Essay on The Discovery Of Mirror Neurons

2082 Words Nov 29th, 2016 9 Pages
The discovery of mirror neurons remains extremely influential within neuroscience, specifically their role in higher-level cognitive empathic functions (Haker, Kawohl, Herwig, & Rossler, 2013). Previous research shows that mirror neurons activate when an action is both performed and observed. Additionally, this phenomenon transfers to emotional responses, showing activation when experiencing an emotion or observing it in other people (e.g. facial expressions, yawning, etc.) (Rizoolatti, Fogass, & Gallese, 2006). Associations also exist between unconscious mimicry (the chameleon effect) and the mirror neuron systems, showing the extent of these mechanisms (Iacoboni, 2009).
The widespread effects of stress, in addition to the involvement of both motor and emotional responses, create an interesting target for mimicry and mirror neuron research. There is a lack research regarding stress behaviors and mirroring, which inspired us to investigate any possible associations. Prior research has led us to questions such as: Do people mimic stress related behaviors such as fidgeting, tapping, or pacing? Do mirror neurons activate when observing these stress related behaviors? Are there similar brain activations when a person is feeling stressed compared to when they observe stress related behaviors? Furthermore, could mirror neurons and mimicry play a role in the spread of stress culture within colleges and universities?
In this proposal, we aim:
1) To determine whether people mimic…

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