Embodied Simulation: From Mirror Neuron Systems to Interpersonal Relations

  1. Greg Bock Organizer and
  2. Jamie Goode
  1. Vittorio Gallese

Published Online: 7 OCT 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470030585.ch2

Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278

Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278

How to Cite

Gallese, V. (2006) Embodied Simulation: From Mirror Neuron Systems to Interpersonal Relations, in Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278 (eds G. Bock and J. Goode), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470030585.ch2

Author Information

  1. Department of Neurosciences, Section of Physiology, Universita degli Studi Di Parma, Via Volturno 39, I-43100 Parma, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 OCT 2008
  2. Published Print: 31 OCT 2006

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470026267

Online ISBN: 9780470030585

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Keywords:

  • ‘experiential understanding’ and embodied simulation;
  • intentional attunement, embodied simulation and empathy;
  • mirroring emotions and sensations;
  • shared intersubjective we-centric space;
  • mirror neuron matching system in humans

Summary

A direct form of ‘experiential understanding’ of others is achieved by modelling their behaviours as intentional experiences on the basis of the equivalence between what the others do and feel and what we do and feel. This modelling mechanism is embodied simulation. By means of embodied simulation we do not just ‘see’ an action, an emotion, or a sensation. Side by side with the sensory description of the observed social stimuli, internal representations of the body states associated with actions, emotions, and sensations are evoked in the observer, as if he/she would be doing a similar action or experiencing a similar emotion or sensation. Mirror neurons are likely the neural correlate of this mechanism. The mirror neuron matching systems map the different intentional relations in a compressed fashion, which is neutral about the specific quality or identity of the agentive/subjective parameter. By means of a shared neural state realized in two different bodies that nevertheless obey to the same functional rules, the ‘objectual other’ becomes ‘another self’.