Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-66d7dfc8f5-cvn66 Total loading time: 0.522 Render date: 2023-02-09T10:57:26.681Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Mirror neurons: Tests and testability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2014

Caroline Catmur
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, United Kingdom. c.catmur@surrey.ac.ukhttp://www.surrey.ac.uk/psychology/people/dr_caroline_catmur/http://sites.google.com/site/carolinecatmur/
Clare Press
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, London WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom. c.press@bbk.ac.ukhttp://www.bbk.ac.uk/psychology/our-staff/academic/dr-clare-press; http://www.bbk.ac.uk/psychology/actionlab/
Richard Cook
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, City University London, London EC1R 0JD, United Kingdom. Richard.Cook.1@city.ac.ukhttp://www.city.ac.uk/people/academics/richard-cook
Geoffrey Bird
Affiliation:
Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (MRC), Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom. Geoff.Bird@kcl.ac.ukhttps://sites.google.com/site/geoffbirdlab/http://www.iop.kcl.ac.uk/staff/profile/default.aspx?go=13152
Cecilia Heyes
Affiliation:
All Souls College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 4AL, United Kingdom. Cecilia.heyes@all-souls.ox.ac.ukhttp://www.all-souls.ox.ac.uk/users/heyesc/ Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UD, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Commentators have tended to focus on the conceptual framework of our article, the contrast between genetic and associative accounts of mirror neurons, and to challenge it with additional possibilities rather than empirical data. This makes the empirically focused comments especially valuable. The mirror neuron debate is replete with ideas; what it needs now are system-level theories and careful experiments – tests and testability.

Type
Authors' Response
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Arnstein, D., Cui, F., Keysers, C., Maurits, N. M. & Gazzola, V. (2011) μ-suppression during action observation and execution correlates with BOLD in dorsal premotor, inferior parietal, and SI cortices. Journal of Neuroscience 31(40):14243–49. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0963-11.2011.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ayres, J. J. B., Haddad, C. & Albert, M. (1987) One-trial excitatory backward conditioning as assessed by conditioned suppression of licking in rats: Concurrent observations of lick suppression and defensive behaviors. Animal Learning and Behavior 15:212–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bird, G., Leighton, J., Press, C. & Heyes, C. (2007) Intact automatic imitation of human and robot actions in autism spectrum disorders. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274(1628):3027–31.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cook, R. (2012) The ontogenetic origins of mirror neurons: Evidence from “tool-use” and “audiovisual” mirror neurons. Biology Letters 8(5):856–59. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0192.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cook, R., Dickinson, A. & Heyes, C. (2012a) Contextual modulation of mirror and countermirror sensorimotor associations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 141(4):774–87.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cooper, R. P., Catmur, C. & Heyes, C. (2013a) Are automatic imitation and spatial compatibility mediated by different processes? Cognitive Science 37(4):605–30.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cooper, R. P., Cook, R., Dickinson, A. & Heyes, C. M. (2013b) Associative (not Hebbian) learning and the mirror neuron system. Neuroscience Letters 540:2836.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cummins, R. (1975) Functional analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72(20):741–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dick, F., Lee, H. L., Nusbaum, H. & Price, C. J. (2011) Auditory-motor expertise alters “speech selectivity” in professional musicians and actors. Cerebral Cortex 21(4):938–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
di Pellegrino, G., Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L., Gallese, V. & Rizzolatti, G. (1992) Understanding motor events: A neurophysiological study. Experimental Brain Research 91(1):176–80.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dushanova, J. & Donoghue, J. (2010) Neurons in primary motor cortex engaged during action observation. European Journal of Neuroscience 31(2):386–98.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Elsner, B. & Hommel, B. (2001) Effect anticipation and action control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 27(1):229–40.Google ScholarPubMed
Elsner, B. & Hommel, B. (2004) Contiguity and contingency in action-effect learning. Psychological Research 68(2–3):138–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferrari, P. F., Gallese, V., Rizzolatti, G. & Fogassi, L. (2003) Mirror neurons responding to the observation of ingestive and communicative mouth actions in the monkey ventral premotor cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience 17(8):1703–14.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ferrari, P. F., Visalberghi, E., Paukner, A., Fogassi, L., Ruggiero, A. & Suomi, S. J. (2006) Neonatal imitation in rhesus macaques. PLoS Biology 4(9):1501–508, e302. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040302.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Garcia, J., Kimeldorf, D. J. & Koelling, R. A. (1955) Conditioned aversion to saccharin resulting from exposure to gamma radiation. Science 122:157–58.Google ScholarPubMed
Gemberling, G. A. & Domjan, M. (1982) Selective association in one-day old rats: Taste-toxicosis and texture-toxicosis aversion learning. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 96:105–13.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Godfrey-Smith, P. (1994) A modern history theory of functions. Noûs 28:344–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hari, R. & Salmelin, R. (1997) Human cortical oscillations: A neuromagnetic view through the skull. Trends in Neurosciences 20(1):4449.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heyes, C. M. (2003) Four routes of cognitive evolution. Psychological Review 110: 713–27.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heyes, C. M. (2010) Where do mirror neurons come from? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 34(4):575–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heyes, C. M. (2011) Automatic imitation. Psychological Bulletin 137(3):463–83.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heyes, C. M. (2012a) Grist and mills: On the cultural origins of cultural learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2181–91.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heyes, C. M. (2013) What can imitation do for cooperation? In: Cooperation and its evolution, ed. Sterelny, K., Joyce, R., Calcott, B. & Fraser, B.. MIT Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Heyes, C. M. (in press) Tinbergen on mirror neurons. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B: Biological Sciences.Google Scholar
Howlin, P. & Moss, P. (2012) Adults with autism spectrum disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 57(5):275–83.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Huang, C. T., Heyes, C. & Charman, T. (2002) Infants' behavioral reenactment of “failed attempts”: Exploring the roles of emulation learning, stimulus enhancement, and understanding of intentions. Developmental Psychology 38(5):840–55.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jones, S. S. (1996) Imitation or exploration? Young infants' matching of adults' oral gestures. Child Development 67(5):1952–69.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jones, S. S. (2006) Exploration or imitation? The effect of music on 4-week-old infants' tongue protrusions. Infant Behavior and Development 29(1):126–30.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Keysers, C., Kohler, E., Umiltà, M. A., Nanetti, L., Fogassi, L. & Gallese, V. (2003) Audiovisual mirror neurons and action recognition. Experimental Brain Research 153(4):628–36.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kraskov, A., Dancause, N., Quallo, M. M., Shepherd, S. & Lemon, R. N. (2009) Corticospinal neurons in macaque ventral premotor cortex with mirror properties: A potential mechanism for action suppression? Neuron 64(6):922–30. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.010.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kunde, W. (2001) Response-effect compatibility in manual choice reaction tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 27(2):387–94.Google ScholarPubMed
Lepage, J. F., Saint-Amour, D. & Théoret, H. (2008) EEG and neuronavigated single-pulse TMS in the study of the observation/execution matching system: Are both techniques measuring the same process? Journal of Neuroscience Methods 175(1):1724. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.07.021.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Liepelt, R., von Cramon, D. Y. & Brass, M. (2008b) What is matched in direct matching? Intention attribution modulates motor priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 34(3):578–91.Google ScholarPubMed
Linquist, S., Machery, E., Griffiths, P. E. & Stotz, K. (2011) Exploring the folkbiological conception of human nature. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B: Biological Sciences 366:444–53. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0224.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mackintosh, N. J. (1973) Stimulus selection: Learning to ignore stimuli that predict no change in reinforcement. In: Constraints on learning, ed. Hinde, R. A. & Stevenson-Hinde, J., pp. 75100. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Mahoney, W. J. & Ayres, J. J. B. (1976) One-trial simultaneous and backward fear conditioning as reflected in conditioned suppression of licking in rats. Animal Learning and Behavior 4(4):357–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meltzoff, A. N. (1995) Understanding the intentions of others: Re-enactments of intended acts by 18-month-old children. Developmental Psychology 31(5):838–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mukamel, R., Ekstrom, A. D., Kaplan, J., Iacoboni, M. & Fried, I. (2010) Single-neuron responses in humans during execution and observation of actions. Current Biology 20(8):750–56.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nagy, E., Pilling, K., Orvos, H. & Molnar, P. (2013) Imitation of tongue protrusion in human neonates: Specificity of the response in a large sample. Developmental Psychology 49(9):1628–38. doi: 10.1037/a0031127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nelissen, K., Borra, E., Gerbella, M., Rozzi, S., Luppino, G., Vanduffel, W., Rizzolatti, G. & Orban, G. A. (2011) Action observation circuits in the macaque monkey cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 31(10):3743–56. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4803-10.2011.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nelissen, K., Luppino, G., Vanduffel, W., Rizzolatti, G. & Orban, G. A. (2005) Observing others: Multiple action representation in the frontal lobe. Science 310(5746):332–36.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Paukner, A., Ferrari, P. F. & Suomi, S. J. (2011) Delayed imitation of lipsmacking gestures by infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). PLoS One 6(12):e28848. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pearce, J. M. (2008) Animal learning and conditioning: An introduction. 3rd edition. Hove/ Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Prather, J. F., Peters, S., Nowicki, S. & Mooney, R. (2008) Precise auditory-vocal mirroring in neurons for learned vocal communication. Nature 451(7176):305–10.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Press, C. (2011) Action observation and robotic agents: Learning and anthropomorphism. Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews 35(6):1410–18.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Press, C., Gillmeister, H. & Heyes, C. (2007) Sensorimotor experience enhances automatic imitation of robotic action. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 274(1625):2509–14.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Press, C., Heyes, C. & Kilner, J. M. (2011) Learning to understand others' actions. Biology Letters 7(3):457–60. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0850.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Press, C., Richardson, D. & Bird, G. (2010) Intact imitation of emotional facial actions in autism spectrum conditions. Neuropsychologia 48(11):3291–97. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.07.012.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rescorla, R. A. & Wagner, A. R. (1972) A theory of Pavlovian conditioning: Variations in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement. In Classical conditioning: II. Current research and theory, ed. Black, A. H. & Prokasy, W. F., pp. 6499. Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Rizzolatti, G. & Sinigaglia, C. (2010) The functional role of the parieto-frontal mirror circuit: Interpretations and misinterpretations. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 11(4):264–74. doi: 10.1038/nrn2805.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schultz, W. & Dickinson, A. (2000) Neuronal coding of prediction errors. Annual Review of Neuroscience 23:473500.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Southgate, V. & Hamilton, A. F. (2008) Unbroken mirrors: Challenging a theory of Autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12(6):225–29. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.03.005.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tiedens, L. Z. & Fragale, A. R. (2003) Power moves: Complementarity in dominant and submissive nonverbal behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(3):558–68.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tkach, D., Reimer, J. & Hatsopoulos, N. G. (2007) Congruent activity during action and action observation in motor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 27(48):13241–50.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vigneswaran, G., Philipp, R., Lemon, R. N. & Kraskov, A. (2013) M1 corticospinal mirror neurons and their role in movement suppression during action observation. Current Biology 23(3): 236–43. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.006.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wiggett, A. J., Hudson, M., Tipper, S. P. & Downing, P. E. (2011) Learning associations between action and perception: Effects of incompatible training on body part and spatial priming. Brain and Cognition 76(1):8796. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2011.02.014.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
6
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Mirror neurons: Tests and testability
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Mirror neurons: Tests and testability
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Mirror neurons: Tests and testability
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *