Mirror neurons


“One who sees any fault in one’s friend, it is as though one is looking in the mirror. If one’s face is dirty, this is what one sees in the mirror. If one’s face is clean, one sees no faults in the mirror. As one is, so one sees. This is “Love thy friend as thyself.”

|-The Baal Shem Tov, “Light of the Eyes” – Chukot (“Ordinance of”)

The discovery of mirror neurons and of other mirroring mechanisms in the human brain shows that the very same neural substrates are activated when these expressive acts are both executed and perceived. Thus, we have a neurally instantiated we-centric space. This study posits that a common underlying functional mechanism—embodied simulation—mediates our capacity to share the meaning of actions, intentions, feelings, and emotions with others, thus grounding our identification with and connectedness to others. Social identification, empathy, and “we-ness” are the basic ground of our development and being.

Anytime we meet someone, we are implicitly aware of his or her similarity to us, because we literally embody it. The very same neural substrate activated when actions are executed or emotions and sensations are subjectively experienced, is also activated when the same actions, emotions, and sensations are executed or experienced by others. A common underlying functional mechanism—embodied simulation—mediates our capacity to share the meaning of actions, intentions, feelings, and emotions with others, thus grounding our identification with and connectedness to others.

This seems to suggest that our “grasping” of the meaning of the world doesn’t exclusively rely on the cognitive hermeneutic of its “visual representation” but is strongly influenced by action-related sensory-motor processes, that is, we rely on our own “embodied personal knowledge.” The monolithic character of perception must be refuted. There are different ways of perceiving others, only some of which enable the sense of connectedness that should be defined as “intentional attunement.”

Reference
__Gallese, V. (2009). Mirror neurons, embodied simulation, and the neural basis of social identification. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(5), 519-536. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10481880903231910?fbclid=IwAR2w4CleTr4aKhz5DZIm572gC6Vqf7nb1qCkreF7MrXfFcdcZLIgrwhZlH0


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