Reflections of others and of self: The mirror neuron system’s relationship to empathy

C. Chad Woodruff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Mirror neurons have generated intense interest since their discovery in the early 1990s because they offer a potential neural mechanism for linking the observation of a conspecific’s action to the representation of the motor plan for that action in the observer’s brain. Much progress has been made in the last two and one-half decades, but much remains mysterious as well. In this chapter, we discuss research in macaque monkeys and what has been revealed about the functional, anatomical and connectivity characteristics of mirror neurons (MNs). We also discuss the use of noninvasive brain imaging to measure MNs, considering the pros and cons. Further discussion concerns what role MNs play in action understanding as well as various models of MN function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780128098370
ISBN (Print)9780128098387
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Electroencephalography
  • Empathy
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mirror neurons
  • Self-other differentiation
  • Single-cell recordings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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