Sunday, March 06, 2011

Mirror Neurons and the Domino Effect

No, not that domino effect. I'm referring to the scientific phenomenon of one groundbreaking work that topples the conventional wisdom about a topic. Not only that, it also leads to a burst in research on that area--a pattern similar to that in the adoption of innovation. Tversky and Kahmneman did it. Lakoff and Johnson did it. And in 1992, Rizzolati did it--with the discovery of mirror neurons. Here's an overview of the research spawned by the mirror neuron discovery. Particularly interesting to me is the research on mimicry, which could explain a lot of the conformity research in social psychology:
Mimicry, linked to mirror neurons, makes monkeys bond. The idea that mimicry helps humans bond is well-accepted, but the first controlled experiment, with a monkey, came last year, Ferrari says. In that study, reported in Science, his team presented monkeys with a token and rewarded them with treats if they returned it. The monkeys had a choice of returning the token to either of two investigators, only one of whom was imitating the monkey. The monkeys consistently chose to return the token to the person who imitated them and spent more time near that investigator.


Blogger Alan Anderson said...

Dear Intelligent Life, I would like to hear your thoughts on "green" energy and the potential role of nuclear power. Please post something about this!

12:28 AM  
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6:41 PM  

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