How mirror neurons allow us to send other people ‘good vibes’

I have long been interested in the relationship between mirror neurons and some behavioral disorders related to person-perception and the capacity for social relationships . I think the evidence is good that mirror neuron dysfunction plays a role in autistic spectrum disorders including Asperger syndrome. But, because of the mirror neuron system, smiles are literally … Continue reading How mirror neurons allow us to send other people ‘good vibes’

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Miss Seeing Your Face

I ran across this photo today (via plasticbag.org). Incidentally, I ran a psychotherapy group today  on my unit, in which I wonderedwhether the clientele were finding it difficult that that the lower half of everyone’s face is masked. I suggested they think about whether they were facing new challenges in reading the faces of the clinicians … Continue reading Miss Seeing Your Face

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The brain theory behind altruism

Researchers at Duke University have shown with functional MRI that the degree of activation of the posterior superior temporal sulcus [PSTS], a brain region activated when people observe others’ actions but not perform them themselves, correlated with personality ratings of subjects’ degree of altruism. (Hindustan Times ) This has some relationship to the ‘mirror neurons’ … Continue reading The brain theory behind altruism

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Brain patterns the same whether doing or just watching

“New findings from a Queen’s behavioural expert in eye/hand movement provide the first direct evidence that our brain patterns are similar whether we are actually doing something or simply watching someone else do it. It’s an insight that could have significant implications for the assessment of people with various movement disorders such as some stroke … Continue reading Brain patterns the same whether doing or just watching

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Emotion Gets Physical:

Misleadingly vague title for a very important finding. Preliminary observations of stroke patients with problems relating emotionally to others suggest that in order to feel empathy, people must be able to imitate the actions of others. In other words, to understand what others are feeling, you must put yourself physically in their shoes. Stroke can … Continue reading Emotion Gets Physical:

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Social Cognitive Neuroscience Goes Hollywood. Thanks to wood s lot for pointing to the American Psychological Association’s coverage of the recent first Social Cognitive Neuroscience conference in Hollywood; these are the people grappling with how minds and social environments are linked. Let me take this one step further, and recommend that you scroll down until … Continue reading

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“…(I)s there something about cinema that leads it to shy away from the spiritual? Some observers feel cinema is less than ideal for exploring religious or spiritual subjects.According to one argument, contemporary audiences expect so much spectacle, escapism, andstar power for their ticket money … that sky-high production costs lead studios to avoid anything toothoughtful … Continue reading

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Forget me not. Neuroscientists are pushing the envelope, even if the work remains reductionistic and inferential for now, of understanding the biological basis of social affiliation. Recall the posts below on mirror neurons in primates, and autistic subjects’ failure to use facial recognition circuitry in the brain in interpersonal perception. Now this elucidation of the … Continue reading

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V.S. Ramachandran: “The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of monkeys, and their potential relevance to human brain evolution — which I speculate on in this essay — is the single most important “unreported” (or at least, unpublicized) story of the decade. I predict that mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA … Continue reading

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The psychological impact of future facial masking

As Rachel Sugar writes in Vox, masks have become a way of life and, by almost all expert accounts, it is almost certain that the future will be masked. Especially with the economy ‘reopening’ and people spending more time in public settings, masking should increase. Apart from the physical discomforts (especially during stifling weather), the most … Continue reading The psychological impact of future facial masking

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Brain Protein Crucial to Depression Discovered

One of the vexing issues in understanding and treating depression is that, although antidepressant medications change the levels of neurotransmitters implicated in depression almost immediately, they do not have clinical effects for several weeks or even several months. Somehow, a change in serotonin levels, say, has to be accompanied by a change in the way … Continue reading Brain Protein Crucial to Depression Discovered

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