Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Mirror Neurons Jessica Nyberg, B.S..

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Mirror Neurons Jessica Nyberg, B.S.."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mirror Neurons Jessica Nyberg, B.S.

2 For Your Viewing Pleasure

3 What is a Mirror Neuron? A specialized cell in the brain

4 Motor Associations Subset of Motor Neurons
“Fire” when a motor action is performed Motor Templates for every action Practice makes perfect (well reinforced motor templates) Different groups fire for different actions = coding of actions

5 Imitative Associations
These same neurons that fire while performing an action, fire while WATCHING the action as well Why are motor neurons firing if there’s no motor movement? Answer: MIRROR NEURONS Mirror Neurons internally imitate what you see Mirror Neurons build motor templates by watching others perform actions

6 Baby Mirrors Mirror neurons are active in as young as 41 minute-old babies Imitation of simple facial expressions Motor Template building begins with infant & caregiver Expressions, gestures, and later speech sounds

7 Baby Mirrors in Action

8 Mirror Neurons are Well Connected
Connecting Senses Fire when doing, watching, or hearing an action Connecting Emotions Same neurons that fire when we are in pain fire when we watch someone in pain Which is why we can “feel” their pain when we see this…

9 It hurts just to look!

10 Mirror Neurons are Well Connected
Connecting Emotions Continued Mirror Neuron activity is correlated to testing scores of empathy Internal imitation (thank you mirror neurons) of what someone is going through triggers the same emotional response

11 Why is the hand reaching for the cup?

12 Coding Intentions of Others
Different groups of mirror neurons fire for each picture Mirror neurons take CONTEXT CLUES into account Internal motor imitation + context clues= reading the intentions or motives of others Picture #1: “drinking” neurons fired Picture #2: “cleaning” neurons fired

13 Mirror Neurons & Social Associations
Imitation plays a major role in social interactions Body language Facial expressions Syntactic use (what we say & how we say it) There’s a reason why we do this Research shows an association between imitating & “liking” someone

14 Mirror Neurons & Social Associations
We learn & use imitative behaviors to control conversations Making eye contact= your turn to talk Looking at watch= I need to leave Being able to internally imitate others  we “feel” what they are feeling  understand intentions & motives through contextual cues= we respond compassionately and appropriately

15 Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Through our understanding of typical mirror neuron activity, we believe they play a role in: Imitation abilities Emotional recognition Social cognition What would broken mirrors look like? Autism

16 Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
fMRI scans looking at neural activity during imitation & observation of facial expressions of children with high-functioning autism compared to typically developing peers

17 Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
EEG studies looking at mu wave suppression Typical individuals have mu wave suppression while they perform an action and while they watch an action performed by someone else Individuals with ASD have mu wave suppression while performing an action but NOT while watching someone else perform an action

18 Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Delayed activation & overall lower activity levels of MNs in patients with autism Clear correlation between MN activity & severity level of ASD Lack of eye contact plays a role with children not making associations between their movement & the movement of others imitating them MN templates cannot be shaped or reinforced

19 Mirror Neuron Dysfunction and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Treatment Experiments: Imitation Therapy Children being imitated by an adult demonstrated much more “social behavior” and reciprocal play vs. children who were only playing with an adult

20 References Dapretto, M., Davies, M.S., Pfeifer, J.H., Scott, A.A., Sigman, M., Bookheimer, S.Y., and Iacoboni, M. (2006). Understanding emotions in others: mirror neuron dysfuntion in children with autism spectrum disorders. Nature Neuroscience, 9, Iacoboni, M. (2008). Mirroring people: The new science of how we connect with others. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Iacoboni, M., and Dapretto, M. (2006) The mirror neuron system and the consequences of its dysfunction. Nature Publishing Group, 7, Oberman, L., Ramachandran, V. (2007). The Simulating Social Mind: The role of the mirror neuron system and simulation in the social and communicative deficits of autism spectrum disorders. Psychological Bulletin, 133, Ramachandran, V., Oberman, L. (2007). Broken Mirrors: A theory of autism. Scientific American- Special Edition Child Development, 17,

Download ppt "Mirror Neurons Jessica Nyberg, B.S.."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google