Monday, June 25, 2012

Learning and Mirror Neuron System

Recent research in neuroscience clearly indicates the important role played by mirror neuron system in education. This leads to the possibility that they play a significant role in the convergence of perception and action.

The mirror neuron system was discovered in 1996 by neurophysiologists in Italy who were researching the brain of macaque monkeys. They found that the neurons that responded when monkeys reached for food also responded when they saw a person reach for food.

Recent research has steadily clarified the functions of the mirror neuron system, in particular, the importance of understanding goals and intentions. Moreover, what determines the activity of the mirror neurons is the type of action. For example, experiments have established that responses distinguish between the action of putting something in the mouth and putting something inside a box.

The mirror neuron system may be related to language development through simulation because in humans, the mirror neuron system that responds to language are reported in interior frontal cortex near the Broca's area, which is the area of the brain linked to speech production.

In terms of education, this research indicates that we must consider ways to enhance children's motivation to learn by providing material that challenges their individual abilities and interests.

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