PSYC23 LEC 12.docx

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10 Apr 2012
Plato's Cave Allegory
o Cave is important how we solve certain limitation of the mind
Jan van Eyke's Arnolfini
o We have a cognitive overload
o Its hard to listen to someone's argument when you are trying to argue yourself.
o We have a mechanism that helps us occupy other people's frame of reference. And we are
constantly imitating. We are posturing, language. We are social learners.
o When social learning is helping us and working well - how evolutionary it is and how adaptive
it is. If you imitate what others are doing it has a survival benefit. There are real forces at work
that force us to be imitators.
How do we not cut us off from other people when we want to think about ourselves?
o Cameloneon effect
Ability to change voices, and imitate
o Impairment
People who have no neurological capacity to imitate the most. Autistic people (often get
blamed for their inability to imitate)
Doesn’t seem to learn when around social situations. video - autistic - prefers to
play alone
Has to do with mirror neurons
Something wrong with his neuron wiring - the mirror neurons went wrong.
Mirror neurons that fire when you imitate. In an autistic child it is difficult
for them b/c it is difficult to put themselves in other person's shows. Its
deficit in their mirror neurons.
Autism genes - that it is not just a single gene, but a bunch of genes and found
mutations - on the news.
Spontaneous mutations - that can occur at random. Those who have autism have
spontaneous mutations in the genome, in the genome that you need for mental
development. It is a risk for dad's over 40.
Genetic or environmental cause - some genetic, and some or more due to
environmental causes. The environment may be affecting the biology of the
Are we born with mirror neurons, or do we develop it while we learn?
We don’t know
Development of mirror neurons
o There is no research known about development of mirror neurons. We don’t know if infants
have mirror neurons which allow them to imitate.
o Developmentally - its wide open as well.
o Ability to imitate due to mirror neurons it may be a precursor to memory
o Memory, how plastic it is and how flexible it is. We need to have metaphors for thinking about
it. e.g. photo (red room) all these processes from negative to positive are processes that make
memory consolidation.
o There are biases that filter out our experiences - if you know something or remember
something it filters it out b/c we don’t have to remember it.
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