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Who Gets to Explain the Social Brain psyc 180.docx

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PSYC 180
Amir Raz

Psyc 180 February 9, 2012 Who Gets to Explain the Social Brain? The rise, dissemination, and controversy of mirror neurons  Daniel Margulies  Might explain why people feel empathy  Brain uses them to mirror movements it sees  Sports fans picture themselves playing when they watch the game o How are emotional system and motor system connected together?  Although mirror neurons have served as the cornerstone for explanations of human empathy, communication, language, imitation, learning, autism, controversies surrounding the existence and role of mirror neurons have openly emerged since 2007. o Why did it take so long to be controversial?  The question is not whether mirror neurons are factual or not, but rather the process of dissemination and the subsequent controversies surrounding them. o Trajectory of theories surrounding mirror neurons since their discovery o Motivations behind their interdisciplinary appropriation o Motivations driving the controversies about their existence and function  Bruno Latour‟s Rule of Method o Rule 1: we study science in action and not ready made science or technology; to do so, we either arrive before the facts and machines are blackboxed or we follow the controversies that reopen them. o  What transformations did mirror neurons undergo? o First principle: the fat of facts and machines is in later users‟ hands; their qualities are thus a consequence, not a cause, of a collective action o Rules of method #2: to determine the objectivity of a claim, the efficiency or perfection of a mechanism, we do not look for their intrinsic qualities  Part 1: Thematic Trajectories o Three primary source publications for mirror neurones:  “understanding of motor events”  Extends function of premotor cortex “to include movement selection related to interpersonal relations”  1996 – introduction of term “mirror neurons”  Monkey F5  language is implicated.  Less than 10 more studies emerge worldwide regarding neurophysiology of mirror neurons since 1996. o 1950 publications cited the original three papers o Growth in term “social” in mirror neuron literature in 2005-2006  In addition to “language” and “autism” o Take home points: Psyc 180
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