Monkey See, Monkey Do

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Hey, people! Today I'm looking at science... which is odd, 'cause typically I abhor it. However, I find these mirror neurons things to be quite fascinating, so if you don't know what they are, keep reading. If you do, then hopefully you're as entranced by them as I am. Hm. I don't think entranced is the right word. Amazed? Astonished? Anyhow... First I'm going to explain how I came across this scientific stuff.

In a story I'm writing, there is a girl who almost gets into a car crash because of the terrible pain she experiences. She doesn't know it then, but that was the exact moment when her sister was murdered. I remembered hearing about people having similar experiences, but I couldn't remember the cause. I looked up the term 'sympathy pain,' hoping I was correct... Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when a bunch of pregnancy terms came up in the search. There was, however, a link to a question-and-answer site. Someone had asked about sympathy pain, and somebody (who I am now eternally grateful to) posted an extremely detailed and complex answer, which included not one, not two, but three links to research sites involving mirror neurons.

Mirror neurons, I learned, are the cause of sympathy pain; although there is no actual harm done to you, you sense it mentally... I think... It's a bit hard for me to comprehend, and even harder for me to explain, so just bear with me here.

So, mirror neurons are things in your brain that are pretty social. They help you connect on an emotional level with others. The way they work is pretty simple; you see someone do something, and your mirror neurons stimulate your brain, telling you to copy the action. The strength of the stimulation varies depending on your current emotional attachment with the person. Say you were irritated with your whiny classmate. You're probably not going to have the urge to act like they do. However, someone you're more emotionally attached to, like your best friend, will make the neurons act up again, causing you to want to mimic their actions.

Confused yet? I am, although I'm slowly understanding more of it.

Now, on one of the webpages I unearthed, I saw something really interesting. It said if you had the correct emotional level/connection with another, the mirror neurons could stimulate mind-reading.

I saw that and kinda freaked. In a good way. I am so bewildered. My mind has been blown away. So... go do some research of your own now. 'Cause this stuff is awesome. What are you waiting for? Go. Go! GO!

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