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J Anal Psychol. 2009 Jun;54(3):307-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5922.2009.01782.x.

Mirror neurons and embodied simulation in the development of archetypes and self-agency.


In this paper I explore the role of mirror neurons and motor intentionality in the development of self-agency. I suggest that this will also give us a firmer basis for an emergent view of archetypes, as key components in the development trajectory of self-agency, from its foundation in bodily action to its mature expression in mentalization and a conscious awareness of intentionality. I offer some ideas about the implications of these issues of self-agency for our clinical work with patients whose developmental trajectory of self-agency has been partially inhibited, so that their communications have a coercive effect. I discuss the possibility that this kind of clinical phenomenon may relate to Gallese and Lakoff's hypothesis that abstract thought and imagination are forms of simulated action, and that the same sensory-motor circuits that control action also control imagination, concept formation and understanding, but with a crucial development, that of an inhibition of the connections between secondary pre-motor cortical areas and the primary motor cortex. I shall speculate that in the earlier developmental stages of self-agency, the separation of secondary from primary motor areas is not complete, so that imagination and thought are not entirely independent of physical action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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