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Record identifier : 568809
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Montgomery, Kimberly Jean
Title and statement of responsibility : Investigations of the mirror neuron system using functional MRI [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : Princeton University, 2007
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D
Body granting the degree : , Princeton University
Summary or Abstract : A vast literature from social psychology, developmental psychology, and neuroscience suggests that people might understand others based on an understanding of themselves. This is evident in the studies of how people understand the actions of another. It is likely that people understand another's action because there is an overlap in the mental representations between self and other. A likely candidate for that neural substrate of self-other mental representations is mirror neurons, neurons that respond to both the observation and execution of an action, that have been found in ventral premotor cortex, area F5, and in inferior parietal cortex of the macaque monkey (Fogassi, et al, 2005; Gallese, et al, 1996). Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments have suggested a human mirror neuron system (MNS), comprised of inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and frontal operculum (Iacoboni, et al, 1999; Decety, et al, 2002). The major aim of the work presented in this thesis was to investigate the role of the MNS in social communication. The aim was pursued via five lines of experiments. First, we established that actions utilized in social communication activate the MNS. Second, we found equivalent activation in the MNS to communicative hand gestures and object-directed hand movements suggesting that the MNS is involved in understanding communicative and nonsocial actions. Third, we found activation in the MNS for the perception and execution of touch, expanding the multimodal properties of the MNS. Finally, we performed two lines of research to investigate the role of the MNS in social functioning. The first explored the relationship between MNS activity and empathy and the second investigated the MNS in autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social relatedness deficits. We found a positive relationship between MNS activity and empathy; higher empathy abilities were associated with increased activity in the MNS for socially relevant stimuli, but not nonsocial stimuli. We found reduced activity in the MNS in autism suggesting a dysfunctional MNS. Taken together, this research suggests that the MNS is involved in processing social communication and is crucial for proper social functioning..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Neurology
: Psychology
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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