Volume 19, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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It is now generally accepted that the motor system is not purely dedicated to the control of behavior, but also has cognitive functions. Mirror neurons have provided a new perspective on how sensory information regarding others’ actions and gestures is coupled with the internal cortical motor representation of them. This coupling allows an individual to enrich his interpretation of the social world through the activation of his own motor representations. Such mechanisms have been highly preserved in evolution as they are present in humans, apes and monkeys. Recent neuroanatomical data showed that there are two different connectivity patterns in mirror neuron networks in the macaque: one is concerned with sensorimotor transformation in relation to reaching and hand grasping within the traditional parietal-premotor circuits; the second one is linked to the mouth/face motor control and the new data show that it is connected with limbic structures. The mouth mirror sector seems to be wired not only for ingestive behaviors but also for orofacial communicative gestures and vocalizations. Notably, the hand and mouth mirror networks partially overlap, suggesting the importance of hand-mouth synergies not only for sensorimotor transformation, but also for communicative purposes in order to better convey and control social signals.


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Keyword(s): communicative gesture; limbic system; macaque; mirror neuron; premotor cortex

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