Associative learning alone is insufficient for the evolution and maintenance of the human mirror neuron system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Lindsay M. Oberman
  • Edward M. Hubbard
  • Joseph P. Mccleery

Colleges, School and Institutes


Cook et al. argue that mirror neurons originate from associative learning processes, without evolutionary influence from social-cognitive mechanisms. We disagree with this claim and present arguments based upon cross-species comparisons, EEG findings, and developmental neuroscience that the evolution of mirror neurons is most likely driven simultaneously and interactively by evolutionarily adaptive psychological mechanisms and lower-level biological mechanisms that support them.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-213
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number02
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014