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Stephen Turner

presuppositions. It is illuminating to compare Collingwood to Weber with respect to these puzzling arguments, for the same issues arise there in different form. Recent work in social neuroscience on mirroring allows a differ- ent approach to these puzzles: mirror system “knowledge” of others and simula- tion fit

Pier F. Ferrari

visceral responses; and (3) the mirror system is involved in imitation. 4. A neural simulation to empathise with others Although MN were first described as a class of visuomotor neurons discharging for hand actions, more recently, an additional class of MN have been described, which fire for

Nadia Bolognini, Nadia Bolognini, Carlo Miniussi, Nadia Bolognini, Carlo Miniussi, Selene Gallo, Nadia Bolognini, Carlo Miniussi, Selene Gallo and Giuseppe Vallar

Brain imaging studies have shown the existence of a mirror network for touch, which allows for an automatic and unconscious simulation of others’ somatic states (Keysers et al., 2010). In everyday life, we are typically unaware of this process likely because the system is physiologically active below the threshold of perceptual awareness. However, in persons with mirror-touch synaesthesia, the sight of a touch on another person elicits conscious tactile experiences on their own bodies (Blakemore et al., 2005). In a sham-controlled study (healthy participants, N=32), by combining anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS, 1.5 mA, 16 min) with a vision-touch interference task developed for studying mirror-touch synaesthesia (Banissy and Ward, 2007), we show that the enhancement of cortical excitability in the primary somatosensory cortex promotes the emergence of synaesthesia-like effects even in non-synaesthetes. Interestingly, these effects are linked with inter-individual differences in cognitive aspects of empathy. Conversely, increasing excitability in the premotor cortex facilitates the integration of spatially congruent viewed and felt touches, without inducing synaesthesia-like effects; the crossmodal facilitation by premotor tDCS is not associated with empathy, thereby confirming the functional dissociation between somatosensory and premotor areas within the tactile mirror system. This evidence indicates that mirror-touch synaesthesia reflects general crossmodal mechanisms associated with emphatic abilities: by increasing the excitability of the tactile mirror system, synaesthesia-like responses may be revealed in non-synaesthetic individuals.

Alex Dan, Alex Dan and Miriam Reiner

Remote interaction, especially learning and teaching became embedded in everyday functioning of corporates, educational systems and basic needs for the public. This study examines the role of multisensory integration in a touch enabled virtual world that includes physiological realistic, real-time, avatar. Interaction with the Human Realistic Avatar involves integration of auditory and visual stimuli, in the process of mimicking the motor behavior of the avatar. We ask what are the mechanisms of multisensory integration involved in the mimicking process of the avatar. In the study, we used a task with motor and cognitive components. The dependent variables were the cognitive load as measured by EEG and students’ perceived cognitive load based on questionnaires. We measured the spectrum EEG using two channels.

We believe that multisensory integration of visual cues that exhibit biological motion of the avatar, result in automatic and, therefore, effortless embodiment of a mental motor plan. From a learning perspective, this might reduce the cognitive load, by leaving more working memory capacity available for processes such as elaboration or reflection on intentions of actions.

The results of the pilot study support the assumptions. Results show that there are some other EEG measures that may be associated with the activation of neuron mirror system, which should be taken in consideration in further research.

Pier F. Ferrari

Abstract

One of the key questions in understanding human morality is how central are emotions in influencing our decisions and in our moral judgments. Theoretical work has proposed that empathy could play an important role in guiding our tendencies to behave altruistically or selfishly. Neurosciences suggest that one of the core elements of empathic behaviour in human and nonhuman primates is the capacity to internally mimic the behaviour of others, through the activation of shared motor representations. Part of the neural circuits involves parietal and premotor cortical regions (mirror system), in conjunction with other areas, such as the insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. Together with this embodied neural mechanism, there is a cognitive route in which individuals can evaluate the social situation without necessary sharing the emotional state of others. For example, several brain areas of the prefrontal cortex track the effects of one’s own behaviour and of the value of one’s own actions in social contexts. It is here proposed that, moral cognition could emerge as the consequence of the activity of emotional processing brain networks, probably involving mirror mechanisms, and of brain regions that, through abstract-inferential processing, evaluate the social context and the value of actions in terms of abstract representations. A comparative-based approach to the neurobiology of social relations and decision-making may explain how complex mental faculties, such as moral judgments, have their foundations in brain networks endowed with functions related to emotional and abstract-evaluation processing of goods. It is proposed that in primate evolution these brain circuits have been co-opted in the social domain to integrate mechanisms of self-reward, estimation of negative outcomes, with emotional engagement.

Susanna Erlandsson

outcomes at the political level. Holmes spends some sixty pages discussing the mechanism of intention understanding and the science of the mirroring system of the brain. The problem of intentions is central to International Relations theory, he says, as it is at the core of the uncertainty that causes a

Elisabetta Pitotto

, plausible though it may be, would have been advisable on Power’s part, especially in connection with the complex mirroring system he envisages between kitharôidia and Stesichorean performance format. However, there is no doubt that the complex of direct and indirect literary sources, iconographic

Olga Krasnyak

action within higher-level outcomes (Holmes, p. 257); and conducting experiments on the mirroring system may serve in making predictions about complex social interactions (Holmes, p. 258). To realize how ‘intention understanding’ operates, Holmes employs neuroscience techniques that enable the detection

Helge Gillmeister, Natalie Bowling, Silvia Rigato and Michael J. Banissy

somatosensory cortices), sensorimotor processing (e.g., premotor and parietal cortices), and self–other distinction (e.g., superior temporal sulcus). In this regard, vicarious tactile perception in the brain is often referred to as being a consequence of a mirroring system for touch (or mirror-touch system) — a

Series:

Barbara Baert

can argue that there is a synesthetic quality to all art experiences, that art revives a multimodal-sensory self. While looking at a painting, for example, don’t we feel the brush? Studies have shown that mirror systems are active when people look at visual art and are also activated by written