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Bilkent University

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Undergraduate and Graduate Programs 2023-2024

PSYC 311 Mirroring Processes in Social Cognition

Since their discovery in monkeys in 1992, mirror neurons, which fire in response both to the performance and to the observation of specific actions, have been the focus of an extensive debate in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Multiple brain imaging techniques have shown that humans also possess a homologous neural structure, the putative mirror neuron system (MNS). Over the past 25 years, a broad range of functions have been ascribed to this neural system. It is thought to be involved in action understanding, imitation, empathy, language processing, social interaction and certain types of learning. MNS is probably essential for learning actions and goals from others by direct and automatic linking of observed actions and corresponding motor areas in the brain. This course is designed to introduce the key functions of this neural system in social cognition. To this end, the class will examine the main neuroanatomy, physiology as well as the clinical evidence for this neural structure. At the end of the semester, students will be able to understand the main underlying mechanism of social cognition in brain. Credit units: 3 ECTS Credit units: 5, Prerequisite: PSYC 220.

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