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The mirror-neuron system

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Presentation on theme: "The mirror-neuron system"— Presentation transcript:

1 The mirror-neuron system
Interdisciplinary project

2 Table of contents 1. Introduction and basic explanation of mirron-neurons 2. Neuroscience aspect of the mirror-neurons Two various aspects telling us where are the mirror-neurons Converting incoming sensory information into actions Mirror-neurons & social brain development Visual and auditory responses of a mirror neuron Multimodality of the mirror-neuron system Imitating The anatomy of autism 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Few more informations about mirror-neurons in psychological aspect Epmathy Language Human self awareness Learning facilitation Autism 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Discoveries about mirror neurons in AI Hypothesis of cognitive functions Possible usage of mirror neurons in AI A few possibilites related to imitating actions AI empathy Summary References

3 1.Introduction and basic explanation of mirror-neurons
Mirror neurons are a particular class of visuomotor neurons, originally discovered in area F5 of the monkey premotor cortex, that discharge both when the monkey does a particular action and when it observes another individual (monkey or human) doing a similar action. However there are no studies in which single neurons were recorded from the putative mirror-neuron areas in humans. Thus, direct evidence for the existence of mirror neurons in humans is lacking. But on the other hand there is a rich amount of data proving, indirectly, that a mirror-neuron system does exist in humans. Evidence of this comes from neurophysiological and brain-imaging experiments.

4 1.Introduction and basic explanation of mirror-neurons
Through electrophysiological studies Mukamel et al. provided evidence of the existence of a mirror neuron system in humans in This system is still largely unknown, but expected to be similar to the one found in monkeys. Mirror neurons presumably exist in numerous regions of the human brain. Some scientists believe that mirror neurons constitute the basis for speech development in humans. This hypothesis is still very controversial.

5 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons First aspects telling us where are the mirror-neurons
A fundamental concept is that the mirroring behavior is activated in relation to a stimulus outside the self, which means, in relationship to another. It is believed that this type of pre- motor neurons could be located in those parts of the brain that respond to: sensory-motor stimuli - visual, olfactory tactile auditory gustatory

6 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Second aspect telling us where are the mirror-neurons
Brain imaging experiments provide evidence for the following resemblances in areas in monkey and human: Broca‘s area (Broadmann area 44(yellow) which is considered to be devoted to speech production) which is equivalent to area F5 in monkey’s brain. One of experiments showed that during the observation the hand grasping there was an activation of the left superior temporal sulcus, the rostral part of the left inferior parietal lobule (area 40)(green) 40 44

7 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Converting incoming sensory information into actions
All of the sensory information through which we are able to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, and to touch; and of course all of the cognitive information. Processing so many kinds of information requires many types of neurons. There may be as many as 10,000 types of them but we are intersted in mirror- neurons and process flow from getting information to execute them (imitate which is described a few slides further)

8 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Mirror-neurons & social brain development
Empathic harmony between tho people is related to newborn human being and mother relations to adapt their behawior, sounds and gestures „70% of language is interpreting nonverbal communication. Emotion and experience-sharing are the glue that bonds relationships and promote reciprocal communication”(A reflection on mirror-neurons and why they are so important todevelopment,

9 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Visual and auditory responses of a mirror neuron
Voxels significantly activated by audition of actions of the specific effector and execution of similar actions with the same effector. „(A) Mirror activations rendered on the mean anatomical image of the 16 subjects with a transparency of 30 mm. Red voxels were active during listening and execution of hand actions, yellow voxels were active during listening and execution of mouth actions, and orange voxels were active for both effectors. All these areas are significant even if a false discovery-rate correction for multiple comparisons.”(Current Biology 16,p.1825, Empathy and the Somatotopic Auditory Mirror System in Humans September 19, 2006) (B) and C is less important for us, but we are intrested in (D) The audio-visual mirror system. The auditory mirror system for hand actions as defined in (A) is shown in red, and its sectors responding also to the sight-of-hand are shown in black.

10 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Multimodality of the mirror-neuron system
Watching the activity of specific parts of the brain, we can easily deduce that the main role in imitation takes what we see(yellow indicates visual;B), second is what we hear (marked red;A). While hearing (in this example sound of clapping hands) is much more less than we see clapping hands. Thus the brain activity almost coincides at the same time when we hear and see clapping hands (except marked orange;F)

11 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons Imitating
Superior temporal sulcus neurons that are activated by the sight of moving hands and faces analyze the actions of others, take a part in imitation of observed actions. Activity in STS showing mirror properties. This activity was observed in two separate experiments comprising 12 subjects in the first experiment and 10 different subjects in the second experiment. Whereas the more posterior STS regions would provide a first level of matching between observation and execution I: imitation; MC: motor control; AO: action observation; OC: observation control.

