 6-1 7; language experi­
ment using, 94-95; political atti­
tude analysis and, 7, 247-54;
reward system and, 223-28, 232,
236, 237, 242-43; single-cell
research and, 1 84-87, 1 94-95,
1 99; social relations study using,
254-58; speech perception study
with, 102-1 05; Super Bowl ad
experiment by, 230-37; see also
specifc technologes
"Brain's Concepts, The" (Gallese
and Lakof) , 94
branding, 7, 226-27
Brass, Marcel, 57, 59
Brentano, Franz, 16
British Academy, 84
Broca, Paul, 37
Broca's aphasia, 37
Brockman, John, 23 1
Bush, George H. w, 239
Bush, George W. , 239, 249
Cacioppo, John, 1 1 0
Califoria, University of, 1 73, 1 80,
244
Califoria, University of, at Los An­
geles (UCLA) , 8, 34, 56, 59, 67-
68, 87, 93, 94, 1 27, 143, 1 44, 1 58,
1 64, 1 73, 1 76, 1 89, 21 5; Chancel­
lor's Fund for Academic Border
Crossing at, 248; credit card iden­
tifcation experiment at, 235-36;
Fried's single-cell studies at, 192-
I N 0 E X
Califoria, University of (cont . )
95, 197-98, 1 99-200, 202; nega­
tive advertising experiment at,
239-43; political attitude study at,
247 -54; social relations experi­
ment at, 254-58; Super Bowl ad
experiment at, 230-37
Caltech, 142
cancer, 209
canonical neurons, 14, 24-25
capoeira, 2 1 6
"Cells That Read Minds"
( Blakeslee) , 70-7 1
censorship, 2 1 2
cerebral cortex, 1 91
chameleon efect, 1 09-1 2, 270
Chartrand, Tanya, 1 1 2-1 4
children: autism and, 1 57-83; em-
barrassment and, 1 41 ; empathy
and, 1 26-29, 133-34, 1 40, 1 64,
1 65-68, 1 75-76, 21 3; imitative
behavior and, 49-50, 57, 63-66,
67-68, 133-35, 140, 1 58, 1 67,
1 79-83; mirror neurons and social
development of, 1 58-68, 1 73,
1 75-76, 276-77; mirror recogni­
tion test and, 1 36, 1 40-41 ; visual
fxation and, 1 7 7 -79
chimpanzees, 23, 38, 57; mirror
recognition test and, 13 7 -38
choice blindness, 221 -22, 264
cingulate cortex, 1 2 1 -23, 1 25
Cirillo, Leonard, 68
Clinton, Bill, 1 2 1 , 145, 1 97
Club dei, 27, 1 8
cognition, 5-6, 7, 1 2-1 3, 30-34,
45, 48, 70, 92-1 01 , 1 41 , 1 55,
1 57-83, 245, 25 1 -53, 254-58;
embodied theory of, 92-95
Cole, Jonathan, 1 1 5
Colorado, University of, Health
Sciences Center, 1 69
Columbine High School massacre
( 1 999) , 207
communal sharing, 254, 255-56
computational neuroscience, 20
confederates, 1 1 2-1 4
Consciousness Exlined ( Den-
nett) , 5 1
conservation tasks, 80-81
contralateral movements, 63-64, 65,
66, 67-68
Converse, Philip, 246
convulsions (seizures) , epileptic, 192,
1 93, 1 99
corpus callosum, 142, 1 98
couples: empathy and, 1 25-26;
imitative behavior i n, 1 1 5
Cradle of Thought, The (Hobson) ,
1 7 1
craving, addiction and, 21 4-1 5,
21 8
crime, 239
Cure Autism Now, 1 80
Damasio, Antonio, 290n1 4
Dapretto, Mirella, 1 65-68, 1 75-76
Dartmouth College, 1 46
Darwin, Charles, 42, 1 20; mirror
}
0 Ó
I N 0 E X
recognition test and, 136, 1 37,
1 38
Dawkins, Richard, 50, 5 1
default state network, 252-53,
257-58
Dennett, Daniel, 5 1
deoxyhemoglobin, 59
depression, 1 2 1 -22
