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A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primates, and are believed to occur in humans and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.
The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of macaques and their implications for human brain evolution is one of the most important findings of neuroscience in the last decade. Mirror neurons are active when the monkeys perform certain tasks, but they also fire when the monkeys watch someone else perform the same specific task. There is evidence that a similar observation/action matching system exists in humans. The mirror system is sometimes considered to represent a primitive version, or possibly a precursor in phylogeny, of a simulation heuristic that might underlie mindreading.
A recently discovered system in the brain may help explain why we humans can get so worked up watching other people.
Functions mediated by mirror neurons depend on the anatomy and physiological properties of the circuit in which these neurons are located. Actions studied in the initial mirror neuron studies were actions without an emotional content. Accordingly, activations were found in circuits related to motor action control (parieto-premotor circuits). Recent evidence suggests that the mirror mechanism is also involved in empathy, that is in the capacity of feeling the same emotions that others feel. In an fMRI experiment, participants were exposed, in one condition, to disgusting odorants and, in another, to short movie clips showing individuals displaying a facial expression of disgust. It was found that the exposure to disgusting odorants specifically activates the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate. Most interestingly, the observation of the facial expression of disgust activated the same sector of the anterior insula (Wicker et al. 2003). In close agreement with these findings are the data obtained in another fMRI experiment that showed activation of the anterior insula during the observation and imitation of facial expressions of basic emotions (Carr et al. 2003).
Originally posted by SeekerofTruth101
reply to post by woodwardjnr
Empathy is one thing.
Condoning of the suppressions, the murders of innocents on both sides is another thing.
When one wishes to embark on the journey of empathy, it must be made with full knowledge beforehand, and then will only the truth suface, for an empathical judgement be made.
That you used the taliban for empathy would have made more shake with revulsion at what they had done to their fellow innocent afghan innocent men, women and children throughout history, if not to other innocents in the world, enough to want to want to take up arms and destroy these animals.
Empathy is wisdom, wisdom derives from truth and reality, not manipulations.
Originally posted by woodwardjnr
Is empathy something that can only come with life experience? You have to of experienced the highs and the lows of life to really be able to try and identify with the feelings of others.
I think if we all had a little more empathy, we would be able to understand the problems in the world a little better and hopefully learn from them so we don't keep repeating the same problems.
For example. Try to empathize with an Afghan civillian or even a Taliban member. Try to put yourself in their position, what would you feel emotionally? Having armies from all over the world, invading your country and trying to change it. All you want to do is live and support your family, but you have foreign forces with high tech weapons in your country killing civillians and propping up a corrupt government.
This is just an example and not meant to be the rights and wrongs of the conflict. I just think if we all tried to empathize a little more we would have a better understanding of the problems in our world.
Originally posted by margaretr
I now live as a semi recluse because contact with stressed people makes me feel the same.
I have contact with close family and neighbours, but a trip out into the general population requires a few days of rest and sleep to recover.
When workmen were in my home for a few weeks earlier this year (sent by landlord), I was getting the physical symptoms of asthma and backstrain that one of them had.
Empathy can be a curse as well as a blessing.
Originally posted by woodwardjnr
Your confusing sympathy with empathy. I'm not asking you to have sympathy for the taliban, but seeing if you can understand how they feel, what makes them do the things they do, what drives people to join the taliban? What makes them carry out the actions they do? The fact you have labelled them as animals suggests you have fallen for the same trick used by those who want us to believe that our enemies are somehow not human, which makes it easier to kill them.