Mirror neurons activate when we see another perform an action we are familiar with – we feel partly as if we also are involved in the process – we empathise. Empathy comes to us through sounds also, especially music.
When we listen to music, we internalize some of the emotions and notions the composer. Sadness, glee, hard rocking enthusiasm, heartbreak.
Tunes also run through our head, and we take on the emotional states related to them.
Chi-kung can be similar to singing a type of song – a kinethetic song. We can re-create feelings of ease and satisfaction, or love, or sexuality, by focusing on feelings in the body.
Monday, September 18th, 2006
Ever wondered how some people can put themselves into another person’s shoes and some people cannot? Our ability to empathise with others seems to depend on the action of “mirror neurons” in the brain, according to a new study.
Mirror neurons, known to exist in humans and in macaque monkeys, activate when an action is observed, and also when it is performed. Now new research reveals that there are mirror neurons in humans that fire when sounds are heard. In other words, if you hear the noise of someone eating an apple, some of the same neurons fire as when you eat the apple yourself.
So-called auditory mirror neurons were known only in macaques. To determine if they exist in humans Valeria Gazzola, at the school of behavioural and cognitive neurosciences neuroimaging centre at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and colleagues, put 16 volunteers into functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners and observed their brains as they were played different noises.
The volunteers heard noises such as a sheet of paper being torn, or of someone crunching potato chips. Then the same subjects were scanned again, this time whilst tearing a piece of paper, or eating potato chips.