Descartes, Rene, 261
developmental psychology, 47 -50,
63-66, 67-68, 73; Babkin reflex
and, 85; Broca's area and, 87; con­
servation tasks in, 80-81 ; gestures
and, 79-82, 85-87; hand-to­
mouth behavior and, 85-86; hier­
archical structures and, 87 -89
Dijksterhuis, Ap, 200-201
Dimberg, Ulf, 1 1 0-1 1
Discover, 95
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) , 8
dolphins, 139, 1 40
Domingo, Placido, 1 8
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, 227,
25 1
dorsomedial prefontal cortex, 252
Doyle, Arthur Conan, 1 1 6
Dreyfs, Hubert, 300n5
drug addiction, relapse and, 21 4-1 5
Dukakis, Michael, 239
Eckerman, Carol, 50
Edge-The Third Culture , 23 1 ,
290n6, 296n1
efect size, 208-209
Einstein, Albert, 20, 73, 145
Ekstrom, Arne, 1 99, 202
elections, U. S. : of 1 964, 238; of
1 988, 239; of 2000, 248, 249; of
2004, 239-43, 244
electroencephalography (EEG) , 162,
1 64, 1 73
elephants, 1 39-40
embarrassment, 1 41
emblems, 80
embodied cognition, 92-95
embodied semantics, 92-95
Emotional Contagion (Hatfeld, Ca-
cioppo, and Rapson) , 1 1 0, 283n1
empathy, 4-5, 70, 1 05, 1 06-29, 237,
242, 260, 261 -62, 270-72, 275;
children and, 1 26-29, 133-34,
1 40, 1 64, 1 65-68, 1 75-76, 2 13;
i n couples, 1 25-26; dolphins and,
139; facial expressions' role in,
1 1 0- 1 6, 1 1 8-20, 1 1 9, 1 22, 1 26,
1 27, 1 28, 1 65-68, 1 75-76, 262;
facial feedback hypothesis and,
1 20; imitative behavior and, 1 08-
1 6, 1 1 8-20, 1 1 9, 1 30-3 1 , 165-
68, 1 75-76, 228-29, 268; Lipps'
contribution to study of, 1 08-1 09;
neural mechanisms for, 1 1 6-2 1 ,
1 1 9; pain and, 1 2 1 -26; of parents
and children, 1 26-29, 133-34,
1 40
Enlightenment, 84
epilepsy, 1 2 1 , 142; convulsions
caused by, 192, 1 93, 1 99; Fried's
single-cell research into, 1 92-95,
I N 0 E X
epilepsy (cant . .}
197-98, 1 99-200, 202, 260; mu
rhythm and, 1 64
equality matching, 254
existentialism, neuroscience and,
259-72
experimental psychology, 20
explicit understanding, 45-46
Face in the Mirror, The ( Keenan,
Gallup, and Falk) , 1 41
facial expressions: autism and, 1 70-
7 1 , 1 74-75; empathy and, 1 1 0-
16, 1 1 8-20, 1 1 9, 1 22, 1 26, 1 27,
1 28, 1 65-68, 1 75-76, 262; self­
recognition and, 1 41 -56
facial feedback hypothesis, 1 20
Fadiga, Luciano, 19, 54-55, 102,
1 03- 105
Falk, Dean, 1 41
false belief test, 1 68-69
Fear and Trembling ( Kierkegaard) , 268
Fecteau, Shirley, 1 64
Federer, Roger, 5
Feinberg, Todd, 1 5 1
Feldman, Stanley, 246-47
Ferrara, University of, 19
Ferrari, Pier Francesco, 40-42, 45,
275-76
Fiske, Alan, 254-56
FKF Applied Research, 230, 232
fRI, see functional magnetic reso-
nance imaging (fRI )
focus groups, 2 1 9-20, 237
Fogassi, Leo, 1 0, 1 9-20, 30, 277;
grasping experiment of, 3 1 -34,
44, 74, 1 87, 277-78
frameless stereotaxy, 90-91 , 1 50
Freedman, Joshua, 229-32
fee speech, 2 1 2, 269
fee wi ll: marketing and, 220; memes
and, 5 1 ; violence and, 209-1 4, 269
Fried, Itzhak, single-cell researches
of, 1 92-95, 197-98, 1 99-200,
202, 260-61
FriendS, 1 98, 296n8
frontal lobe, 1 75, 195, 1 98, 202, 225
functional magnetic resonance imag-
ing (fRI ) , 23, 56, 59-60, 83,
1 04, 1 1 8, 1 28, 1 41 -47, 1 58, 165,
1 67, 1 7� 1 85, 1 86-87, 1 94-95,
2 1 6, 223, 225, 250, 293nI6, 295nl
Gallese, Vittorio, 1 0- 1 1 , 17 - 1 9,
33-34, 52, 55-56, 74, 78, 94,
1 08, 1 47, 1 84-85, 1 97
Gallup, Gordon, 1 36-38, 1 40-41
gestures, 79-84; beat types of, 82-
84; iconic types of, 82-84, 86
Glenberg, Art, 93
Goldman, Alvin, 1 7 , 33-34
Goldwater, Barry S. , 238
Good, the Ba, and the Ugly, The,
1 94-95
Gore, AI, 250
gorillas, 23, 1 38
grandmother cells, 1 96, 1 97
Greenfeld, Patricia, 87 -88
}
0 0
I N D E X
gun control, 2 1 2
gyri, 62, 1 63
Hand and Mind ( McNeill) , 79-80
hands: ipsilateral and contralateral
movements of, 63-64, 65, 66, 67-
68; motor control of, 9-1 0, 1 5,
23-27, 55, 59-60, 94; parietal
operculum and, 1 3 1 -32; precision
grip of, 24-26, 40, 77; whole­
hand grip of, 24-26
Hari, Riitta, 1 63-64, 1 74-75, 293n16
Har Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix ( Rowling) , 72-73
Harvard University, 1 43
Haskins Laboratory, 1 03
Hatfeld, Elaine, 1 1 0
Heidegger, Martin, 1 6
Hobson, Peter, 1 70-72, 1 75
Hofer, Eric, 47
hominids, 57
homologues, 37
Homo sapiens, 9
Horton, Willie, 239
Human Frontier Science Program
Organization, 55-57
Husser!, Edmund, 1 6, 265
Hutchison, William, 1 22, 1 25
lacoboni, Caterina, 27-28, 34-35
iconic gestures, 82-84, 86
ideomotor model of human action,
57-59
ldioma de Senas de Nicaragua, 99
I Lombardi alIa prim crociata
(Verdi ) , 1 8
image-guided TMS, 90
imitative behavior, 38-78, 1 3 1 -32,
147, 258, 259-60, 27 1 ; addiction
and, 21 3-1 8; adults and, 50-5 1 ,
57, 66-67, 68, 1 26-29, 133-34,
1 40; arousal as facilitator of, 2 1 0-
1 1 ; autism and, 1 68-72, 1 75,
79-83, 293n16; children and, 49-
50, 57, 63-66, 67-68, 133-35,
1 40, 1 58, 1 67, 1 79-83; of couples,
1 1 5; of dolphins, 139; empathy
and, 1 08-1 6, 1 1 8-20, 1 1 9, 130-
3 1 , 1 65-68, 1 75-76, 228-29,
268; facial expressions i n, 1 1 0-1 6,
1 1 8-20, 1 1 9, 1 22, 1 26, 1 27, 1 28,
1 65-68, 250, 259, 261 ; goal as ob­
j ect of, 63-70; high-road versus
low-road forms of, 200-203;
infants and, 47-49, 63, 1 26-29,
135, 1 40, 1 55-56, 1 58-61 , 1 79;
language and, 91 -92, 97-1 01 ;
learing and, 38-42, 21 5-1 7 ,
260; mimicry and, 69-70, 1 09-
12; of parents, 1 26-29, 133-34,
1 40, 1 55-56, 1 79; parietal opercu­
lum and, 1 3 1 -32; perceptual role
of, 1 1 0-1 1 ; posture and, 69-70;
prioritization in, 64; verbal com­
munication and, 50; violence and,
7, 204-1 3, 268-69; see also empa­
thy; mirror neurons
implicit understanding, 45-46, 49
I N D E X
Ingersoll, Brooke, 1 80, 1 82-83
instant science, 23 1 , 233, 240
insula, 1 1 7-1 9, 1 1 9, 1 27, 165, 1 66
intention, 6-7, 20, 29-34, 44, 58,
7� 74-78, 87, 1 3 1 , 132, 1 4�
1 61 -62, 255, 260
Internet, 23 1 , 232, 247
interpersonal competence, 1 66-68
Interpersonal Competence Scale,
1 66
Interpersonal Reactivity Index,
1 65-66
intersubj ectivity, 69, 1 52, 262-65
intracranial electrodes, 1 92-95,
197
ipsilateral movements, 63-64, 65,
67-68
James, William, 58, 1 20
Japanese monkeys, 38-39, 42, 43, 44
Jennifer Aniston cell, 197-98
Johnson, Lyndon B. , 238
Jordan, Michael, 197
Kaplan, Jonas, 1 52-54
Katrina, Hurricane, 1 25
Keenan, Julian, 1 40, 143, 1 5 1
Kegl, Judy, 99
Kerry, John Ì, 239
Keysers, Christian, 35-36, 37-38,
1 02
Kierkegaard, Soren, 268
Klin, Ami, 1 7 7 -79
Kohler, Evelyne, 35-36, 37-38
Kudrow, Lisa, 1 98
LaFrance, Marianne, 69-70
La
k
of, George, 94
language, 27, 36-38, 47, 78, 79-
1 05, 260; acquisition of, 95, 99-
1 00, 1 01 ; Broca's area and, 89-91 ;
as coordinated bidirectional activ­
ity, 95-1 01 ; deafess and, 99-
1 00; evolution of, 95, 99-1 00,
1 01 ; gestures and, 79-89, 98, 99-
1 00; hierarchical structure of, 87-
89; imitation and, 91 -92, 97-1 01 ;
McGurk efect and, 102-1 03;
monologues versus conversations
and, 95-97; origins of, 84-89;
spontaneous development of,
99-1 00
"Language Within Our Grasp" (Riz-
zolatti and Arbib) , 36
Lee, Ton� 1 70, 1 7 1 -72
Leone, Sergio, 1 94-95
Lepage, Jean-FranCis, 1 64
Liberman, Alvin, 37, 1 03
Lieberman, Joe, 250
limbic system, 1 1 2, 1 1 5-21 , 1 1 9,
1 22, 1 27, 1 65-68, 1 72, 234
Lipps, Theodore, 1 08-1 09
Logothetis, Nikos, 1 86-87, 1 95
London, Edythe, 21 5
Los Angeles Tmes, 233
Lotze, Rudolph Hermann, 58
lung cancer, 209
}
¡ 0
I N 0 E X
Maa nemestT (macaques) ,
8-1 1 , 1 2, 1 4, 1 6, 26, 43, 46,
53-57, 61 , 67, 1 2 1 , 1 57
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI ) ,
90-91 , 247-48
magnetoencephalography (MEG) ,
23, 56, 1 63-64, 1 74
marketing, neuroscience and, 7,
2 1 9-43
market pricing, 254
marriage, imitative behavior and,
1 1 5
Massachusetts Institute of Technol-
ogy (MIT) , 21 3
mass media: neuroscience coverage
by, 240-41 ; violence and, 7,
204-1 3
Mataric, Maj a, 266-67
Materazzi, Marco, 1 06-1 08
materal empathy, 1 26-29
Max Planck Institute for Psychologi-
cal Research, 57, 63, 1 86-87
McGurk efect, 1 02-1 03
McNeill, David, 79-80
medial orbitofrontal cortex, 224,
226, 227, 242-43
Meister,' lngo, 1 04-1 05
Meltzof, Andrew, 45, 47-48, 1 35,
276, 293n8
Meme Mahine , ¯m ( Blackmore) ,
47, 50
memes, memetics, 50-52, 299nl
memory, 1 95-98, 1 99, 25 1 -53;
translational dissociation and,
220-22, 223, 236, 264
}
¡ ¡
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1 6 , 1 7, 55,
78, 1 08, 1 1 5, 262, 277
metacognitive processes, 240
meta-conscious mental processes,
220-21
microwires, 1 93-94
migraine, 1 88-91
mimicry, see imitative behavior
mind: control of, 222-23; embodied
cognition theory of, 92-95
mirror neurons: acquisition of new
properties by, 42; actions and, see
actions; activation of, 14, 1 22,
1 23; addictive behaviors and,
21 3-1 8; afliation and, 228-29;
animal behavior and, 274; arousal
and, 21 0-1 1 ; auditory stimuli and,
34-38, 1 01 -1 05, 1 52-54, 1 94-
95, 234, 259; autism and, 7, 1 57-
