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ISSN: 2637-6628

Online Journal of Neurology and Brain Disorders

Editorial(ISSN: 2637-6628)

Mirror Mirror on the Brain; Tell Me What Do They Feel? Mirror Neurons; The Neural Wi-fi System for Affect Sharing Volume 2 - Issue 5

Divya R*

  • Faculty of Medical Science, India

Received: June 02, 2019;   Published: June 10, 2019

Corresponding author: Divya R, Faculty of Medical Science, India

DOI: 10.32474/OJNBD.2019.02.000147

Abstract PDF


Mirror neuron system (MNS)

During an action observation (AO) and action execution, specific group of neural substrates are activated [1]. They provide a neural mechanism for understanding the actions of others called as Mirror neurons (MNs) [2]. They also carry out motor grounding, motion ersatz, language and emotion appreciation [1] (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Mirror Neuron System (MNS).


Affect sharing

Mirror neurons discharge not only throughout the self-experience of pain but also during the perception of another people’s pain [3]. Neuroimaging studies carried out in humans while experiencing as well as witnessing pain demonstrates activity in their anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) [4]. The human cingulate cortex contains mirror neurons. These neurons are activated in pain and are reactivated witnessing the pain of others [5,6].

Common neural mechanism for emotional contagion

Researchers found that during pain experience and observation, the rat brain activates the neurons in anterior cingulate cortex (area 24) which are similar in location, cytoarchitecture, and connectivity to the location of the human cingulate cortex [5]. Studies also reveal that the animals no longer feel the pain of other animals if the mirror neurons are not active [6]. These mirror neurons are the common neural mechanism for emotional contagion in mammals, elucidating the neural basis of human- rat intersubjectivity [5].


Studies on the neural basis for emotion sharing is the most momentous step in understanding the mechanism of empathy. As lack of empathy is a main feature in various psychiatric disorders, such as in psychopaths. Indistinct knowledge about mirror neurons, anterior cingulate cortex and their role in emotional contagion and empathy will throw light on reconnoitring the etiology and new-fangled therapeutic possibilities for such disorders.


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  2. Mazurek KA, Rouse AG, Schieber MH (2018) Mirror Neuron Populations Represent Sequences of Behavioral Epochs During Both Execution and Observation. J Neurosci 38(18): 4441-4455.
  3. Gallese V, Keysers C, Rizzolatti G (2004) A unifying view of the basis of social cognition. Trends Cogn Sci 8(9): 396-403.
  4. Lamm C, Decety J, Singer T (2011) Meta-analytic evidence for common and distinct neural networks associated with directly experienced pain and empathy for pain. Neuroimage 54(3): 2492-2502. 
  5. Maria Carrillo, Yinging Han, Filippo Migliorati, Ming Liu, Valeria Gazzola, et al. (2019) Emotional Mirror Neurons in the Rat’s Anterior Cingulate Cortex. Current Biology 29(8): 1301-1312.
  6. (2019) Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience-KNAW. "I feel you: Emotional mirror neurons found in the rat". ScienceDaily.