Thursday, August 13, 2009

Evidence of Mirror Neurons in Human Inferior Frontal Gyrus

That's Broca's area. Mirror neurons may indeed play an important part in second language acquisition. Mirror neurons are supposed to be all about observation and imitation. Interhemispheric foreign language learning


"There is much current debate about the existence of mirror neurons in humans. To identify mirror neurons in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) of humans, we used a repetition suppression paradigm while measuring neural activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects either executed or observed a series of actions. Here we show that in the IFG, responses were suppressed both when an executed action was followed by the same rather than a different observed action and when an observed action was followed by the same rather than a different executed action. This pattern of responses is consistent with that predicted by mirror neurons and is evidence of mirror neurons in the human IFG. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2668-09.2009"

link


First Evidence Found of Mirror Neuron’s Role in Language

"...the findings suggest that mirror neurons play a key role in the mental "re-enactment" of actions when linguistic descriptions of those actions are conceptually processed."

2 comments:

Keith said...

Reineke, could you explain what it means?

reineke said...

Hi Keith

Mirror neurons are a controversial topic. I have provided the abstract of a new study that claims to have identified mirror neurons in the human brain. My thanks to the "Talking Brains".

"A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another animal (especially by another animal of the same species). Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of another animal, as though the observer were itself acting. These neurons have been directly observed in primates, and are believed to exist in humans and other species including birds...

In humans, functional MRI studies reported that areas homologous to the monkey mirror neuron system have been found 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. 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 behaviour."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron

Mirror neurons in songbirds fire when a bird sings or hears another bird singing a song.

I have also linked to a study that tries to explain what happens in the human brain when we're reading.

"When we read a book, these specialized cells respond as if we are actually doing what the book character was doing.

For example, when individuals read literal phrases such as "biting the peach" or "grasping a pen," certain cortical areas were activated that were also stimulated when the same participants later viewed videos of fruit being bitten or a pen being grasped. Together, the findings suggest that mirror neurons play a key role in the mental "re-enactment" of actions when linguistic descriptions of those actions are conceptually processed."

Mirror neurons are also (supposedly) responsible for empathy and empathy among other things is what "draws us in" when we're reading a book or watching a movie. We identify with the character etc.

Interhemispheric foreign language learning is an experimental method based on the mirror neuron theory. It seems very basic and vocabulary-based.