As a teacher of language, literature, and theater, I find Uri Hasson’s research (feature, April 11) fascinating and, in particular for understanding live language and theater interactions, wonder how it connects with the research on mirror neurons.
Editor’s note: Professor Hasson offered the following response. “Mirror neurons are neurons in that interface between the perceptual and motor systems, as they respond both when a brain performs a specific action and when it observes the same action performed by another. Our findings of speaker-listener coupling extend the notion of mirroring to the linguistic system, by showing that the listener’s neural responses during comprehension (perception) can be similar to the neural responses during production (action). At the same time, our findings go beyond mirroring, as we find cases in which the listener’s neural responses are linked in a lawful (but not symmetric) way to the responses in the speaker’s brain.”