Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons

We wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post on social intelligence after Stephanie from idealawg brought to our attention the October 11 New York Times Maureen Dowd column “How Carly Lost Her Gender Groove.”

With several of the few high-profile women at the top tanking, it’s interesting to note that Columbia Business School has introduced a new program that teaches the importance of a more empathetic and sensitive leadership style in globalized business, as opposed to the command-and-control style that has dominated the White House and Pentagon for, lo, these many messed up years.

Students learn how to read facial expressions, body language and posture, and get coaching on their brain’s “mirror neurons” — how what they’re thinking and feeling can affect others.

“This less autocratic leadership style draws on capabilities in which women are as good as men,” says Michael Morris, a professor of psychology and management who is running the business school’s new program.

Daniel Goleman, whose new book “Social Intelligence” is being taught in the program, points out that “while women are, in general, better at reading emotions, men tend to be better at managing them during a crisis. Women tend to be more sophisticated in reading social interactions but also tend to ruminate more when things go wrong.”

Mirror neurons are found in the inferior frontal cortex, close to an area involved in language processing, speech production, and comprehension called Broca’s area. They provide a fairly accurate mechanism for understanding action, learning by imitation, and copying other people’s behavior. They also may help understand goals and intentions. According to a hypothesis put forward by Christina Keysers and Valeria Gazzola, shared circuits translate observed actions, emotions, and sensations into primary representations of these states in our own minds that we can then analyze and reflect upon in order to understand the other person’s state of mind. Being able to access and analyze these simulated primary representations allows us to go beyond just empathy to successful interaction with other people and showing highly developed social intelligence.

Related Post:
Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes

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5 Comments »

  1. […] Solution: please welcome Caroline, our contributing editor of the blog, who started writing last week such good posts as: – Brain Puzzle for the Whole Brain: The Blind Beggar – Nutritional Supplements and Brain Fitness – Visual Perception Brain Teaser – Brain Coach Answers: How Can I Be More Creative? Is Creativity a Part of Brain  Fitness? – Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons – Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes – More Weight, Less Memory – Connections Between Physical and Brain Fitness – Brain Yoga: Stress — Killing You Softly – Brain Coach Answers: Aren’t crosswords and sudoku sufficient brain exercise? […]

  2. […] – Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons – Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes […]

  3. […] – Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons – Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes […]

  4. […] Further Links Mind/Body, Emotions, and Decision-Making Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes An Ape Can Do This. Can We Not? “Use It or Lose It” : What is “It”? The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind by Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg Brain Exercise at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute […]

  5. […] – Social Intelligence and Mirror Neurons – Social Intelligence and the Frontal Lobes […]

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