Mirror neurons have been hailed by scientists as the most significant finding in neurology in the past decade, the key to understanding the secrets of human interaction and learning, and as significant to psychology as DNA is to biology. Mirror neurons are a newly-discovered structure of the brain responsible for the firing of neurons during both physical movement and the observation of physical movement. It is these firings during observation of movements that has scientists excited about their relation to learning and interaction. While mirror neurons have been found in both primates and humans, their role in terms of learning and perfecting motor skills is still unclear.
Mindreading is defined as the ability to “make sense of other people and to coordinate our behavior with theirs” (Bermudez, 354). Many cognitive scientists believe the theory of mind mechanism (TOMM) is important to mindreading. These scientists contend that autistic individuals suffer from an impairment to this theory of mind module. However, others have argued that theory of mind, which is “the ability to form beliefs about the mental states of others”, is not a modular ability, but instead the result of the interaction of many different cognitive skills. In their paper “Generous or Parsimonious Cognitive Architecture? Cognitive Neuroscience and Theory of Mind,” Philip Gerrans and Valerie E. Stone take this view of theory of mind. I will review this paper and its arguments, then address the response to Gerrans and Stone made by Carl Hildebrand.
“A wealth of new brain research is lifting the veil” on Autism and revealing its effects on a child`s mind (Cray and Wallis 43). Neuroscientist Eric Courchesne at Children`s Hospital of San Diego revealed that “while children with autism are born with ordinary-size brains, they experience a rapid expansion by age two” (Cray and Wallis 45). Much of this growth is due to the excessive amount of white matter, the nerve fibers that link various areas of the brain. The abundance of white matter has doctors convinced that Autism is a problem with the way the brain is wired. Marcel Just, director of Carnegie Mellon`s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wrote that “there is a lack of synchronization” between the different areas of the brain (Cray and Wallis 46). Local areas of the brain, such as the frontal lobes and the amygdala, are over-connected while links between more distant regions, such as the right and left hemispheres, are poorly connected. One area of the
I learned how to best aid the development of some children with autism, especially Lawrence, who now can leverage his savant abilities to better interact with others. However, as I pored over articles and textbooks, I realized that I had not even scratched the surface of the physiological and psychological elements of the brain. Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences offers numerous opportunities to pursue my passion and I am thrilled at the prospect of exploring
Synesthesia is a neurologically induced phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sense causes an individual to also experience a reaction from another sense. For example, a person affected by the aforementioned condition might experience tactile information when they see other people receiving it firsthand or they might associate certain numbers with a particular smell, color, or taste. Some recent work done by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and coworkers (2005) show us that a phenomenon known more specifically as mirror-touch synesthesia is heavily influenced by the activity of mirror neurons that fire not only when a certain stimulus is perceived by an individual but also when they see another individual perform the action too.
4.Hegarty, S. (2011, December 05). What phantom limbs and mirrors teach us about the brain. Retrieved February 25, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15938103
The recent discovery of mirror neurons was accidently noticed by Italian neuroscientists who were working with monkeys to study certain areas of the brain that operated cognitive movements. Upon this discovery, it was determined that there is an abundance of previously unknown cells within the brain that work to consciously or unconsciously detect emotions of others through their actions and behaviours, which we in turn mirror by mimicking those exact emotions. It is believed that this
This weeks reading discussed the brain and many complicated factors that go along with it. The brain has been an important area of study for decades and there are many different perspectives when it comes to how it works. Brain imaging, like what is discussed in the reading provided by Dr. Gordon Rose entitled "Postcards From the Brain" has shown us more information about how the brain works, but it has also led to many perspectives related to how consciousness works, and hard versus easy problems in the brain. It debates whether hard problems even exist. Furthermore, the reading provided, also describes language in a baby's brain, how mimicry works, and disorders throughout human development. These sections all involve slightly different perspectives when it comes to how our mind works.
Current research attempts to find neurobiological or genetic evidence as possible sources for ASD. Within the research and medical communities, there are disagreements as to which characteristics define an individual as having a condition within ASD. For example, the changes within the 4th and 5th editions of the American Psychiatric Association DSM, removes Asperger’s Syndrome as a condition, causing much controversy. It is this controversy about Asperger’s Syndrome significance that this review hopes to elucidate.
