Regular readers (and perhaps even occasional readers) of Talking Brains are well aware that I have been rather critical of the interpretation of mirror neurons that dominates the literature, namely, that they are the basis of action understanding. I've finally synthesized all of these critical comments into a critical review titled "Eight Problems for the Mirror Neuron Theory of Action Understanding in Monkeys and Humans." The paper has recently been submitted for publication in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. The review process should be interesting; I'll post updates on the paper's progress.
In the meantime, by way of preview, here are the Eight Problems. If anyone is interested getting a discussion going on any of these issues, I'd be happy to participate. Did I miss any problems? Am I wrong about the problems I listed? Just click on the "comments" link at the end of this entry and let me know!
1. There is no evidence in monkeys that mirror neurons support action understanding.
2. Action understanding can be achieved via non-mirror neuron mechanisms.
3. M1 contains mirror neurons
4. The relation between macaque mirror neurons and the “mirror system” in humans is either non-parallel or undetermined
5. Action understanding in humans dissociates from neurophysiological indices of the human “mirror system”
6. Action understanding and action production dissociate
7. Damage to the inferior frontal gyrus is not correlated with action understanding deficits
8. Generalization of the mirror system to speech recognition fails on empirical grounds