" I predict that mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology."
- Vilayanur Ramachandran
I am intrigued by the discovery of mirror neurons in neuroscience, and have been inspired by neuroscience in my art practice for some time.
In our brains the mirror neurons related to a certain motor function or movement will fire, not only when we bend our own knee, for example, but also when we are watching somebody else bend their knee, or when we imagine bending our own knee.
This is due to mirror neurons, and is ultimately how we are able to retrain our brains from injury, and also how we learn things in the first place. However the reason we don't physically feel the movement in others, when our mirror neurons are firing, is because of our sensory receptors in our skin tell us that we aren't physically moving.
What I find fascinating is that mirror neurons are also responsible for the development of human beings as a species. Without the ability to 'feel' what others are 'feeling', we wouldn't have evolved language, be able to the read emotions and intentions of others, have empathy and the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, or the skill of being able to learn from others by watching or listening to them.