ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 405-418.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00405

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Connotations and Extensions of “Mirrorness”: The Controversies on Mirror Neurons

CHEN Bo1,2; CHEN Wei3,4; ZHANG Jing4; YUAN Tifei5   

  1. (1 Scientific Instruments Department, ISEN Tech. & Trading Co., Ltd, Beijing 100086, China) (2 Center for Cognition and Brain Disorders, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 310015, China) (3 Department of Psychology, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing, 312000, China) (4 Center for Language and Cognition Research, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310028, China) (5 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2013-08-19 Online:2015-03-15 Published:2015-03-15
  • Contact: 陈巍, E-mail:


Mirror neurons are considered to be the important findings which had been changing cognitive neuroscience. They provide a uniform perspective of study for lots of mind or cognitive phenomena which can’t be tested by experiments yet. Their crucial role in social cognition leads to researchers’ extensive attentions and drastic controversies. The authors review the main arguments according to the logic relations and properties, and divide them into two categories: one is about the mirror connotations, including the disputations in whether the human brain contains mirror neurons and their origin; the other one focuses mainly on the mirror extensions consisting of the contentions of mirror neuron system and mirror mechanism. The future investigations must abandon the tendency of reductionism that regards mirror neurons as “Holy Grail of Cognitive Science”, but consider them as open complex giant systems which are consisted of multiple sub systems, and transfer our attentions to the mirror mechanism.

Key words: mirror neurons, mirror connotations, mirror extensions, mirror neuron system, mirror mechanism