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Reaching to Grasp Cognition: Analyzing Motor Behavior to Investigate Social Interactions

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889456000 Year: Pages: 138 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-600-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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How humans plan and execute their actions has always been a fascinating topic for neuroscience and psychology. In particular, kinematics studies have contributed to shed light on how very basic actions (e.g. reaching-grasping) are affected by manipulating target properties, visually or linguistically presented stimuli, absence or presence of contextual information. Interestingly, recent studies have also shown how the social context in which actions take place and their relevance for human interactions can also affect the execution of very simple actions. This research topic aims to bring together researchers from psychology and neuroscience with a special focus on the use of kinematics analysis for the study of socially relevant aspects of cognition (e.g. action observation, competition/cooperation, complementary actions, coordination, shared emotions and so on).

What can we make of theories of embodiment and the role of the human mirror neuron system?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197613 Year: Pages: 116 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-761-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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In recent years, work surrounding theories of embodiment and the role of the putative mirror neuron system (MNS) in humans has gained considerable attention. If humans have developed a net-work of neurons that fire in response to other beings’ actions, as has been shown in macaques, this system could have vast implications for all kinds of cognitive processes unique to humans, such as language, learning, empathy and communication in general. The goal of tapping into and understanding such a system is a fascinating yet challenging one. One form of embodiment - embodied linguistics - suggests that the way we process linguistic information is linked to our physical experience of the concept conveyed by each word. The interaction between these cognitive systems (i.e., language and motor processing) may occur thanks to the firing of neurons making up the MNS. The possible interdependence between different cognitive systems has implications for healthy as well as pathological profiles, and in fact, work in recent years has also explored the role of ‘embodiment’ and/or the MNS in clinical populations such as stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Autism, among others. Research on embodiment and/or the MNS has been approached with a number of different methodologies, but the results obtained with these different methodologies have not been entirely consistent, generating doubts regarding the theories. The question has been raised as to what this line of inquiry can gain from the types of evidence contributed by functional neuroimaging methods carried out with healthy volunteers versus behavioral or lesion-symptom mapping methods employed with neurologically-compromised individuals. Of particular interest are the clinical applications of this line of research. If indeed a system exists which reflects a tight link between, for example, the human language and motor systems, then the obvious challenge is to tap into this system to create useful therapies that can provide rehabilitation where damage has occurred. This Research Topic brought together work conducted with healthy and patient populations using several behavioral and imaging techniques, as well as insightful commentaries and opinion pieces. We believe the combined work of the participating authors is an important contribution to this intriguing line of research and an excellent point of reference for future work.

Learning in Social Context: The Nature and Profit of Living in Groups for Development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451821 Year: Pages: 87 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-182-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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One of the distinctive features of humans is their unique sociality. Humans live in organized societies that are characterized by a high level of interdependence of group members in various aspects of life, ranging from the economic phenomenon of labour division to providing emotional support to others. Under these circumstances, the capacity to track social connections within and between groups has great adaptive value in managing everyday life. We may understand the importance and adaptive value of tracking the scope of culturally shared knowledge if we consider the importance of cultural norms in guiding behaviour. To become a competent member of their cultural group one must be able to conform to the group's specific behavioural norms and to accumulate culturally shared knowledge. Acquiring this knowledge is essential for successful social interactions. In contrast to current dominant explanatory theories emphasizing that social category formation is simply rooted in humans’ need to belong and affiliate with a group, the aim of this e-book is to provide evidence that, in addition to its affiliative role, children form social categories for epistemic purposes. We show that children use specific cues, like kinship, patterns of resource allocation and consensus to understand group cohesion (Section 1). Once children figured out who is in-group and who is out-group, they show a significant in-group bias in attention, acting and learning (Section 2). Yet, this in-group bias can be attenuated by induced synchronous behavior (Section 3).

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