A Philosopher’s Reflections on the Discovery of Mirror Neurons

Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (3):570-595 (2009)

Pierre Jacob
Institut Jean Nicod
Mirror neurons fire both when a primate executes a transitive action directed toward a target (e.g., grasping) and when he observes the same action performed by another. According to the prevalent interpretation, action-mirroring is a process of interpersonal neural similarity whereby an observer maps the agent's perceived movements onto her own motor repertoire. Furthermore, ever since Gallese and Goldman's (1998) influential paper, action-mirroring has been linked to third-person mindreading on the grounds that it enables an observer to represent the agent's intention. In this paper, I criticize the prevalent interpretation on two grounds. First, action-mirroring could not result in interpersonal neural similarity unless there was a single mechanism active at different times in a single brain during the execution and the perception of acts of grasping. Second, such a neural mechanism is better conceived as underlying the possession of the concept of grasping than as a basis for mindreading
Keywords Action‐mirroring  Embodied cognition  Tuning‐fork model of social cognition  Simulation  Third‐person mindreading  Understanding goal‐directed action
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DOI 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2009.01040.x
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References found in this work BETA

How the Body Shapes the Mind.Shaun Gallagher - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

How From Action-Mirroring to Intention-Ascription?Pierre Jacob - 2013 - Consciousness and Cognition 22 (3):1132-1141.

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