12 2.Neuroscience aspect of mirror-neurons The anatomy of autism
People with autism show reduced mirror neuron activity in the inferior frontal gyrus, a part of the brain’s premotor cortex. Dysfunction of mirror neurons in the in the insula and anterior cingulate cortex may cause related symptoms, such as the absence of empathy and language difficulties. People with autism also have changes in the cerebellum and brain stem.

13 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Few more informations about mirror-neurons
Main idea of mirror neurons in psychological aspect consider that this system provides the physiological mechanism for the perception/action coupling. Some researchers also speculate that mirror systems may simulate observed actions while others relate mirror neurons to language abilities. In addition mirror neurons are the neural basis of the human capacity for emotions such as empathy. Mirror neurons may also have big influence in the learning proceses. There is also theory where mirror neurons may provide the neurological basis of human self-awareness

14 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Epmathy
Empathy in psychology is an ability to feel other people's mental states, the ability to accept their way of thinking and being able to look from their perspective of reality. Many researchers (Stephanie Preston, Frans de Waal, Jean Decety) have independently argued that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. Large number of experiments using , electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography have shown that certain brain regions were active when people experience some emotions (like happiness or pain) and also when they saw another person experiencing an emotion. Some researchers observed that the human mirror system does not only passively respond to the observation of actions but is also influenced by the mindset of the observer.

15 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Language
In humans, functional MRI studies have reported finding areas homologous to the monkey mirror neuron system in the inferior frontal cortex, close to Broca's area, one of the hypothesized language regions of the brain. This has led to suggestions that human language evolved from a gesture performance/understanding system implemented in mirror neurons.

16 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Language
Mirror neurons have been said to have the potential to provide a mechanism for action-understanding, imitation-learning, and the simulation of other people's behavior. The mirror neuron system seems to be inherently inadequate to play any role in syntax, given that this definitory property of human languages which is implemented in hierarchical recursive structure is flattened into linear sequences of phonemes making the recursive structure not accessible to sensory detection Further evidence for this link comes from a recent study in which the brain activity of two participants was measured using fMRI while they were gesturing words to each other using hand gestures with a game of charades – a modality that some have suggested might represent the evolutionary precursor of human language. Analysis of the data using Granger Causality revealed that the mirror-neuron system of the observer indeed reflects the pattern of activity in the motor system of the sender, supporting the idea that the motor concept associated with the words is indeed transmitted from one brain to another using the mirror system

17 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Human self awareness
V.S. Ramachandran has speculated that mirror neurons may provide the neurological basis of human self-awareness. He also speculated that these neurons can not only help simulate other people's behavior but can be turned 'inward'—as it were—to create second-order representations or meta-representations of your own earlier brain processes. The main point is that the two co-evolved, mutually enriching each other to create the mature representation of self that characterizes modern humans.

18 3.Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Learning facilitation
Another possible function of mirror neurons would be facilitation of learning. The mirror neurons code the concrete representation of the action, i.e., the representation that would be activated if the observer acted. This would allow us to simulate (to repeat internally) the observed action implicitly (in the brain) to collect our own motor programs of observed actions and to get ready to reproduce the actions later. Simply example is human infant imitating facial expressions: Due to this, the observer will produce the action explicitly (in his/her behavior) with agility and finesse. This happens due to associative learning processes. The more frequently a synaptic connection is activated, the stronger it becomes.

19 3. Psychological aspect of the mirror-neurons Autism
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Some researchers claim there is a link between mirror neuron deficiency and autism. EEG recordings from motor areas are suppressed when someone watches another person move, a signal that may relate to mirror neuron system. This suppression was less in children with autism. In 2008, Oberman et al. published a research paper that presented conflicting EEG evidence. Oberman and Ramachandran found typical mu-suppression for familiar stimuli, but not for unfamiliar stimuli, leading them to conclude that the mirror neuron system of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) was functional, but less sensitive than that of typical children.

20 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons

21 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Discoveries about mirror neurons in AI
Existence of mirror neurons may cause key discoveries in artificial agents and machines causing them to communicate with each other or with humans. AI agents can use imitation learning to survive or function in unknown environment. Moreover using mirror neurons, AI agents can learn actions without special programing (just watching and repeating it).

