One stop on Alan Alda’s Human Spark journey was a visit with Marco Iacoboni at UCLA. Marco’s area of interest is mirror neurons. These cells in our brains are each active when we perform very particular tasks – such as picking up a fork, or slamming a door – and also when we are simply watching someone else do that same task. In this video, Marco explains his research to Alan and describes how mirror neurons seem sensitive to the intention behind each specific action that’s observed.
Why would mirror neurons be especially important for human beings to possess?