An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology. In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain. Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation—a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds? The Myth of Mirror Neurons not only delivers an instructive tale about the course of scientific progress—from discovery to theory to revision—but also provides deep insights into the organization and function of the human brain and the nature of communication and cognition.
The discovery of mirror neurons caused a revolution in neuroscience and psychology. Nevertheless, because of their profound impact within life sciences, mirror neuron are still the subject of numerous debates concerning their origins and their functions. With more than 20 years of research in this area, it is timely to synthesise the expanding literature on this topic. New Frontiers in Mirror Neurons provides a comprehensive overview of the latest advances in mirror neurons research - accessible both to experts and to non-experts. In the book, leading scholars draw on the latest research to examine methodological approaches, theoretical implications, and the latest findings on mirror neurons research. A broad range of topics are covered within the book: basic findings and new concepts in action-perception theory, functional properties and evolution, development, and clinical implications. In particular, the last two sections of the book outline the importance of the plasticity and development of the mirror neuron system. This knowledge will be key in future research for helping us understand possible disorders associated with impairments in the mirror neurons system, as well as in helping us design new therapeutic tools for interventions within the field of neurodevelopmental disorders and in neurorehabilitation. New Frontiers in Mirror Neurons is an exciting new work for neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers of mind.
Great Myths of the Brain introduces readers to the fieldof neuroscience by examining popular myths about the humanbrain. Explores commonly-held myths of the brain through the lens ofscientific research, backing up claims with studies and otherevidence from the literature Looks at enduring myths such as “Do we only use 10% ofour brain?”, “Pregnant women lose their mind”,“Right-brained people are more creative” and manymore. Delves into myths relating to specific brain disorders,including epilepsy, autism, dementia, and others Written engagingly and accessibly for students and lay readersalike, providing a unique introduction to the study of thebrain Teaches readers how to spot neuro hype and neuro-nonsenseclaims in the media
The Contracts of Fiction reconnects our fictional worlds to the rest of our lives. Countering the contemporary tendency to dismiss works of imagination as enjoyable but epistemologically inert, the book considers how various kinds of fictions construct, guide, and challenge institutional relationships within social groups. The contracts of fiction, like the contracts of language, law, kinship, and money, describe the rules by which members of a group toggle between tokens and types, between their material surroundings - the stuff of daily life - and the abstractions that give it value. Rethinking some familiar literary concepts such as genre and style from the perspective of recent work in the biological, cognitive, and brain sciences, the book displays how fictions engage bodies and minds in ways that help societies balance continuity and adaptability. Being part of a community means sharing the ways its members use stories, pictures, plays and movies, poems and songs, icons and relics, to generate usable knowledge about the people, objects, beliefs and values in their environment. Exposing the underlying structural and processing homologies among works of imagination and life processes such as metabolism and memory, Ellen Spolsky demonstrates the seamless connection of life to art by revealing the surprising dependence of both on disorder, imbalance, and uncertainty. In early modern London, for example, reformed religion, expanding trade, and changed demographics made the obsolescent courts a source of serious inequities. Just at that time, however, a flood of wildly popular revenge tragedies, such as Hamlet, by their very form, by their outrageous theatrical grotesques, were shouting the need for change in the justice system. A sustained discussion of the genre illustrates how biological homeostasis underpins the social balance that we maintain with difficulty, and how disorder itself incubates new understanding.
Fifty years after his death, C. S. Lewis fascinates his readers still. Well established as a key figure in children's literature he is increasingly recognized as a significant Christian thinker. The authors in this volume are from a wide range of Christian traditions--testimony to the reach and significance of Lewis's legacy. The essays return to Lewis's devotional and theological works, assessing their place in his own thought and in the theology of the twentieth century. Lewis emerges as an insightful and creative theologian whose ideas continue to surprise in their sophistication and fecundity. Indeed, it is suggested that he represents a way of doing theology--"mere theology"--which suggests ways in which Christian thought may reengage the complex cultural debates of the contemporary world.
