A unifying view of the basis of social cognition

Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Sep;8(9):396-403. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.07.002.


In this article we provide a unifying neural hypothesis on how individuals understand the actions and emotions of others. Our main claim is that the fundamental mechanism at the basis of the experiential understanding of others' actions is the activation of the mirror neuron system. A similar mechanism, but involving the activation of viscero-motor centers, underlies the experiential understanding of the emotions of others.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cognition*
  • Haplorhini
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*