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As you might have known, Mirror Neurons are hypothetically the neuron pair - each of which is carried by other person - that make people to share their feeling although one of them just observes the action instead of take a part in the action. ( This short video is a succinct summary of this neurons, for more see this TED Talk )

the excerpt from the Wikipedia:

"A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behaviour the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex."

Considering the impulsing effect of Mirror Neurons for the observer, could all these remotely perceived entertainments be taking advantage of these neurons?

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A common term for this is Empathy. –  alan2here Feb 11 '12 at 23:37
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I wouldn't assume mirror neurons are required for empathy or imagination. It's been consistently shown the imagining a stimulus results in very similar firing patterns to actually perceiving the stimulus. Mirror neurons are highly controversial so I wouldn't assume they're necessary for any part of cognition yet. –  Ben Brocka Feb 12 '12 at 0:23
    
@Ben Brocka, maybe the underlying biological reasons for imagination's stimulation is the same as the mirror neurons'. That doesn't necessarily refute my claim. And what is the controversial part of the mirror neurons? –  Comptrol Feb 12 '12 at 9:07
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@Comptrol Ben is not refuting your claim. See ahealthymind.org/library/Hickock%20Mirror%20neurons%2009.pdf for a review on the controversy (from one perspective). –  Jeff Feb 12 '12 at 20:06
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think it is likely the case. I agree that the idea of a "mirror neuron" is a bit dubious, as it implies that the function of those neurons are related to mirroring. It's probably the case that they represent the actual movement, and their activation in witnessing the action is tangential to that.

As for your question, research was done on this exact topic, with positive results. Mouras et al. found that the magnitude of erection achieved by participants watching erotic videos correlated to the activation of regions known to contain "mirror neurons".

References http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811908006897

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If this were true, a man could never be stimulated by secondary sexual characteristics. Every man would remain completely unaroused as long as there is no sexually aroused woman in view. That is a ridiculous hypothesis. –  what Nov 9 '13 at 21:58
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To use "mirror neurons" explain why people enjoy watching porn is problematic when you consider that people (a least men, Cerny and Janssen, 2011) seem to enjoy watching porn where the actors are solely of the opposite sex. That is, people seem to be enjoying watching porn (or even looking at erotic pictures) when there is nothing really to mirror. As the phenomena of erotic movies is a (evolutionary) quite recent phenomena it makes sense to be aroused when seeing someone have sex as that usually would be a good proxy of that sex was either happening or about to happen.

References

Cerny, J., & Janssen, E. (2011). Patterns of sexual arousal in homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, doi:10.1007/s10508-011-9746-0.

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It's possible that the sexual pleasure itself is being mirrored. –  Preece Feb 17 '12 at 19:46
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