The first CCR seminar of this academic year will be:
Mirror Neurons in the Tree of Life: development and evolution of a specific sensorimotor structure
Antonella Tramacere, Department of Neuroscience (Parma).
Date: Tuesday 6th October
Location: Psychology Rm 145
By comparing the properties of mirror neurons (MNs) in primate and non-primate species and by reviewing the recent literature that has been neglected in previous manuscripts (i.e. MNs in marmosets and in songbirds, as well as the neuroimaging and anatomical studies in chimpanzees), I will provide new interpretations of MNs, avoiding to polarize the debate on development versus evolution, or learning versus innateness. I will analyse different subtypes of MNs (i.e. hand MNs, mouth MNs, audio-vocal MNs, tool MNs), and the conditions (i.e. physiological and molecular mechanisms, as well as the ecological niches) that critically contribute to their evolution. The scenario that emerges is compatible with the hypothesis of a mosaic evolution. I will sustain that such an interpretation will enhance the heuristic potential to test new hypotheses and prediction on MNs activity and its plastic changes under specific circumstances.