Mirror, Mirror: Mirror Neurons and Shareware
Neuroscientist and TedTalks scholar V.S. Ramachandran’s exploration of the role of mirror neurons, which he nicknames “Gandhi neurons” for their role in human empathy, raises fascinating possibilities for our understanding of the ways we transmit meaning through media, and the impact representations of human acts has on our ability to emulate and spread ideas. The implications for widespread shareware are enormous. Mirror neurons have been linked to the “monkey see, monkey do” aspects of human (and primate) behavior, leading to clues about our processes of empathy, imitation and mimicry.
Multimedia Artist Amy Caron collaborated with Ramachandran and other neuroscientists on a live performance event, Waves of Mu, that is currently touring the United States. Why performance and multimedia? The project website provides an explanation: “Because comprehending the complexity of a human brain seems impossibly overwhelming. WAVES OF MU aims to make neuroscience understandable and enlightening through creative experience.” The piece looks to expand public understanding of mirror neurons, a relatively recent discovery of brain research, which play an important role in viral media, trending and the evolution of human messaging and behavior.