Scientific events postdoctoral program 2012–2018  

Mind-Brain Lecture: Shannon Spaulding (Oklahoma State)

“Mirror neurons are not evidence for the simulation theory”

5 June 2014, 18.30-20.00

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin
Room 144 (ground floor)


Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in theories of mindreading.The discovery of mirror neurons has revived interest particularly in the Simulation Theory (ST) of mindreading. Both ST proponents and theorists studying mirror neurons argue that mirror neurons are strong evidence in favor of ST over Theory Theory (TT). In this paper I argue against the prevailing view that mirror neurons are evidence for the ST of mindreading. My view is that on an appropriate construal of their function, mirror neurons do not operate like simulation theorists claim. In fact, mirror neurons are more appropriately understood as one element in an information- rich mindreading process. I argue that Model Theory Theory provides a compelling account of social cognition, including the role of mirror neurons in social cognition.