Wednesday musings, 11/9/16
Mirror neurons are neurons that light up when someone else performs an action. They were first discovered when researchers at UCLA observed neurons in the brain associated with movement lit up when monkeys were reaching for an object; some neurons in the monkey's brain also lit up when a person reached for the same object, suggesting the brain was processing the movement as though the monkey were performing it.
While the study of mirror neurons is still in its infancy, scientists speculate mirror neurons may be responsible for our ability to internalize the movements and emotional states of others.* From a movement perspective, this means if you are trying to learn how to perform a specific skill, watching high level performers on Instagram or Youtube perform the skill might help you during the learning process. Socially, mirror neurons may allow us to empathize and have compassion for others. We are social creatures with an incredible capacity to learn from those around us.
*Article in Scientific America can be found here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-mirror-neuron-revolut/