Mirror Neurons

When we perceive that someone else is doing something, our brain experiences it as if we were doing the thing ourselves. So, if a certain part of our brain gets active when we open a bag of potato chips, that same part of our friend's brain gets active when he hears us open the chips. These brain parts are called mirror neurons (Rizzolatti, 2004). If we want to strengthen our own brain, we have to surround ourselves with people (and media) that do what we'd like to be able to do. If we want to teach our children how to be a certain way, we need to model that behavior ourselves. With babies, we call this "serve and return."

Mirror Neurons explained on NOVA
Watch a NOVA special on Mirror Neurons, including interviews with leaders in the field Rizzolati and Iacoboni

Serve and return
Watch a video about Serve & Return: how caregivers engage and respond to infants.