Neuro Humanities Studies

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Grazia Pulvirenti, Renata Gambino, The paradox of Romantic ekphrasis. Metacritic discourse, perception and imagination in art descripti


Ekphrasis is a text genre based on the intertwining of visual and verbal features, involving the processes of both reading, and priming a visual image or a related action. We argue in this study that...

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Leonardo Fogassi, Pier Francesco Ferrari,

Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Embodied Language


Year: 2007
Topics: Cognition;
Disciplines: Anthropology; Linguistics;

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Mirror neurons are a class of neurons first discovered in the monkey premotor cortex that activate both when the monkey executes an action and when it observes the same action made by another individual. These neurons enable individuals to understand actions performed by others. Two subcategories of mirror neurons in monkeys activate when they listen to action sounds and when they observe communicative gestures made by others, respectively. The properties of mirror neurons could constitute a substrate from which more sophisticated forms of communication evolved; this would make sense, given the anatomical and functional homology between part of the monkey premotor cortex and Broca's area (the 'speech' area of the brain) in humans. We hypothesize that several components of human language, including some aspects of phonology and syntax, could be embedded in the organizational properties of the motor system and that a deeper knowledge of this system could shed light on how language evolved.

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