Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 10
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hou, Jiancheng Rajmohan, Ravi Fang, Dan Kashfi, Karl Al-Khalil, Kareem Yang, James Westney, William Grund, Cynthia M. and O'Boyle, Michael W. 2017. Mirror neuron activation of musicians and non-musicians in response to motion captured piano performances. Brain and Cognition, Vol. 115, Issue. , p. 47.

    Asada, Minoru 2016. Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics A. p. 73.

    Young, Gerald 2016. Unifying Causality and Psychology. p. 177.

    Wacewicz, Sławomir Żywiczyński, Przemysław and Orzechowski, Sylwester 2016. Visible movements of the orofacial area. Gesture, Vol. 15, Issue. 2, p. 250.

    Cochet, Hélène Centelles, Laurie Jover, Marianne Plachta, Suzy and Vauclair, Jacques 2015. Hand preferences in preschool children: Reaching, pointing and symbolic gestures. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 501.

    Corballis, Michael C. 2014. From Gesture in Conversation to Visible Action as Utterance. p. 177.

    Ackermann, Hermann Hage, Steffen R. and Ziegler, Wolfram 2014. Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 37, Issue. 06, p. 529.

    Michel, George F. Babik, Iryna Nelson, Eliza L. Campbell, Julie M. and Marcinowski, Emily C. 2013. How the development of handedness could contribute to the development of language. Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 55, Issue. 6, p. 608.

    Vauclair, Jacques Fagard, Jacqueline and Blois-Heulin, Catherine 2013. Lateralization, praxis, and communicative gestures: Developmental and comparative perspectives. Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 55, Issue. 6, p. 575.

    Kong, Zhaodan and Mettler, Bernie 2011. An investigation of spatial behavior in agile guidance tasks. p. 2473.

