Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system.

Marco Iacoboni, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Vittorio Gallese, Giovanni Buccino, John C. Mazziotta, Giacomo Rizzolatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Understanding the intentions of others while watching their actions is a fundamental building block of social behavior. The neural and functional mechanisms underlying this ability are still poorly understood. To investigate these mechanisms we used functional magnetic resonance imaging. Twenty-three subjects watched three kinds of stimuli: grasping hand actions without a context, context only (scenes containing objects), and grasping hand actions performed in two different contexts. In the latter condition the context suggested the intention associated with the grasping action (either drinking or cleaning). Actions embedded in contexts, compared with the other two conditions, yielded a significant signal increase in the posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus and the adjacent sector of the ventral premotor cortex where hand actions are represented. Thus, premotor mirror neuron areas-areas active during the execution and the observation of an action-previously thought to be involved only in action recognition are actually also involved in understanding the intentions of others. To ascribe an intention is to infer a forthcoming new goal, and this is an operation that the motor system does automatically.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

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Mirror Neurons
Neurons
Cleaning
Mirrors
hands
neurons
Hand
drinking
social behavior
magnetic resonance imaging
cleaning
Aptitude
Social Behavior
cortex
Motor Cortex
Prefrontal Cortex
Drinking
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Observation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Iacoboni, M., Molnar-Szakacs, I., Gallese, V., Buccino, G., Mazziotta, J. C., & Rizzolatti, G. (2005). Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. PLoS Biology, 3(3).

Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. / Iacoboni, Marco; Molnar-Szakacs, Istvan; Gallese, Vittorio; Buccino, Giovanni; Mazziotta, John C.; Rizzolatti, Giacomo.

In: PLoS Biology, Vol. 3, No. 3, 03.2005.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Iacoboni, M, Molnar-Szakacs, I, Gallese, V, Buccino, G, Mazziotta, JC & Rizzolatti, G 2005, 'Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system.', PLoS Biology, vol. 3, no. 3.
Iacoboni M, Molnar-Szakacs I, Gallese V, Buccino G, Mazziotta JC, Rizzolatti G. Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. PLoS Biology. 2005 Mar;3(3).
Iacoboni, Marco ; Molnar-Szakacs, Istvan ; Gallese, Vittorio ; Buccino, Giovanni ; Mazziotta, John C. ; Rizzolatti, Giacomo. / Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. In: PLoS Biology. 2005 ; Vol. 3, No. 3.
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