83, 274-75; broadly congruent
types of, 25; children and, 1 58-
68, 1 73, 1 75-76, 276-77; empa­
thy and, 4-5, 70, 105, 1 06-29,
1 65-68, 1 75-76, 21 3, 228-29,
237, 242, 260, 261 -62, 270-72,
275, 279; experience and, 21 5-1 7 ;
fring patters of, 23-27, 28-29,
33, 61 , 132, 133, 139, 1 46-47,
201 , 202, 259-60, 265, 278; frst
identifcation of, 8- 1 1 , 52, 266;
formation and development of,
133-35, 1 44, 1 52, 1 55-56; free
will and, 5 1 , 209-14, 269; frontal
lobe and, 1 98, 202; goals as
concern of, 41 -42, 58, 63-70;
I N D E X
mirror neurons (cont. )
hierarchical structures and, 87-
89; identifcation and, 7, 229,
235-36, 237, 242, 250; imitative
behavior and, see imitative behav­
ior; intention and, 6-7, 20, 29-34,
44, 58, 70, 74-78, 87, 1 3 1 , 1 32,
1 46, 1 61 -62, 255, 260; intersub­
j ectivity and, 262-65; language
and, 27, 36-38, 47, 78, 79-1 05,
260; learing and, 38-42, 21 5-
1 7, 260; limbic system and, 1 1 2,
1 1 5-2 1 , 1 1 9, 1 22, 127, 165-68,
1 72, 234; logically related types of,
26, 77; marketing and, 7, 2 1 9-43;
maternal empathy and, 1 26-29;
morality and, 5; mu rhythm and,
162-64, 1 73, 1 74-75, 276; politi­
cal attitudes and, 7, 244-54; self­
recognition and, 1 41 -56, 228,
260; in social cognition and inter­
action, 5-6, 7, 30-34, 45, 70,
92-1 01 , 1 41 , 1 55, 1 57-83, 245,
254-58, 275; songbirds and, 274;
strictly congruent types of, 25; su­
per types of, 156, 200-203, 21 0-
1 1 , 242, 265 ; technologies for
study of, 19, 23, 52-57; tool use
and, 38-42, 21 6; understanding of
other minds and, 70-74, 78, 270;
violence and, 7, 206-1 3, 268-69;
visual stimulation and, 24-25, 27-
30, 35-38, 41 , 1 41 -54
mirror recognition test, 1 35-41 ; ani­
mals and, 136-40; children and,
136, 1 40-41
mirror sign defcits, 149
Moebius syndrome, 1 1 5
Molnar-Szakacs, Istvan, 83, 88
monkeys, 8-1 1 , 1 2, 1 4, 1 6, 23-27,
49, 53-57, 61 , 67, 1 53, 1 57, 1 61 ,
1 73, 201 , 2 1 5 -1 6, 259-60, 275;
brain imaging/single-cell ensemble
techniques used on, 1 84-87, 276,
295nl ; Ferrari's imitation study
and, 276; Fogassi's intention study
and, 30, 3 1 -33, 44, 74; Kohler
and Keysers vision/sound studies
of, 35-38; limitations to experi­
ments with, 1 2 1 ; mirror recogni­
tion test and, 1 38; pantomime
and, 28-29, 38, 40; potato wash­
ing behavior in, 38-39, 42, 43,
44; tool use and, 38-42, 2 1 6, 278;
see also specifc primtes
Monroe, Marilyn, 1 45
Montague, Read, 225-27
Monterosso, John, 2 1 5
Montreal Neurological Institute, 1 62
morality, 5
motion pictures, violence and, 204
motor neurons, 1 0- 1 1 , 1 3, 259,
285n16; fring patters of, 23-27
motor resonance, 54-55, 102, 285n1 6
motor theory of speech perception,
1 03-1 05
mouth, motor control of, 1 5, 23,
26-27, 41 , 94
Mukamel, Roy, 1 94-95
mu rhythm, 162-64, 1 73, 1 74-75
}
¡ Z
I N 0 E X
Nadel, Jacqueline, 49, 1 80, 1 81 , 1 82
Nader, Ralph, 239
Napier, John, 79
National Institutes of Health (NIH) ,
275
near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) ,
