Mirror neurons were first discovered in macaque monkeys, at the University of Parma in Italy, by neurophysiologists led by Giacomo Rizzolatti. The researchers found a specific group of neurons responded when a monkey picked up a peanut, when simply seeing a person pick up a peanut and even hearing somebody preform the action in another room.
This discovery has lead to many studies and much speculation to the function behind these neurons. Emerging research suggests mirror neurons could drive our ability to empathize with others, but may also reveal our predisposition to prejudice and apathy.
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