A Revealing Reflection
Mirror neurons are providing stunning insights into everything from how we learn to walk to how we empathize with others
By David Dobbs
May 1, 2006
Sometime just before my second child was born, I read that if you stick your tongue out at a newborn, he will do the same. So in young Nicholas's first hours, even as my wife was still in the recovery room after 40 hours of labor and a C-section, I tried it. Holding the gooing, alert lad before me in my hands, I stuck my tongue out at him. He immediately returned the gesture, opening his mouth and subtly but distinctly moving his tongue. I hadn't slept in two days. I laughed till I cried.
I did not know it then, but Nick was showing off what some consider one of the greatest drivers of human progress and one of the prime discoveries in recent neuroscience: mirror neurons. These neurons are scattered throughout key parts of our brain--the premotor cortex and centers for language, empathy and pain--and fire not only as we perform a certain action but also when we watch someone else perform that action....continued at Scientific American Digital
Original source: http://www.sciammind.com