Mirror Neurons – the human brain harbors multiple mirror neurons systems, not just for mimicking actions but also for reading emotions and for extracting the social implications from what someone does.
Mirror neurons make emotions contagious, letting the feelings we witness flow through us, helping us get in synch and follow what’s going on. We “feel” the other in the broadest sense of the word: sensing their sentiments, their movements, their sensations, and their emotions as they act inside us.
Mirror neurons ensure that the moment someone sees an emotion expressed on your face, they will at once sense that same feeling within themselves. And so our emotions are experienced not merely by ourselves in isolation but also by those around us – both covertly and openly.
Mirror neurons appear to be essential to the way children learn. As children watch others, they are etching in their own brains a repertoire for emotion, for behavior, and for how the world works.
Oscillators –neural systems that act like clocks, resetting over and over their rate of firing to coordinate with the periodicity of an incoming signal, whenever we find ourselves in such harmony with someone else. When we are with another person, these timekeepers put us in synch unconsciously, like when lovers approach for an embrace, or take each other’s hands at just the right instant when they walk down the street.
Neuroplasticity – the process by which experience changes neural structure. The applications of interpersonal neurobiology are based on the neuroplasticity finding that how we focus our attention directly shapes the activity and the structure of the brain. This focus of attention can be within our internal world and in the relationships with one another. Recurring patterns can alter the way we connect with each other, how we experience our subjective inner lives, and even how we come to shape the architecture of our own brains.
Please Note: For further reading related to the field of neuroscience, you may want to research the works of Kurt Fischer, Howard Gardner, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Joseph Ledoux, Daniel Siegel, and Allan Schore.