Uploaded by professorzo on Oct 31, 2014
I found the Tedx Talk show on mirror neurons to be very interesting. Gustaf Gredeback gave a powerful exposition on how monkeys, adults, and babies observe, perceive, and interpret the behavior of others. Gredeback describes mirror neurons as being experience-dependent and being located within our motor cortex. What may appear to be a simple action such as reaching for an object is in fact firing up several neurons within the human brain.
One of the key points that I enjoyed about this video is how mirror neurons in adults as well as babies help people to anticipate future behavior based on that individuals previous experience. This revelation is critical for the discipline of psychology in that some of its functions are to understand and predict human behavior in order to treat or reduce human suffering. Gredeback gives an example of how anticipating whether or not basketball players will make a shot is dependent upon ones experience playing and watching sports.
Babies also learn by observing others and modeling behavior by way of classical and operant conditioning. A child is growing at a rapid rate within their first 6 months of life; their motor skills are increasing exponentially. A child is learning how to adapt to its social world by perceiving the actions of others. Dr. Jamie Walker discussed in class how babies are navigating their environment and mimicking the behavior of their primary caretakers.
The research on mirror neurons can be applied to a variety of social context such as teaching and training. For example, skilled employees are more apt to identify specific tasks than entry-level workers. The trained employees mirror neurons are firing up at a high rate.
One of the things that I did not like about this video is that Gredeback did not provide other possible explanations for the function of mirror neurons. He briefly alluded to the fact that there are different reasons for the goal of mirror neurons but did not describe or go into any specific detail about them. It left daunting questions in my mind about the role that mirror neurons play in our brain and Gredeback silence on this matter ignited my passion for scientific inquiry. Perhaps this video left open the door for me to engage in research about the various explanations of mirror neurons and possibly find potential distortions or accurate depictions of how the brain functions.