Infant Brains Tuned to Observation of Other People's Actions
[Source: Medical News Today]
Infant brains are surprisingly sensitive to other people’s movements, according to new research published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Joni Saby and colleagues at Temple University and the University of Washington.
When adults see other humans making movements with specific body parts, the parts of their brains devoted to moving those body parts also become activated. While watching someone moving their hand, the part of your cortex devoted to moving your own hand also becomes active. There are various developmental and evolutionary theories as to why this might be the case, one of which being that it might be a neurobiological foundation of our ability to imitate others, which is necessary for cultural learning and language development. Until now, however, this phenomenon has only been observed in adults, and researchers chose to investigate whether the infant brain also shows this sensitivity.
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