“Knowing others through knowing oneself – the relevance of mirror neurons to mental health” by Urvakhsh Mehta

 Primate and human social neuroscience experiments have identified critical neuronal networks that play an important role in social cognition – applying one’s mental abilities during social interactions. These include the mirroring network and the mentalizing network, both of which are governed by other frontal regulatory networks. Interestingly, individuals who experience psychotic symptoms (e.g., clinical diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders) also have deficits in social cognition (understanding others). Recent experiments from our laboratory and others have demonstrated a pattern of abnormalities in mirror neurons or the so-called ‘Gandhi’ neurons that are associated with social cognition and behavior in individuals with psychotic disorders. The mirroring network is thought to drive understanding behaviors of others based on inner templates of how we understand ourselves. This talk will focus on some of these experiments and attempt to provide a framework to study the neurobiology and treatment of psychotic disorders from a social neuroscience lens.

Abstract Excerpt from “The Svasthya-Rasa-Bodhini” CSP public lecture  on 28 May 2019, by Urvakhsh Mehta (Dept of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore)