The mirror neurons

S. Bonavita

University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy

Origins. The mirror neurons (MN) have been described for the first time more than 20 years ago in the macaque’s ventral premotor area F5 and in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL).

Properties. These areas have unexpected properties (a) to code the objectives of motor acts; b) to respond to the presentation of object (area F5); c) to code the peripersonal space (area F4). In a simplistic and schematic way, the MN circuit is made up by neurons of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) that fire during the observation of others’ motor acts and project to the IPL, connected to the ventral premotor cortex.

Outcomes. The mirror system (MS), therefore, seems to be both innate and acquired and though it is plastic. Behavioral and neuropsychological studies suggested that the simple observation of motor acts facilitates the motor memory and the motor performance both in healthy people and in stroke patients. In the post-stroke physiotherapy.

Conclusions. The mirror mechanism allows the understanding of actions or emotions that put its roots in the same ability to act or feeling emotions.

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