Friday, February 25, 2005

Appreciation and Empathy. Is it your Mirror Neurons at work?

Why is it we connect so deeply when we watch other people, especially when we have some knowledge of the actions they are performing? Why do we get so involved with sports teams and have such emotional reactions to movies?

It could be our mirror neurons. Studies with monkeys tracked brain "noise" when they picked up a peanut and initially thought that this was a motion indicator. When the motionless monkey saw someone else pick up the peanut, its brain made the same "noise". We know we learn by watching and then copying. Is this what we are uniquely designed to do? Watch this PBS clip and hear scientists speclating that we are predisposed to empathy and social contact. If we weren't we would need the mirror neurons...and we wouldn't have them.

The implications for learning at work are immense. If I don't see you do something, does this mean I can't really empathize with your needs, challenges and successes? Information and checklists may intellectually teach how another group performs it's tasks. If we want people to care - they got to see!

Take a look.


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