In the 1990s, Italian neuroscientists discovered something amazing in the brains of macaque monkeys: there were motor (movement) cells that activated the same way when the monkeys did something as they did when the monkeys watched others do the same thing. They called these "mirror neurons." The idea is that when you watch someone else pick up a glass, kiss a loved one, or perform any other action, mirror neurons are making your brain simulate that activity; acting as if you were doing it yourself even when you're standing still. Other scientists quickly began studying their role in all sorts of areas, from empathy to autism.
V.S. Ramachandran on Mirror Neurons
Hear about mirror neurons from one of their biggest scientific proponents.
Brené Brown on Empathy
The scholar explains, first of all, the difference between empathy and sympathy.
Key Facts In This Video
Empathy fuels connection, whereas sympathy can drive disconnection. 00:14
Hear the four qualities of empathy: 00:29
A sympathetic response often unhelpfully searches for silver linings. 01:42
Why Psychopaths Don't Lack Empathy
The science is changing on this one.
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