Mirror Neurons Can Be Management Tools

April 2008
by Carol Kinsey Goman

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Mirror Neurons Can Be Management Tools

by Carol Kinsey Goman

Nonverbal communication has been the subject of extensive research over the past several years, and one of the most interesting recent findings came from a laboratory in Italy where scientists were studying the brain cells of macaque monkeys.

Researchers had confirmed that when a monkey performs a single highly specific hand action, neurons in the motor cortex are very active. For example, every time a monkey reached for a peanut, certain cells on either side of its brain “fired,” creating a buzzing sound that was detectable by highly sophisticated monitoring equipment.

One day a monkey wired up for such an experiment happened to see a human grab a peanut. Much to the researchers’ surprise, the same neurons fired in the same way. In terms of motor-cell activity, the monkey’s brain could not tell the difference between actually doing something and seeing it done. Because the cells reflected the actions that the monkey observed in others, the neuroscientists named them mirror neurons.

Later experiments confirmed the existence of mirror neurons in humans within a system of neurons that allows the brain to perform its highest tasks, including learning and imitating. But the research revealed another…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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