Scientists study brain's mirror neurons

A U.S. study suggested the human brain responds differently depending on whether we're viewing someone who shares our culture or someone who doesn't.

Scientists study brain's mirror neurons

A U.S. study suggested the human brain responds differently depending on whether we're viewing someone who shares our culture or someone who doesn't.

UCLA researcher Istvan Molnar-Szakacs and Marco Iacoboni, director of the university's Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Lab, investigated the imprint of culture on the brain's so-called mirror neuron network. Mirror neurons fire when an individual performs an action but also fire when someone watches another person perform that same action.

The researchers asked an American and a Nicaraguan actor to perform hand gestures before a group of American subjects whose levels of corticospinal excitability was measured to study the activity of mirror neurons.

They found American participants demonstrated higher mirror neuron activity while observing American gestures compared with Nicaraguan. When the Nicaraguan performed American gestures, the observer's mirror neuron activation decreased.

"We believe these are some of the first data to show neurobiological responses to culture-specific stimuli," said Molnar-Szakacs, who noted the data suggest both ethnicity and culture interact to influence activity in the brain.

The research, which included Allan Wu and Francisco Robles, appears in the online issue of the journal PLoS One.

UPI

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2007, 09:28
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