By George Monbiot
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Additional info for Anti-Capitalism: A Guide to the Movement (Revolutionary Portraits)
On the other hand, we have argued that, when the firing of mirror neurons actually does accompany some behaviour of others, it cannot be said that this firing is useful in interpreting the behaviour nor in predicting the following step. On the basis of these points, we have some support to reject this as the function of mirror neurons. â•‡ Monkeys’ mirror neurons In summary, it does not appear to be at all clear that, at their origin, mirror neurons have the adaptive function of understanding or predicting the behaviour of others.
There is mirroring for paper tearing and tool use (see these data in Kohler et al. ; Umiltà et al. ). However, this answer does not persuade me. The fact that the peculiarities of the paper or the tool must obviously be learned does not necessarily imply that the basic connections cannot be innate. Consequently I think that the suggested experiment would be helpful. Becoming Human In short, despite much research, we do not yet have answers for our questions or, more precisely, we still cannot decide definitely which alternative is the valid one.
While any primate is capable of clearly perceiving the similarities between its own hand and that of another individual, nothing like this occurs in other animals. A cat can see only a small part of its own tail or feet, from which it is impossible for it to see any similarity with the corresponding parts of another cat. Even an elephant’s trunk differs greatly from primates’ hands. The base of an elephant’s trunk is so close to its eyes that, whenever it sees its trunk, the matching with another elephant’s trunk will only be partial and imperfect.
Anti-Capitalism: A Guide to the Movement (Revolutionary Portraits) by George Monbiot