I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Vol.4 2015.03.16 YOTSUMOTO Yuko

The Brain, the Mind and the Mirror


The theme of this lecture is ‘The Brain, the Mind and the Mirror’. Therefore, I am going to refer to the information of cognitive brain science and psychology regarding the mirror. I will give an outline of ‘mirror self-recognition’, ‘mirror drawing’, ‘mirror therapy’ and ‘mirror neuron’ and will introduce the experimental method which verifies their mechanisms. Firstly, I am going to discuss the reason why we are able to recognize ourselves in the mirror as our self as well as verifying whether animals are able to recognize themselves in the mirror as them self. Although the image, which is reflected in the mirror, is reversed right and left, why the top and bottom is not reversed (‘mirror self-recognition’)? Secondly, we will learn the role of the right and the left cerebral hemispheres and examine the nature of communication between the right brain and the left brain through demonstration experiments called mirror drawing (‘mirror drawing’). Thirdly, we are going to learn the mechanism of the sensory area and the motor area in the cerebral cortex and will comprehend the contrivance of ‘mirror therapy’. Utilizing the mutual function of information processing and visual sensation, mirror therapy makes people, who lost the functions of sense and motion owing to a cerebral infarction or a brain haemorrhage, recover (‘mirror therapy’). Finally, I will explain the mechanism of the mirror neuron and its achievement, which is regarded as one of the greatest scientific discoveries in the 20th century (‘mirror neuron’). The purpose of this lecture is to understand the mechanism of human cognition through the theory and experimentation regarding the mirror in cognitive neuroscience and psychology. (We are going to conduct an experiment on the measurement time for ‘mirror drawing’. Bring your stop-watch or a watch which has a second hand if you have it.) 


Associate Professor at the Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo She obtained her PhD in psychology at Brandeis University. Focussed on cognitive neuroscience, she has studied the process in which various information is conducted and combined in the brain and becomes ‘perception and consciousness’, through behavioural experimentation and measurement of brain activity.

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