Mirror Neurons and Our Capacity for Empathy
The discovery of mirror neurons is one of the most significant advances in neuroscience and helps demystify how we imitate and understand one another. Dr. Marco Iacoboni’s work in this area illuminates the remarkable human ability to accurately interpret the feelings and intentions of others. Taking imitation as a fundamental form of learning and non-verbal communication during development, he shares his findings on its profound implications for understanding empathy. Susan Sgorbati joins Iacoboni after his lecture to discuss how empathy is a core component in any emergent collaborative process of creation, whether in dance or in applied strategies for conflict resolution.
Marco Iacoboni, MD, PhD, is a neurologist and neuroscientist originally from Italy. He currently is professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory of the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. Dr. Iacoboni pioneered the research on mirror neurons, the “smart cells” in our brain that are thought to facilitate a pre-reflective understanding of other people and to connect emotionally with them. He summarized this research in his recent book Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others.