    ×
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: September 2009

1 - The Mirror System Hypothesis on the linkage of action and languages

Summary

Introduction

Our progress towards an understanding of how the human brain evolved to be ready for language starts with the mirror neurons for grasping in the brain of the macaque monkey. Area F5 of the macaque brain is part of premotor cortex, i.e., F5 is part of the area of cerebral cortex just in front of the primary motor cortex shown as F1 in Fig. 1.1 (left). Different parts of F5 contain neurons active during manual and orofacial actions. Crucially for us, an anatomically segregated subset of these neurons are mirror neurons. Each such mirror neuron is active not only when the monkey performs actions of a certain kind (e.g., a precision pinch or a power grasp) but also when the monkey observes a human or another monkey perform a more or less similar action. In humans, we cannot measure the activity of single neurons (save when needed for testing during neurosurgery) but we can gather comparatively crude data on the relative blood flow through (and thus, presumably, the neural activity of) a brain region when the human performs one task or another. We may then ask whether the human brain also contains a “mirror system for grasping” in the sense of a region active for both execution and observation of manual actions as compared to some baseline task like simply observing an object. Remarkably, such sites were found in frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex of the human brain.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Action to Language via the Mirror Neuron System
  • Online ISBN: 9780511541599
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511541599
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
×
References
Adolphs, R., 1999. Social cognition and the human brain. Trends Cogn. Sci. 3: 469–479.
Allison, T., Puce, A., and McCarthy, G., 2000. Social perception from visual cues: role of the STS region. Trends Cogn. Sci. 4: 267–278.
Arbib, M. A., 1981. Perceptual structures and distributed motor control. In Brooks, V. B. (ed.) Handbook of Physiology, Section 2, The Nervous System, vol. 2, Motor Control, Part 1. Bethesda, MD: American Physiological Society, pp. 1449–1480.
Arbib, M. A., 1985. In Search of the Person: Philosophical Explorations of Cognitive Science. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
Arbib, M. A., 2001. Coevolution of human consciousness and language. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 929: 195–220.
Arbib, M. A., 2002. The mirror system, imitation, and the evolution of language. In Nehaniv, C. and Dautenhahn, K. (eds.) Imitation in Animals and Artefacts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 229–280.
Arbib, M. A., 2004. How far is language beyond our grasp? A response to Hurford. In Oller, D. K. and Griebel, U. (eds.) Evolution of Communication Systems: A Comparative Approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 315–321.
Arbib, M. A., 2005a. From monkey-like action recognition to human language: an evolutionary framework for neurolinguistics. Behav. Brain Sci. 28: 105–167.
Arbib, M. A., 2005b. Interweaving protosign and protospeech: further developments beyond the mirror. Interaction Studies: Soc. Behav. Commun. Biol. Artif. Systems 6: 145–171.
Arbib, M. A., 2006. A sentence is to speech as what is to action? Cortex. (In press.)
Arbib, M. A., and Rizzolatti, G., 1997. Neural expectations: a possible evolutionary path from manual skills to language. Commun. Cognit. 29: 393–423.
Arbib, M. A., Bischoff, A., Fagg, A. H., and Grafton, S. T., 1994. Synthetic PET: analyzing large-scale properties of neural networks. Hum. Brain Map. 2: 225–233.
Arbib, M. A., Érdi, P. and Szentágothai, J. (1998) Neural Organization: Structure, Function, and Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Arbib, M. A., Billard, A., Iacoboni, M., and Oztop, E., 2000. Synthetic brain imaging: grasping, mirror neurons and imitation. Neur. Networks 13: 975–997.
Armstrong, D., Stokoe, W., and Wilcox, S., 1995. Gesture and the Nature of Language. Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.
Barrett, A. M., Foundas, A. L., and Heilman, K. M., 2005. Speech and gesture are mediated by independent systems. Behav. Brain Sci. 28: 125–126.
Bickerton, D. 1995. Language and Human Behavior. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Bickerton, D. 2005. Beyond the mirror neuron: the smoke neuron?Behav. Brain Sci. 28: 126.
Boesch, C., and Boesch, H., 1983. Optimization of nut-cracking with natural hammers by wild chimpanzees. Behavior 83: 265–286.
Byrne, R. W., 2003. Imitation as behaviour parsing. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London B 558: 529–536.
Carey, D. P., Perrett, D. I., and Oram, M. W., 1997. Recognizing, understanding, and producing action. In Jeannerod, M. and Grafman, J. (eds.) Handbook of Neuropsychology: Action and Cognition, vol. 11. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 111–130.
Cavada, C., and Goldman-Rakic, P. S., 1989. Posterior parietal cortex in rhesus macaque. II. Evidence for segregated corticocortical networks linking sensory and limbic areas with the frontal lobe. J. Comp. Neurol. 287: 422–445.
Cobas, A., and Arbib, M., 1992. Prey-catching and predator-avoidance in frog and toad: defining the schemas. J. Theor. Biol. 157: 271–304.
Corballis, M., 2002. From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Corina, D. P., Poizner, H., Bellugi, U., et al. 1992. Dissociation between linguistic and nonlinguistic gestural systems: a case for compositionality. Brain Lang. 43: 414–447.
