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date: 04 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Social life depends in large part on the capacity to understand the intentional behavior of others. Which are the origins of this capacity? The classic cognitive view claims that intentional understanding can be explained only in terms of the ability to intellectually read the mind of others. Over the past few years, this view has been challenged by several neuroscientific findings regarding social cognition. In particular, the functional properties of mirror neurons and their direct matching mechanism indicate that intentional understanding is based primarily on the motor cognition that underpins one’s own potentiality to act. The aim of this chapter is to present and discuss the role of such motor cognition, providing a biologically plausible and theoretically unitary account for the neural basis of basic forms of intentional understanding.

Keywords: motor cognition, intentional understanding, mirror neurons, social cognition

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