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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.

Interactions between emotions and social context: Basic, clinical and non-human evidence

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193196 Year: Pages: 217 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-319-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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The emotions that we feel and also those that we perceive in others are crucial to the social functioning of both humans and non-human animals. Although the role of context has been extensively studied in basic sensory processing, its relevance for social cognition and emotional processing is little understood. In recent years, several lines of research at the behavioral and neural levels have highlighted the bidirectional interactions that take place between emotions and social context. Experienced emotions, even when incidental, bias decision-making. Remarkably, even basic emotions can be strongly influenced by situational contexts. In addition, both humans and non-human animals can use emotional expressions strategically as a means of influencing and managing the behavioral response of others in relation to specific environmental situations. Moreover, social emotions (e.g., engaged in moral judgment, empathic concern and social norms) seem to be context-dependent, which also questions a purely abstract account of emotion understanding and expression, as well as other social cognition domains. The present Research Topic of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience highlights the need for a situated approach to emotion and social cognition. We presented theoretical and empirical work at the behavioral and neural levels that contribute to our understanding of emotion within a highly contextualized social realm, and vice-versa. Relevant contributions are presented from diverse fields, including ethology, neurology, biology, cognitive and social neuroscience, and as well as psychology and neuropsychiatry. This integrated approach that entails the interaction between emotion and social context provide important new insights into the growing field of social neuroscience.

Human and Animal Models for Translational Research on Neurodegeneration: Challenges and Opportunities From South America

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889454945 Year: Pages: 217 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-494-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:42
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Neurodegenerative diseases are the most frequent cause of dementia, representing a burden for public health systems (especially in middle and middle-high income countries). Although most research on this issue is concentrated in first-world centers, growing efforts in South America are affording important breakthroughs. This emerging agenda poses new challenges for the region but also new opportunities for the field. This book aims to integrate the community of experts across the globe and the region, and to establish new challenges and developments for future investigation. We present research focused on neurodegenerative research in South America. We introduce studies assessing the interplay among genetic, neural, and behavioral dimensions of these diseases, as well as articles on vulnerability factors, comparisons of findings from various countries, and works promoting multicenter and collaborative networking. More generally, our book covers a broad scope of human-research approaches (behavioral assessment, neuroimaging, electromagnetic techniques, brain connectivity, peripheral measures), animal methodologies (genetics, epigenetics, proteomics, metabolomics, other molecular biology tools), species (all human and non-human animals, sporadic, and genetic versions), and article types (original research, review, and opinion papers). Through this wide-ranging proposal, we hope to introduce a fresh approach to the challenges and opportunities of research on neurodegeneration in South America.

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