1 59-61
negative advertising, 238-43
neocortex, 9, 1 2 1
neuroethics, 7, 2 1 3
neuromarketing, 7, 2 1 9-43
neurons, 9, 1 98; see also mirror neu-
rons; motor neurons; other specifc
types of neurons
neurophysiologic phenomenology, 1 7
neurophysiology, 1 3
neuropolitics, 7 , 244-54
neuroscience, 8, 20; compartmental-
ization of function paradigm in,
1 2-14, 1 5, 1 6; existentialism and,
259- 72; intersubj ectivity and,
262-65; marketing and, 7, 2 1 9-
43; media and, 240-41 ; society
and, 259-72; unifcation of fnc­
tions paradigm in, 1 3-1 7
New York, State University of, 1 36
New Yok Tmes, 70-71 , 240
Nicaragua, 99-1 00
Nobel Prize, 142
Obama, Barack, 273
obsessive-compulsive disorders, 1 2 1
Ochs, Eleanor, 93
opera, 1 8
opportunistic science, 1 87-203
optical imaging, 159-61
oprodes, 159
orangutans, 23, 136, 138
Orban, Guy, 295n1
orbitofrontal cortex, 202
other, self and, 69, 70, 133-35, 139,
147, 1 52, 1 54-56, 203, 228,
257-58, 262, 265
"Our Brain and Us: Neuroethics,
Responsibility, and the Self," 21 3
Oxord English Dictionary, 51
oxyhemoglobin, 59
pain: empathic response to, 1 2 1 -26;
as shared experience, 1 24-25
parenting, empathy and, 1 26-29,
133-34, 1 40
parietal lobe, 1 46, 1 49, 1 75
parietal operculum, 1 3 1 -32
Parma, University of, neuroscience
lab of, 8-1 1 , 1 3-21 , 23, 27, 28,
35, 40, 42, 52, 54-57, 61 , 74, 1 08,
1 57, 1 85, 197, 201 , 266
Pennington, Bruce, 1 69-70
Pepsi Challenge, 226
perception, 1 2-1 3, 14, 25
perception neurons, 13
peripersonal space maps, 1 5-1 6, 2 1 ,
277
Perrett, Dave, 1 73
phenomenology, 1 6, 1 7, 55, 133,
265, 266, 271
Piaget, Jean, 48
}
¡
}
I N 0 E X
pidgin language, 99
Pitt, Brad, 1 97-98, 296n8
Poe, Edgar Allan, 1 1 9-20
political attitudes, 7, 244-54
political consulting, negative ads
and, 238-43
"Politics in the Brain?" (Terey) ,
240
positron-emission tomography
( PET) , 53, 1 87-91 , 253
posterior commissure, 142
Potter, Harry (char. ) , 72-73
precuneus, 252
premotor cortex, 9, 54-55, 1 2 1
premotor theory of attention, 2 1
pre-SMA, 1 28
presupplementary motor area, 202,
203
primary motor cortex, 14, 54-55, 77
Proceedings of the Nationl Academy
of Sciences, 1 20
product identifcation, 229, 235-36
"Purloined Letter, The" ( Poe) ,
1 1 9-20
race, racism, 239, 250
Raichle, Marcus, 252-53
Ramachandran, Vilayanur, 1 73,
285nl 6
Rapson, Richard L. , 1 1 0
"reaction shots," 5
reward system, 223-28, 232, 236,
237, 242-43
rhesus monkeys, 8, 43
Rizzolatti, Giacomo, 8-1 1 , 1 3-2 1 ,
27, 28, 35, 36, 40, 44, 52, 74, 1 03,
1 08, 146, 1 57, 163-64, 1 74, 1 87,
278, 281n2, 295nl , 299nl
Roberts, Julia, 1 97
Rogers, Sally, 1 69-70, 1 80
Romanes, George, 43
Rome, University of, 1 23
Schooler, Jonathan, 220
Schreiber, Darren, 244-53, 254, 255,
257
Schwarzenegger, Arold, 249
Scream, 204
self: awareness of, 1 30-56; body
schema and, 1 32; imitation and,
133-35; mirror recognition test
and, 1 35-41 ; other and, 69, 70,
1 33-35, 139, 1 47, 1 52, 1 54-56,