How does activity in certain brain regions affect neurodevelopment disorders? In the journal article “Functional Network Connectivity: Possible Biomarker for Autism Disorders (ASD)”, this question is tested using certain experiments on the brain to see how activity throughout the lobes correlate with autism. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction and communication often impairing individuals for a lifetime. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is one type of tool to image the brain connections by measuring the magnetic fields generated by the brain's neurons. This method was used both to a group of people with autism (ASD) and a control group of people that do not have ASD during the
Sure, some of us have this great confidence within ourselves about looking great, but that does not hold true for everyone. I understand the pain or disgust, or even disappointment one feels when they look in the mirror and say, “I wish I could change this or that about myself”. Although this piece is written about the author’s life, it holds meaning and connects with for many people; one only has to dig deep enough to find one. For me, it was to realize what is important in life can change, adapt and that we must explore our inner selves and find our own path in life.
Mirror neurons are important because it can allow a child to develop a symbiotic relationship with their caregiver and it teaches them social interactions with other humans. People learn through seeing and practicing what they seen another person do. The child learns social cues and interactions from their caregiver and a bond is formed between them. From the infant stage, a child often mimics the expressions of certain moods such as smiling if they see their mother smiling. However, if a child does not engage in this imitation or develop that relationship with their caregiver, it will be more difficult for it to develop in the future. In some cases, it is possible that it may never develop. This means that the person will have a difficult time forming emotional attachments to other people, especially their caregiver. When developing a treatment plan for Robert, Dr. Perry had recommended medication, but Mama P refused to “drug up” her baby. Mama P insisted that Robert needed “people to be loving and kind to him.” Mama P held and rocked Robert whenever he had an emotional episode and it soothed him. Originally, Dr. Perry thought that this type of care infantilized him, but it was the type of care that Robert never received before. Robert never received loving or comforting when he was stressed, so the actual physical act of nurturing was able to calm him. It was apparent to Dr. Perry that this type of care was effective to abused or neglected children when Mama P treated
2009). They admit that savantism is not a universal feature of autism but claim that excellent attention to detail is. According to them, the ability to systemise requires great attention to detail, therefore, the two are closely linked together. As systemising is a common characteristic in autism, it can be said that, in a way, autistic individuals become experts when it comes to distinguishing and recognising repetitive patterns in various stimuli. They feel the need to analyse or construct systems which can only be achieved by systemising, as it helps to explain how a certain system works. There are many different kinds of systems, the major ones being mechanical, social, numerical, motoric, abstract (musical notation and/or language syntax) etc (Baron-Cohen et al.
I do believe that animals can communicate. Animals have an innate ability to communicate, though not in the same way as humans. I believe that animals ability to communicate and understand what is going on around them is essential for their survival. Because animals do not behave and talk like humans does not mean they cannot express themselves or figure things out. Although we can’t understand what animals are saying, we know they are communicating with each other and the world around them.
Symptoms typically are apparent before children turn 3 years old. (7). When individuals are born as an identical twin or have first degree relatives who have autism, they are automatically at a higher risk for developing it themselves. Other risk factors include immune dysregulation, altered short chain fatty acids, genetic mutations involving the metabolism of vitamin D, infections, teratogens, or antibodies maternally. For every 68 boys who are born, 1 will likely have autism, as boys are about five times more likely to present with autism than girls are. (3). When the brains of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder are studied and compared with those who do not have the disorder, there are obvious differences. In the Autism Spectrum Disorder brain, there are alterations to the striatal circuits, a dysfunction in canonical neural circuits, and an abnormal basal ganglion connectivity. These striatal dysfunctions of the brain are evidence as to why abnormal behaviors occur in autistic patients (repetitive grooming, stereotypic motor routines, and deficits in social interaction and decision-making). There may even be evidence that links genetics to these specific neural circuits. (8). When MRI’s are taken on young autistic patients, the hyperplasia of their cerebral cortex can often be seen. Because the frontal and temporal lobes are important for social functioning and language development, these anatomical anomalies are likely to underlie the pathophysiology of autism.