22 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Hypothesis of cognitive functions
As a relatively new and active research topic is hypothesized to mark higher levels cognitive functions. Although there are not much evidence that mirror neurons are necessary for this cognitive functions. We can assume that at least creating artificial agent with a mirror system is possible.

23 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Possible usage of mirror neurons in AI
Wiedermann FCA (Finite Cognitive Agent) models a robot that can „learn” using mirror neuron. His robot A is programed to grasp a mushroom while B is observing. After that robot B changes some of his data to perform a same action only by imitating A moves. This action related to imitating as same as facilitation. Threfore B „Learn” how to grasp it without programing him to do this.

24 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Possible usage of mirror neurons in AI
FCA model It is composed with set of finite perceptional- motor units (PMUs) and state wich translates posibly infinite stream of sensory and propiroceptive data delivered by perceptional part of PMUs into posibly infinite stream of motor data sent back to motor parts of PMUs

25 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons Possible usage of mirror neurons in AI
There is possibility to program moves of hand and arm e.g. : Power grasp: Precision pinch: Side grasp:

26 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons A few possibilites related to imitating actions First thing related to imitating actions could be learning to play on the guitar, robot observing human and auditory imitating based on recognizing sounds or visual and converting them to notes which can be easily used to learning for humans. I think that the part of this idea is a game Rocksmith®, based on program to adjusting difficulty of notes while playing on the guitar to accurate played notes(converting auditory stimuli in real time).

27 4. Artificial Intelligence aspect of the mirror-neurons AI empathy
A program based on empathy decision making was EM-1 (L.Mason 1998) but many things like consistency of its mind was far away from it was desired. „AI programs must not only reason with common sense about the world, but also about irrationally and with feeling, because every human being knows that to succeed in this world, logic is not enough.”(Human-Level AI Requires Compassionate Intelligence, Cindy L.Mason, 2008)

28 Summary Mirror neurons have a lot influence in our life at many levels of it (ability of learning, feelings such like empathy or compassion, our self awareness or even cumulative cultural evolution). Lacks or defects in mirror neurons system may cause disfunctions in our brain and body( autism, problems with mental representations and perception ). Discovery of mirror neurons system in future may give us answers for many questions in the fields of psychology and neurobiology. Due to that discovery we can understand our perception and the whole evolution process in the more detail way.

29 References of neuroscience aspect:
1. The Observation and Execution of Actions Share Motor and Somatosensory Voxels in all Tested Subjects: Single-Subject Analyses of Unsmoothed fMRI Data 2. Action in the Brain: Shared neural circuits for action observation and execution, Valeria Gazzola, Empathy and the Somatotopic Auditory Mirror System in Humans, Valeria Gazzola, Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Christian Keysers, On Being Moved: From mirror neurons to empathy, Stein Bråten, John Benjamins Publishing, 2007, p.75,77,95,

30 References of psyhological aspect:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

31 References of AI aspect:
1. Kopp S, Wachsmuth I, Bonaiuto J, Arbib M, Imitation in embodied communication – from monkey mirror neurons to artificial humans, w: Wachsmuth I., Lenzen M., Knoblich G. (red.), Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines, s , (dostęp: ) 2. Thil S., Considerations for a neuroscience-inspired approach to the design of artificial intelligent systems, w: Schmidhuber J., Thorisson K. R., Looks M., Artificial General Intelligence 4th International Conference, AGI 2011, Mountain View, CA, USA, August 3-6, 2011, Proceedings, s , (dostęp: 3. Maistros G., Hayes G., Towards an imitation system for learning robots, w: Vouros G. A., Panayiotopoulos T., Methods and Applications of Artificial Intelligence Third Helenic Conference on AI, SETN 2004, Samos, Greece, May 5-8, 2004, Proceedings, s. 246, , (dostęp:) hT7e2asC&pg=PA252&lpg=PA252&dq=mirror+neurons+artificial+intelligence&source=bl&ots=2EQEO5RVg3&sig=YFs6dSnynxD0dkSLZJBbFWWkdD4&hl=pl&sa=X&ei=dJTC VM6_BIqxaYargYgC&ved=0CGAQ6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q&f=false 4. Wiedermann J., Mirror neurons, embodied cognitive agents and imitation learning, “Computing and Informatics” 2003, Vol. 22, 5s. 45–559, (dostęp: ) 5. Human-Level AI Requires Compassionate Intelligence, Cindy L. Mason, 2008

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