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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Dec;16(6):660-7. Epub 2006 Nov 7.

The neural origins and implications of imitation, mirror neurons and tool use.

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RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Laboratory for Symbolic Cognitive Development, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Several recent studies report how laboratory-raised, non-human primates exposed to tool use can exhibit intelligent behaviors, such as imitation and reference vocal control, that are never seen in their wild counterparts. Tool-use training appears to forge a novel cortico-cortical connection that underlies this boost in capacity, which normally exists only as latent potential in lower primates. Although tool-use training is patently non-naturalistic, its marked effects on brain organization and behavior could shed light on the evolution of higher intelligence in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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