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Mirroring People: The New Science of How We…
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Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others

by Marco Iacoboni

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Mirror neurons are the part of our brain which allow is to interpret other’s emotions, predict their intentions when they begin an action, and probably enable our ability to communicate using language. In Mirroring People, Marco Iacoboni explains clearly and intelligently the cutting edge research on this fascinating part of our brain – research with which he was intimately involved. The basic premise of this work is that we use the same neurons to preform an action and when we watch other people perform an action. This lets us put ourselves in their shoes to better understand what they’re doing and why.

As soon as I started this book, I could tell it was going to be good. The author’s intelligence and enthusiasm were obvious from the tone of the writing. While mirror neurons weren’t a topic I was familiar with, I still had no trouble understanding the points the author made and quickly saw the exciting implications of his work. There were lots of cool tidbits about the way our brain work and some of them, such as the fun fact in the header, even have useful implications for our daily life. One of the few things I didn’t like about this book was the way research results were presented. The author frequently prefaced them with an explanation of what you’d expect, and than what you would expect to happen did happen. It felt a little anti-climatic. Fortunately, the author’s excitement and the interesting content kept pulling me further into the book any way.

One of my favorite things about the book was that the author seemed to respect his readers. While everything was explained clearly, nothing felt overly simplified for a popular audience. Past beliefs in the field of neuroscience were explained and where new results contradicted older beliefs, that was mentioned. When there was still some controversy over a result, the author included that information. Finally, experiments were explained in detail, although they were never too hard to follow. Something of a human element was also included, since the author knows a lot of the researchers in his field and was able to include information about their personalities and talents. Overall, I thought this was an approachable, informative, fun read. ( )
  DoingDewey | Nov 6, 2012 |
This is a fascinating study, especially for anyone in the arts, as it will inform what you do and the perceptions that your audience might take away from your work. Imitation plays a big role in reacting to certain music, especially in the effect that rhythm has on the body. Once fMRI studies can be done more economically, we will learn just how machine-like our brains are. This self-awareness may or may not be good for us ultimately: Knowledge such as this can be to our detriment if misused. Also it will be interesting to see how mirror neurons might be working in social networks, even when we aren't physically connected.

Favorite chapters: Grasping Language, The Bad and the Ugly: Violence and Drug Abuse ( )
  chilee | Mar 25, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374210179, Hardcover)

What accounts for the remarkable ability to get inside another person’s head—to know what they’re thinking and feeling? “Mind reading” is the very heart of what it means to be human, creating a bridge between self and others that is fundamental to the development of culture and society. But until recently, scientists didn’t understand what in the brain makes it possible.
 
This has all changed in the last decade. Marco Iacoboni, a leading neuroscientist whose work has been covered in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal, explains the groundbreaking research into mirror neurons, the “smart cells” in our brain that allow us to understand others. From imitation to morality, from learning to addiction, from political affiliations to consumer choices, mirror neurons seem to have properties that are relevant to all these aspects of social cognition. As The New York Times reports: “The discovery is shaking up numerous scientific disciplines, shifting the understanding of culture, empathy, philosophy, language, imitation, autism and psychotherapy.”
 
Mirroring People is the first book for the general reader on this revolutionary new science.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:49 -0400)

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"What accounts for the remarkable ability to get inside another person's head - to know what someone else is thinking and feeling? "Mind reading" is the very heart of what it means to be human, creating a bridge between self and others that is fundamental to the development of culture and society. But until recently, scientists didn't understand what in the brain makes it possible. This has all changed in the past decade. Marco Iacoboni explains the research into mirror neurons, the "smart cells" in our brain that allow us to understand others. From imitation to morality, from learning to addiction, from political affiliations to consumer choices, mirror neurons seem to have properties that are relevant to all these aspects of social cognition. Mirroring People is the first book for the general reader on this revolutionary new science."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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