ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2016, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (4): 444-456.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00444

• 论文 • 上一篇    



  1. (广州大学心理与脑科学研究中心, 广州 510006)
  • 收稿日期:2015-07-18 出版日期:2016-04-25 发布日期:2016-04-25
  • 通讯作者: 叶浩生, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:


The significances of mirror neurons

YE Haosheng   

  1. (The Center for Mind and Brain Science, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China)
  • Received:2015-07-18 Online:2016-04-25 Published:2016-04-25
  • Contact: YE Haosheng, E-mail:


镜像神经元是一种感觉–运动神经元。它的典型特征是在动作观察和动作执行两个阶段皆被激活。多年来, 由于研究伦理的限制, 研究恒河猴时使用的单细胞电极植入方式无法应用于人类, 因而不能确定人类大脑皮层是否也存在着具有同样功能的神经细胞。但是通过脑成像技术, 神经科学家确定人类大脑皮层存在着具有相同或类似功能的脑区, 称为“镜像神经系统”。文章对镜像神经元及其人类镜像神经系统的意义进行了深入分析, 指出:(1)由于镜像机制把动作知觉和动作执行进行匹配, 观察者仅仅通过他人行为的知觉, 就激活了执行这一动作的神经环路, 产生了一种他人动作的具身模拟, 因而可以直接把握他人的行为意图; (2)镜像神经元所表现出来的那种动作知觉与动作执行的双重激活功能支持了身心一体说, 从方法论上证明了身心二元论的缺陷, 为身心的整体观提供了神经生物学的证据; (3)镜像神经机制把他人的动作与自己的运动系统相匹配, 以自身动作的神经环路对他人的动作做出回应, 促进了人际理解和沟通, 成为社会沟通的“神经桥梁”。

关键词: 镜像神经元, 镜像神经系统, 镜像机制, 具身模拟, 认知具身性


Mirror neurons are a class of sensorimotor neurons in the monkey premotor and parietal cortices. These neurons have both motor and visual properties: they discharge not only when a monkey performs a goal-directed action, but also when the monkey passively observes a same or similar action performed by another agent. Because the observed action seems to be “reflected”, like in a mirror, these neurons are called mirror neurons. Over the years, due to the restriction of research ethics, the techniques of single-cell electrodes-implanted can not be used in human brain research. Therefore, it was not certain that whether or not there are also mirror neurons in human brain. However, through the studies of brain image such as TMS, PET, EEG, MEG and FMRI, it is now certain that there are some brain areas which have same or similar functions as mirror neurons. These brain areas are called mirror neuron system. In this article, the significances of mirror neurons and human mirror neuron systems are discussed in depth. It states that: (1) Just because of the mirror mechanism that can match action observation with action execution, the observer’s neural network involved in action execution will be activated by just seeing others’ actions. Mirror neuron systems project the perceived actions back onto one’s own motor representation of similar actions, the individual will automatically and unconsciously perform a dynamic simulation of the observed action in one’s own motor system. This simulation, in turn, allows the individual to create directly an embodied understanding of the observed person’s thoughts, feelings and intention of behavior. (2) The fact that mirror neurons fire both in action execution and in action observation shows that The mind and body are not two kinds of substance, but an integrated one. Our body's physical and physiological processes and our mental processes, in the essence, are different respects of the same activity of adaptation. They are one activity instead of two. it seems that mirror neurons bridge the gap between mind and body. It opens a new vision for reconsidering the mind-body relationship and provide a strong neurophysiological support for the unity of mind and body. (3) Mirror neurons unify action perception and action execution, enable us not only to understand the intentions and actions of others, but to build social networks, allowing us to feel another’s emotions such as joys and pains as our own. By means of the shared neural underpinnings, others’ intention, feelings and emotions become our own. Thus, mirror neurons act as a “neural bridge” between different individuals in social communication.

Key words: mirror neurons, mirror neuron systems, mirror mechanisms, embodied simulation, embodiment of cognition

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