What is the functional significance of mirror neurons? Contrasting the adaptation and association models of the mirror neuron system

Project: Research

Project Description

Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when an action is performed and when that same action is observed. They have typically been regarded as arising from evolutionary processes and therefore adaptive. It is thought that mirror neurons underlie empathy and social understanding, and that their dysfunction causes autism. A recent alternative model, however, suggests that mirror neurons instead arise from repeated associations between visual perception and behaviour. This study will use cutting-edge brain stimulation and neuroimaging techniques to compare the adaptation and association models of the mirror neuron system, thereby elucidating the functional significance of mirror neurons.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/01/1231/03/14

Funding

  • Australian Research Council (ARC): AUD155,000.00
  • Monash University