The neural circuits activated in the person carrying out actions, expressing emotions, and experiencing sensations are also automatically activated in the observer of these actions, emotions, and sensations. These circuits configure a mirror neuron system. These findings of shared activation suggest a functional mechanism of "embodied simulation" which consists of the automatic, unconscious, and non-inferential simulation in the observer of actions, emotions, and sensations carried out and experienced by the observed. This shared neural activation pattern and the accompanying "embodied simulation" constitutes a fundamental biological basis for understanding another's mind. The implications of this perspective for psychoanalysis are discussed, particularly regarding unconscious communication, projective identification, countertransference, attunement, empathy, autism, and therapeutic action.
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