Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Marco Iacoboni. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others. [L3]

Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008. Print.

[Edit to add: 7/1/2011] I read this one on my Kindle. Here are my highlights and notes (note: I did far more highlighting as I read this one than I did note-taking.]

Iacoboni details the discovery and significance of mirror neurons in an accessible way, showing how parts of the brain come alive while we're performing certain tasks or experiencing emotions and how those same parts of the brain also come alive (though to a lesser extent) while we watch or think about someone else performing the same tasks or experiencing the same emotions. In this light, perception and action are combined. Follows the application of brain imaging techniques in various circumstances to assess how mirror neurons are activated (or not) and how they influence (or don't influence) human behavior in various circumstances: for instance, in our grasping the workings of other minds and the intentions behind others' actions, in the mother-infant relationship, in language development, in the development of empathy (the forging of understanding and connection between Self and Other), in imitative violence, in consumer choice, in politics, in the autistic brain. The workings of mirror neurons may provide a biological explanation for the relationship forged between performer and audience during a performance.

(Image source)