Neurons play Simon Says

New research uncovers evidence for mirror neurons in humans

5:15pm, August 11, 2009

Human see. Human do. As with monkeys, it’s apparently the same for some nerve cells in the brain.

Macaque monkeys have specialized brain cells — called mirror neurons — that activate when a monkey performs an action involving an object, such as picking up a grape, or when watching someone else do the same task. The discovery of these neurons in 1996 led to speculation that they could be involved in everything from simulating others’ actions to language development to autism. There was only one problem: no one had definite proof that such cells exist in humans.

Now a new study in the Aug. 12 Journal of Neuroscience provides strong evidence that humans have mirror neurons too.

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