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Biomed Sci Instrum. 2010;46:422-7.

Critical review of the research leading to the mirror neuron paradigm - biomed 2010.

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Universita di Udine, Udine, Italy.


In this paper, we discuss the research that led to the enunciation of the existence of mirror neurons in monkeys as well as the experiments conducted to confirm the existence of a similar class of neurons in humans. We took into account the necessity that arguments had to be consistent, or at least not in obvious contradiction, with the observations from other disciplines such as psychology, psychiatry, and neurology. The review of the literature has raised many doubts on the mirror neuron system paradigm as proposed by Gallese et al. and Rizzolatti et al. The experimental protocols of the seminal works appear, in our opinion, inadequate for various reasons. From the examination of the literature one can only hypothesize that, in a subject having previous experience of what it is observing, a more or less widespread network of neurons activates in a manner seemingly similar to mirroring in an effort to trying to interpret an action or what happened, or to program or to help to perform an action.


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