From Psychology Today:
Back in the 1990s neuroscientists at the University of Parma identified cells in the premotor cortex of monkeys that had an unusual response pattern. They were activated when the monkeys performed a given action and, mirror-like, when they saw another individual perform that same movement. Since then, the precise function and influence of these neurons has become perhaps the most hyped topic in neuroscience…Gregory Hickok at the University of California Irvine thinks the function of mirror neurons is not about understanding others’ actions per se, but about using others actions’ in the process of making our own choice of how to act. Seen this way, mirror neuron activity is just as likely a consequence of action understanding, as a cause.

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