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Paper Topic:

The role of mirror neurons in affect regulation and origin of the self.


12 May 2008

The role of Mirror Neurons in Affect Regulation and Origin of the Self

The emerging specialized scientific field applying the principles of neurobiology and psychoanalysis in investigating the development of the human mind and behavior marks a major landmark in the wider discipline of psychology and personality development . In many ways , neurobiological research has taken this science a milestone further ever since the predecessor works by scholars such as Abraham Maslow , Sigmund Freud , and Jean Piaget and the like laid the foundation many years ago . In

particular the Freudian theory regarding brain functioning and emotional development is highly credited with laying the foundation of modern psychobiological , neurobiological and psychoanalytical research . On the whole , the study of human behavior and the acquisition of certain values that determine personality dynamics have since moved away from the foundational works of the above-named scholars to specialized neurobiological and psychoanalytic studies (Beebe , B . et al 2003

In this , we are going to focus our discussion on the role played by mirror neurons in emotional development and affect regulation of an individual from infancy and how this contributes to the evolution of the self . The discovery of and experimentation with mirror neurons is key to the understanding of affect regulation and the evolution of the self This growing field of Psychoanalysis hinges on the fact that mirror neurons are believed by psychoanalysts and neurobiologists to be key in imitation and the evolution of the self . This is a comparatively new area of study that has attracted immense psychoanalytic interest

However , before we proceed into the dialectics of psychoanalysis , let us briefly look at the significance of neurons in psychoanalytic studies According to modern Psychoanalytic studies , the recent discovery of mirror neurons and their implications for human brain evolution is one of the most important findings in neuroscience in our contemporary times . Neuroscience is a specialized multidisciplinary field in psychology that deals with the study of the functions and anomalies ) of the nervous system . According to Gallese , V . et al (1996 2007 Rizzolatti and other scientists studying the role of neurons in the behavior of a monkey discovered in the macaque monkey brain a class of premotor neurons that discharge not only when the monkey executes goal-related hand actions like grasping objects , but also when observing the same action or actions performed by other monkeys of human beings The scientists called them mirror neurons

The human neurological system has several classes or clusters of neurons . However , our focus in this is on the mirror neurons . A mirror neuron is a neuron that sparks when animals acts or when the animal sees another perform the action , this is why the neuron is referred to as mirror ' Mirror neurons belong to a unique circuitry cluster of neurons located in the premotor cortex of the brain . This specific group of neurons is involved in perception or visual and body movement (motor ) functions (Wolf , N . S . et al , 2000 . Though they belong to these two...

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