Being Together in Time: Musical Experience and the Mirror Neuron System

Katie Overy, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

THE DISCOVERY OF INDIVIDUAL "MIRROR NEURONS" in the macaque brain that fire both when an action is executed and when that same action is observed or heard, and of a homologous system in humans, is leading to an extraordinary conceptual shift in our understanding of perception-action mechanisms, human communication, and empathy. In a recent model of emotional responses to music (Molnar-Szakacs & Overy, 2006), we proposed that music is perceived not only as an auditory signal, but also as intentional, hierarchically organized sequences of expressive motor acts behind the signal; and that the human mirror neuron system allows for corepresentation and sharing of a musical experience between agent and listener. Here, we expand upon this model of Shared Affective Motion Experience (SAME) and discuss its implications for music therapy and special education.We hypothesize that imitation, synchronization, and shared experience may be key elements of successful work in these areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-504
JournalMusic Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • emotion
  • insula
  • imitation
  • therapy
  • motor


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  • CARLA Monday

    Katie Overy (Participant), Martin Butz (Invited speaker), Sebastian Stober (Invited speaker) & Michael Spranger (Chair)

    5 Jul 2021

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  • Panel Discussant

    Katie Overy (Speaker)

    8 Feb 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

  • Invited Talk: The Musical Brain

    Katie Overy (Speaker)

    2 Nov 2014

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


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