203, 228, 257-58, 262, 265
Selfsh Gene , 1n( Dawkins) , 50
self-recognition, 1 35-41 ; animals
and, 1 36-40; mirror neurons and,
1 41 -56, 228, 260; neural corre­
lates of, 1 41 -54; social environ­
ment and, 1 38-39; vocal stimuli
and, 1 52-54
sensory-motor model of human
action, 58
sign language, 99-1 00
Simpsons, 1 97
simulation theory, 1 7, 73-74, 1 1 1 -
1 2, 264-65, 293n8
Singer, Tanya, 1 25-26
}
¡
4
I N D E X
Smith, Adam, 1 06, 107
smoking, 209, 2 14-1 8
Snape, Severus (char. ) , 72-73
social cognition and interaction,
5-6, 7, 30-34, 45, 70, 92-1 01 ,
1 41 , 1 55, 1 57-83, 245, 254-58
social identifcation, 7
social valence, 1 45
Societe de Linguistique de Paris, 84
Society of Neuroscience, 1 73-74
Southern Califoria, University
of, 94
sparse coding, 1 96-97
speech, 1 01 -1 05; McGurk efect
and; 1 02-1 03; motor theory of
perception of, 1 03-1 05
Sperry, Roger, 1 42-43
split-brain patients, 1 42-44
spreading depression, 1 91
stimulus enhancement, 39
sulci, 62, 1 63
Suomi, Steve, 275
Super Bowl, 230-37
supramarginal gyrus, 1 49, 1 50-5 1
synapses, 9
tactile receptive feld, 1 5 -1 6
teacup experiment, 6-7
television, reaction shots on, 5
temporal cortex, 1 89
temporal dissociation, 220
temporal lobe, 195, 25 1
Theoret, Hugo, 1 62, 1 64
theory of mind, 1 73
theory theory, 7 1 -74, 1 68-69,
264
Terey, John, 240
TMS, see transcranial magnetic stim-
ulation (TMS)
tobacco industry, 209
Tomasello, Michael, 1 00
tool use, 38-42, 21 6
Toronto, University of, 1 22
"Toward a Science of Consciousness"
( meeting) , 1 7
transcranial magnetic stimulation
(TMS) , 19, 54-55, 90-91 , 102,
1 03, 1 04-1 05, 1 23, 1 41 , 148, 1 54,
158, 293n1 6
translational dissociation, 220-22,
223, 236, 264
Trezeguet, David, 107
UCLA, see California, University of,
at Los Angeles (UCLA)
Uddin, Lucina: fRI self-recognition
experiment of, 1 41 -47; TMS self­
recognition experiment of,
148-52
Umilta, Alessandra, 28, 30
University College (London) , 1 70
urban myths, 5 1 -52
ventral striatum, 224
verbal overshadowing, 221
Verdi, Giuseppe, 1 8
video games, 204-205
}
¡
§
I N 0 E X
violence. 268-69; free will and.
209-14. 269; media and. 7.
204-1 3
visual cortex. 1 95
visual fxation. 1 77 -79
visual neurophysiology. 20
visual perceptive feld. 1 5 -1 6
visuospatial attention. 2 1
Voldemort. Lord (char. ) . 7 2
Wapner. Seymour. 67-68
Washington University. 252
Weeks. Jane. 1 70-7 1
Weizmann Institute. 1 94-95
West Coast series (split-brain proce­
dures) . 142
Whiten. Andrew. 1 73
Wo's Afaid of Virginia Woolf? 1 78
Williams. Justin. 1 73. 293n1 6
Wilson. Stephen. 1 04
Wisconsin. University of. 93
Wittgenstein. Ludwig. 261 . 262
Wohlschlager. Andreas. 67
Woods. Roger. 1 89-90
World Cup. 1 06-1 08. 1 7 7
Yale Child Study Center. 1 7 7
Yale University. 1 03
Zaidel. Dahlia. 1 42-43
Zaidel. Eran. 1 41 -43. 1 44
ZaUer. John. 246-47
Zantop. Half. 204
Zantop. Susan. 204
Zidane. Zinedine. 1 06-1 08

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