The emergence of language, social intelligence, and tool development are what made homo sapiens sapiens differentiate itself from all other biological species in the world. The use of language and the management of social and instrumental skills imply an awareness of intention and the consideration that one faces another individual with an attitude analogical to that of one's own. The metaphor of 'mirror' aptly comes to mind.Recent investigations have shown that the human ability to 'mirror' other's actions originates in the brain at a much deeper level than phenomenal awareness. A new class of neurons has been discovered in the premotor area of the monkey brain: 'mirror neurons'. Quite remarkably, they are tuned to fire to the enaction as well as observation of specific classes of behavior: fine manual actions and actions performed by mouth. They become activated independent of the agent, be it the self or a third person whose action is observed. The activation in mirror neurons is automatic and binds the observation and enaction of some behavior by the self or by the observed other. The peculiar first-to-third-person 'intersubjectivity' of the performance of mirror neurons and their surprising complementarity to the functioning of strategic communicative face-to-face (first-to-second person) interaction may shed new light on the functional architecture of conscious vs. unconscious mental processes and the relationship between behavioral and communicative action in monkeys, primates, and humans. The present volume discusses the nature of mirror neurons as presented by the research team of Prof. Giacomo Rizzolatti (University of Parma), who originally discovered them, and the implications to our understanding of the evolution of brain, mind and communicative interaction in non-human primates and man.(Series B)
Since the days of the first primitive tribes, we have tried to determine why one man is good and another evil. Mark Matousek arrives at the answer in Ethical Wisdom. Contrary to what we've been taught in our reason-obsessed culture, emotions are the bedrock of ethical life; without them, human beings cannot be empathic, moral or good. But how do we make the judgement call between self-interest and caring for others? What does being good really mean? Which parts of morality are biological, which ethical? When should instinct be trusted and when does it lead us into trouble? How can we know ourselves to be good amidst the hypocrisy, fears and sabotaging appetites that pervade our two-sided natures? Drawing on the latest scientific research and interviews with social scientists, spiritual leaders, ex-cons, altruists and philosophers, Matousek examines morality from a scientific, sociological, and anthropological standpoint. Each chapter features a series of questions, readings, interviews, parables and anecdotes that zoom in on a particular niche of moral enquiry, making this book both utilitarian and fun. Ethical Wisdom is an insightful and important book for readers crisscrossing their own murky moral terrain.
This book supplements the historical novel titled Future of God Amen; it reveals how man first conceived one- universal God. Within this novel the author provides his personal thoughts about the Egyptian God Amen and his influence on the development of the Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions.
An orientation to affective neuroscience as it relates to educators. In this ground-breaking collection, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang—an affective neuroscientist, human development psychologist, and former public school teacher—presents a decade of work with the potential to revolutionize educational theory and practice by deeply enriching our understanding of the complex connection between emotion and learning. With her signature talent for explaining and interpreting neuroscientific findings in practical, teacher-relevant terms, Immordino-Yang offers two simple but profound ideas: first, that emotions are such powerful motivators of learning because they activate brain mechanisms that originally evolved to manage our basic survival; and second, that meaningful thinking and learning are inherently emotional, because we only think deeply about things we care about. Together, these insights suggest that in order to motivate students for academic learning, produce deep understanding, and ensure the transfer of educational experiences into real-world skills and careers, educators must find ways to leverage the emotional aspects of learning. Immordino-Yang has both the gift for captivating readers with her research and the ability to connect this research to everyday learning and teaching. She examines true stories of learning success with relentless curiosity and an illuminating mixture of the scientific and the human. What are feelings, and how does the brain support them? What role do feelings play in the brain's learning process? This book unpacks these crucial questions and many more, including the neurobiological, developmental, and evolutionary origins of creativity, facts and myths about mirror neurons, and how the perspective of social and affective neuroscience can inform the design of learning technologies.
John C Marshall is one of the most influential neuropsychologists of his generation. His impact on the development of cognitive neuropsychology has been pivotal, particularly in the neuropsychology of language. This Festschrift in his honour brings together contributions from his colleagues and friends to celebrate this contribution and presents a comprehensive survey of contemporary and historical issues concerned with The Representation of Language in the Brain. There are contributions on reading, naming, syntax, comprehension, foreign accent syndrome, progressive aphasia, the history of aphasia, treatment, the evolution of language, calculation and embodied cognition. The content reflects John's own interests in language and aphasia, and it is therefore no wonder that it also reflects current and central issues in the neuropsychology of language.