The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition

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Product Details
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.11 X 0.84 X 9.75 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author
Gregory Hickok is a professor of cognitive science at University of California, Irvine, where he directs the Center for Language Science and the Auditory and Language Neuroscience Lab.
A devastating critique of one of the most oversold ideas in psychology.--Gary Marcus, cognitive psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Guitar Zero
A bold look at one of the most exciting theories in neuroscience [and] an inspiring example of experimental science at work: The initial theory of mirror neurons may have had a false start, but it inspired an even more complex and interesting story that is just beginning to unfold.
This book is the scientific analog of a courtroom thriller: against long odds, the brilliant underdog logically, methodically, and with disarming grace and hard facts takes down his fashionable opponent--the 'Mirror Neuron' colossus, long the darling of the don't-look-too-closely crew. Hickok does not leave us empty-handed, however, but outlines what an alternative to mirror theory might look like.--Patricia Churchland, professor of philosophy emerita at the University of California, San Diego
[Hickock's] impressive handling of basic neuroscience makes a complex topic understandable to the general reader as he delves into cutting-edge science.
Every now and again an idea from science escapes from the lab and takes on a life of its own as an explanation for all mysteries, a validation of our deepest yearnings, and irresistible bait for journalists and humanities scholars. Examples include relativity, uncertainty, incompleteness, punctuated equilibrium, plasticity, complexity, epigenetics, and, for much of the twenty-first century, mirror neurons. In this lively, accessible, and eminently sensible analysis, the distinguished cognitive neuroscientist Greg Hickok puts an end to this monkey business by showing that mirror neurons do not, in fact, explain language, empathy, society, and world peace. But this is not a negative exposé--the reader of this book will learn a great deal of the contemporary sciences of language, mind, and brain, and will find that the reality is more exciting than the mythology.--Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate