Today we are very fortunate to have a visit from Vittorio Gallese, the distinguished neuroscientist in the famous Parma Lab that first identified and began doing extensive research on mirror neurons, those amazing specialized neurons throughout the brains of primates, including humans, that react to actions performed by others. What the Parma scientists discovered is that, on a neurological level, our brain responds to the actions of others in the same way that it responds if we do the very same action ourselves. Empathy, artist appreciation, audience response, literary appreciation, and many other forms of social and aesthetic cognition are now thought to be deeply embedded biological as well as psychological conditions.
As usual in "Twenty-First Century Literacies," my students make up the syllabus. In this case, they are making up a unit on "Social Cognition and Collaboration" as literacies that have been changed because of the ways we all work on line. Below is the reading list they have come up with for all of us to help prepare ourselves to Professor Gallese's visit and to tie his lecture into the fabric of our ever-evolving, student-driven course. As with the previous postings, this is as good a list of readings on this subject as you will find anywhere.
Thank you, yet again, dear students who are teaching all of us so much!
READINGS ON SOCIAL COGNITION AND COLLABORATION (MIRROR NEURONS) FOR ENGLISH 90 S: "21ST CENTURY LITERACIES" (a student-led course)
Click to open:
Group 3: Social Cognition and Collaboration (Mirror Neurons)
Group 3 Literacies: Social Cognition and Collaboration (Mirror Neurons)
Taryn and Zach
The Mirror Neuron System and Observational Learning: Implications for the Effectiveness of Dynamic Visualizations
The mirror neuron system and its function in humans
Healing into Possibility
Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading
(I’m fairly sure Gallese considers this theory to be debatable but there are some interesting and informative points)
Exposing Yourself: Three Applications For Mirror Neurons