Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mirror Neurons And The Brain In The Vat - Empathy Neurons?

Perhaps you would enjoy a fascinating article by V.S. Ramachandran about the workings the brain? There is new research here that you can dig into. I particularly enjoyed the last third.

An excerpt:

"Iaccomo Rizzolati and Vittorio Gallasse discovered mirror neurons. They found that neurons in the ventral premotor area of macaque monkeys will fire anytime a monkey performs a complex action such as reaching for a peanut, pulling a lever, pushing a door, etc. (different neurons fire for different actions). Most of these neurons control motor skill (originally discovered by Vernon Mountcastle in the 60's), but a subset of them, the Italians found, will fire even when the monkey watches another monkey perform the same action. In essence, the neuron is part of a network that allows you to see the world "from the other persons point of view," hence the name “mirror neuron."

"We are all merely many reflections in a hall of mirrors of a single cosmic reality. If you find all this too much to swallow just consider the that as you grow older and memories start to fade you may have less in common with, and be less "informationally coupled", to your own youthful self, the chap you once were, than with someone who is now your close personal friend. This is especially true if you consider the barrier-dissolving nature of mirror neurons."

There is discussion on inter-hemisphericall communication which I was particularly intrigued by, as that is mentionedd as one of the mechanisms of action of the 'racetams (piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam and pramiracetam).