In this second episode of HOM Videos on The Neuroscience of Mimesis, Vittorio Gallese discusses with Nidesh Lawtoo important precursors of the discovery of mirror neurons in aesthetics, phenomenology and the tradition of the mimetic unconscious: from Nietzsche to Lipps, Merleau-Ponty to Aby Warburg, Charles Féré to Pierre Janet, a number of fin-de-siecle philosophical physicians were sensitive to the mirroring relation between movement and sensation later confirmed by the discovery of mirror neurons.
As HOM Videos moves toward a conclusion, Nidesh Lawtoo travels to Parma, Italy, to interview neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese who, along with Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team, discovered mirror neurons in the early 1990s. In the first of four episodes on a major contribution to the mimetic turn, Gallese retells the history of the discovery of mirror neurons in nonhuman and human primates, discusses what more is known about mirroring mechanisms 30 years later, and begins to lay out the theoretical implications of embodied simulation for the transformations of homo mimeticus in the 21st century.
When navigating the parallel world of fictional narrative, we basically rely on the same brain-body resources shaped by our relation to mundane reality, since both realms are characterized by similar social practices and performative acts. Cognitive narratology reveals that readers make sense of complex narratives by relying on very few textual or discourse cues.