Corina, D. P., Jose-Robertson, L. S., Guillemin, A., High, J., and Braun, A. R., 2003. Language lateralization in a bimanual language. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 15: 718–730.
Coulmas, F., 2003. Writing Systems: An Introduction to Their Linguistic Analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Croft, W., 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Jorio, A., 2000. Gesture in Naples and Gesture in Classical Antiquity. Translation of La mimica degli antichi investigata nel gestire napoletano (Gestural expression of the ancients in the light of Neapolitan gesturing), with an introduction and notes by Adam Kendon. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Dixon, R. M. W., 1997. The Rise and Fall of Languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Donald, M., 1994. Origin of the Modern Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Donald, M., 1999. Precursors for the evolution of protolanguages. In Corballis, M. C. and Lea, S. E. G. (eds.) Preconditions for the Evolution of Protolanguages.Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 138–154.
Emmorey, K., 2002. Language, Cognition, and the Brain: Insights from Sign Language Research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Fagg, A. H., and Arbib, M. A., 1998. Modeling parietal–premotor interactions in primate control of grasping. Neur. Networks 11: 1277–1303.
Falk, D., 2004. Prelinguistic evolution in early hominins: whence motherese. Behav. Brain Sci. 27: 491–503; discussion 505–583.
Farnell, B., 1995. Do You See What I Mean? Plains Indian Sign Talk and the Embodiment of Action. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Fellous, J.-M., and Arbib, M. A. (eds.), 2005. Who Needs Emotions? The Brain Meets the Robot. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ferrari, P. F., Gallese, V., Rizzolatti, G., and Fogassi, L., 2003. Mirror neurons responding to the observation of ingestive and communicative mouth actions in the monkey ventral premotor cortex. Eur. J. Neurosci. 17: 1703–1714.
Fogassi, L., and Ferrari, P. F., 2004. Mirror neurons, gestures and language evolution. Interaction Studies: Soc. Behav. Commun. Biol. Artific. Systems 5: 345–363.
Fogassi, L., Gallese, V., Fadiga, L., and Rizzolatti, G., 1998. Neurons responding to the sight of goal directed hand/arm actions in the parietal area PF (7b) of the macaque monkey. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 24: 257.
Gallese, V., Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L., and Rizzolatti, G., 1996. Action recognition in the premotor cortex. Brain 119: 593–609.
Gentilucci, M., 2003. Grasp observation influences speech production, Eur. J. Neurosci. 17: 179–184.
Gentilucci, M., Santunione, P., Roy, A. C., and Stefanini, S., 2004a. Execution and observation of bringing a fruit to the mouth affect syllable pronunciation. Eur. J. Neurosci. 19: 190–202.
Gentilucci, M., Stefanini, S., Roy, A. C., and Santunione, P., 2004b. Action observation and speech production: study on children and adults. Neuropsychologia 42: 1554–1567.
Ghazanfar, A. A. (ed.), 2003. Primate Audition: Ethology and Neurobiology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Ghazanfar, A. A., and Santos, L. R., 2004. Primate brains in the wild: the sensory bases for social interactions. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 5: 603–616.
Gibson, J. J., 1979. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Glover, S., and Dixon, P., 2002. Semantics affect the planning but not control of grasping. Exp. Brain Res. 146: 383–387.
Glover, S., Rosenbaum, D. A., Graham, J., and Dixon, P., 2004. Grasping the meaning of words. Exp. Brain Res. 154: 103–108.
Hauser, M. D., 1996. The Evolution of Communication. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hauser, M. D., Chomsky, N., and Fitch, W. T., 2002. The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?Science 298: 1569–1579.
Hewes, G., 1973. Primate communication and the gestural origin of language. Curr. Anthropol. 14: 5–24.
Hihara, S., Yamada, H., Iriki, A., and Okanoya, K., 2003. Spontaneous vocal differentiation of coo-calls for tools and food in Japanese monkeys. Neurosci. Res. 45: 383–389.
Horwitz, B., Amunts, K., Bhattacharyya, R., et al., 2003. Activation of Broca's area during the production of spoken and signed language: a combined cytoarchitectonic mapping and PET analysis. Neuropsychologia 41: 1868–1876.
Hunt, G. R., and Gray, R. D., 2003. Diversification and cumulative evolution in New Caledonian crow tool manufacture. Proc. Roy. Soc. London B 270: 867–874.
Hurford, J. R., 2004. Language beyond our grasp: what mirror neurons can, and cannot, do for language evolution. In Oller, D. KimbroughOller and Griebel, U. (eds.) Evolution of Communication Systems: A Comparative Approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 297–313.
Iacoboni, M., 2004. Understanding others: imitation, language, empathy. In Hurley, S. and Chater, N. (eds.) Perspectives on Imitation: From Cognitive Neuroscience to Social Science, vol. 1, Mechanisms of Imitation and Imitation in Animals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 77–99.
Iverson, J. M., and Goldin-Meadow, S. (eds.), 1998. The Nature and Function of Gesture in Children's Communication.New York: Jossey-Bass.
Jeannerod, M., 2005. How do we decipher others' minds? In Fellous, J.-M. and Arbib, M. A. (eds.) Who Needs Emotions? The Brain Meets the Robot. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 147–169.
Jürgens, U., 1997. Primate communication: signaling, vocalization. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 2 edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 1694–1697.
Jürgens, U. 2002. Neural pathways underlying vocal control. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 26: 235–258.
Kendon, A., 1988. Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic, and Communicative Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kimura, D., 1993. Neuromotor Mechanisms in Human Communication. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
Kirby, S., 2000. Syntax without natural selection: how compositionality emerges from vocabulary in a population of learners. In Knight, C., Studdert-Kennedy, M. and Hurford, J. R. (eds.) The Evolutionary Emergence of Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kohler, E., Keysers, C., Umiltà, M. A., et al., 2002. Hearing sounds, understanding actions: action representation in mirror neurons. Science 297: 846–848.
Lashley, K. S., 1951. The problem of serial order in behavior. In Jeffress, L. (ed.) Cerebral Mechanisms in Behavior: The Hixon Symposium. New York: John Wiley, pp. 112–136.
Lieberman, P., 2000. Human Language and my Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
MacNeilage, P. F., 1998. The frame/content theory of evolution of speech production. Behav. Brain Sci. 21: 499–546.
MacNeilage, P. F. and Davis, B. L., 2005. The frame/content theory of evolution of speech: comparison with a gestural origins theory. Interaction Studies: Soc. Behav. Commun. Biol. Artif. Systems 6: 173–199.
Matelli, M., Camarda, R., Glickstein, M., and Rizzolatti, G., 1986. Afferent and efferent projections of the inferior area 6 in the macaque. J. Comp. Neurol. 251: 281–298.
McNeill, , D., , 1992. Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Miller, G. A., Galanter, E., and Pribram, K. H., 1960. Plans and the Structure of Behavior. New York: Henry Holt.
Myowa-Yamakoshi, M., and Matsuzawa, T., 1999. Factors influencing imitation of manipulatory actions in chimpanzees (P. troglodytes). J. Comp. Psychol. 113: 128–136.
Oztop, E., and Arbib, M. A., 2002. Schema design and implementation of the grasp-related mirror neuron system. Biol. Cybernet. 87: 116–140.
Perrett, D. I., Mistlin, A. J., Harries, M. H., and Chitty, A. J., 1990. Understanding the visual appearance and consequence of hand actions. In Goodale, M. A. (ed.) Vision and Action: The Control of Grasping. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, pp. 163–180.
Pizzuto, E., Capobianco, M., and Devescovi, A., 2004. Gestural–vocal deixis and representational skills in early language development. Interaction Studies: Soc. Behav Commun. Biol. Artif. Systems 6: 223–252.
Rizzolatti, G., and Arbib, M. A., 1998. Language within our grasp. Trends Neurosci. 21: 188–194.
Rizzolatti, G., and Luppino, G., 2001. The cortical motor system. Neuron 31: 889–901.
Rizzolatti, G., and Luppino, G. 2003. Grasping movements: visuomotor transformations. In Arbib, M. A. (ed.) The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks, 2nd edn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 501–504.
Rizzolatti, G., Camarda, R., Fogassi, L., et al., (1998) Functional organization of inferior area 6 in the macaque monkey. II. Area F5 and the control of distal movements. Exp. Brain Res. 71: 491–507.
Rizzolatti, G., Fadiga, L., Gallese, V., and Fogassi, L., 1996. Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions. Cogn. Brain Res. 3: 131–141.
Rizzolatti, R., Fogassi, L., and Gallese, V., 2001. Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the understanding and imitation of action. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 2: 661–670.
Seltzer, B., and Pandya, D. N., 1989. Frontal lobe connections of the superior temporal sulcus in the rhesus macaque. J. Comp. Neurol. 281: 97–113.
Seyfarth, R. M., 2005. Continuities in vocal communication argue against a gestural origin of language. Behav. Brain Sci. 28: 144–145.
Stokoe, W. C., 2001. Language in Hand: Why Sign Came before Speech. Washington, D. C.: Gallaudet University Press.
Studdert-Kennedy, M., 2000. Evolutionary implications of the particulate principle: imitation and the dissociation of phonetic form from semantic function. In Knight, C., Studdert-Kennedy, M. and Hurford, J. R. (eds.) The Evolutionary Emergence of Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 161–176.
Tagamets, M. A., and Horwitz, B., 1998. Integrating electrophysiological and anatomical data to create a large-scale model that simulates a delayed match-to-sample human brain imaging study. Cereb. Cortex 8: 310–320.
Tomasello, M., 1999. The human adaptation for culture. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 28: 509–529.
Tomasello, M., and Call, J., 1997. Primate Cognition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Turvey, M., Shaw, R., Reed, E., and Mace, W., 1981. Ecological laws of perceiving and acting. Cognition 9: 237–304.
Umiltà, M. A., Kohler, E., Gallese, V., et al., 2001. I know what you are doing: a neurophysiological study. Neuron 31: 155–165.
Visalberghi, E., and Fragaszy, D., 2002. “Do monkeys ape?” Ten years after. In C. Nehaniv and K. Dautenhahn (eds.) Imitation in Animals and Artifacts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 471–499.
Wray, A., 1998. Protolanguage as a holistic system for social interaction. Lang. Commun. 18: 47–67.
Wray, A. 2000. Holistic utterances in protolanguage: the link from primates to humans. In Knight, C., Studdert-Kennedy, M. and Hurford, J. R. (eds.) The Evolutionary Emergence of Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 285–302.
Wray, A. 2002. Formulaic Language and the Lexicon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wray, A. 2005. The explanatory advantages of the holistic protolanguage model: the case of linguistic irregularity. Behav. Brain Sci. 28: 147–148.