•  6
    A causal view of the sense of agency
    Philosophical Psychology 35 (3): 442-465. 2022.
  • This chapter offers a brief review of theories on mirror neuron development, highlighting different models. These models focus on either the role of genetic mechanisms or the contributions of experience and of learning processes in shaping the brain circuits involved in action–perception coupling. As an alternative, the chapter proposes an epigenetic model for mirror neuron development, explaining how such a model can help to elucidate, within a unifying explanatory framework, the emergence, div…Read more
  • Faces in the mirror, from the neuroscience of mimicry to the emergence of mentalizing
    with Antonella Tramacere and Pier Francesco Ferrari
    Journal of Anthropological Studies 94 1-14. 2016.
    In the current opinion paper, we provide a comparative perspective on specific aspects of primate empathic abilities, with particular emphasis on the mirror neuron system associated with mouth/face actions and expression. Mouth and faces can be very salient communicative classes of stimuli that allow an observer access to the emotional and physiological content of other individuals. We thus describe patterns of activations of neural populations related to observation and execution of specific mo…Read more
  •  2
    Considering the properties of mirror neurons (MNs) in terms of development and phylogeny, we offer a novel, unifying, and testable account of their evolution according to the available data and try to unify apparently discordant research, including the plasticity of MNs during development, their adaptive value and their phylogenetic relationships and continuity. We hypothesize that the MN system reflects a set of interrelated traits, each with an independent natural history due to unique selecti…Read more
  •  2
    Auditory-Motor Matching in Vocal Recognition and Imitative Learning
    with Antonella Tramacere, Pier Francesco Ferrari, Atsushi Iriki, Kazuo Okanoya, and Kazuhiro Wada
    Neuroscience 409 222-234. 2019.
    Songbirds possess mirror neurons (MNs) activating during the perception and execution of specific features of songs. These neurons are located in high vocal center (HVC), a premotor nucleus implicated in song perception, production and learning, making worth to inquire their properties and functions in vocal recognition and imitative learning. By integrating a body of brain and behavioral data, we discuss neurophysiology, anatomical, computational properties and possible functions of songbird MN…Read more
  •  88
    Humans are uncontroversially better than other species at learning from their peers. A key example of this is imitation, the ability to reproduce both the means and ends of others’ behaviours. Imitation is critical to the acquisition of a number of uniquely human cultural and cognitive traits. However, while authors largely agree on the importance of imitation, they disagree about the origins of imitation in humans. Some argue that imitation is an adaptation, connected to the ‘Mirror Neuron Syst…Read more
  •  32
    In this paper, we distinguish between a number of different phenomena that have been called imitation, and identify one form—a high fidelity mechanism for social learning—considered to be crucial for the development of language. Subsequently, we consider a common claim in the language evolution literature, which is that prior to the emergence of vocal language our ancestors communicated using a sophisticated gestural protolanguage, the learning of some parts of which required manual imitation. D…Read more
  •  9
    Putting microbiota-gut-brain research in a systemic developmental context: Focus on breast milk
    with Brittany Howell
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42. 2019.
    The microbiota-gut-brain field holds huge potential for understanding behavioral development and informing effective early interventions for psychological health. To realize this potential, factors that shape the MGB axis in infancy must be integrated into a systemic framework that considers salient behavioral outcomes. This is best accomplished applying network analyses in large prospective, longitudinal investigations in humans.
  •  32
    The Emotional Modulation of Facial Mimicry: A Kinematic Study
    with Pier F. Ferrari, Maurizio Gentilucci, Valeria Giuffrida, and Doriana De Marco
    Frontiers in Psychology 8. 2018.
  •  51
    Mirror neurons through the lens of epigenetics
    with Pier F. Ferrari, Elizabeth A. Simpson, and Atsushi Iriki
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (9): 450-457. 2013.
  •  9
    Neonatal imitation and an epigenetic account of mirror neuron development
    with Elizabeth A. Simpson, Nathan A. Fox, and Pier F. Ferrari
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2): 220-220. 2014.