DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00713

Advances in Psychological Science (心理科学进展) 2017/25:5 PP.713-722

About the debate of the origin and evolution of mirror neurons

In this article, the author provides a fresh review about the debate of the origin and evolution of mirror neurons. The striking property of mirror neurons is that they discharge during both the observation and the execution of a goal-directed movement. How the execution-observation matching mechanism of mirror neurons comes into being? The genetic account of the debate implies that the evolutionary origins of mirror neurons are the consequences of an adaption for the conditions of environment and social cognition. Because of facilitating the understanding of other's intention, it was favored by natural selection and got passed by heredity. The associative account suggests that mirror neurons emerged in the course of individual development. It was an acquired ability and came into being by the same learning process that produces Pavlovian conditioning. Most of the scholars in this field, however, prefer an evolutionary development biology (evo-devo) perspective, which adopt the epigenetic theory, and propose that associative learning along is insufficient for the origin and evolution of mirror neurons, but, rather, to be a result of a combination of evolutionary, biological, development, social influences.

Key words:mirror neurons,genetic account,associative account,preformation,epigenesist

ReleaseDate:2017-05-31 14:49:36

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