Purpose of the Workhop

The finding of mirror neurons in the monkey brain has been considered one of the most influential discoveries in neurosciences and had a profound impact in several fields, ranging from neuroscience and psychology to ethology and even philosophy. This discovery challenged the classical view of segregate sensory and motor functions in the brain, indicating that perception and action, by sharing the same neuronal substrates, enables individuals to have a direct route into others' experience. Most importantly, this discovery attracted the attention of scientists from many disciplines given its possible implications in explaining different aspects of the social nature of humans. Despite a growing number of empirical investigations on mirror neurons, still several issues need to be clarified about their emergence and functions.

This workshop will present the state of art on the mirror mechanism studies 20 years after their discovery and will shed light on the basic mechanisms, their anatomical substrates, the human-monkeys differences, the emergence during ontogeny, the main functions and psychopathologies related to their impairment.

Many of the most prominent scientists from a variety of fields will gather in Erice to present new data and discuss these exciting topics. Neuroscientists, psychologists, ethologists will interact with the intent to produce an update and exhaustive picture of the human and animal studies on the mirror mechanisms and their functions.

  1. Sessions will cover the following five themes:
  2. Basic findings and concepts in action-perception theory.
  3. Emotion and communication.
  4. Development and evolution.
  5. Theoretical and clinical implications.

Around each of these themes, speakers with different backgrounds will interact. A limited number of young scientists and students will be selected to offer brief oral presentations. A poster session will allow further scientific contributions. During the workshop, a one-day trip to the Greek temple is scheduled for all participants.