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The shared circuits model (SCM): How control, mirroring, and simulation can enable imitation, deliberation, and mindreading

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

  • Susan Hurley
  • Andy Clark
  • Julian Kiverstein

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    Rights statement: ©Hurley, S., Clark, A., & Kiverstein, J. (2008). The shared circuits model (SCM): How control, mirroring, and simulation can enable imitation, deliberation, and mindreading. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31(1), 1-+doi: 10.1017/S0140525X07003123

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-+
Number of pages29
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


Imitation, deliberation, and mindreading are characteristically human sociocognitive skills. Research on imitation and its role in social cognition is flourishing across various disciplines. Imitation is surveyed in this target article under headings of behavior, subpersonal mechanisms, and functions of imitation. A model is then advanced within which many of the developments surveyed can be located and explained. The shared circuits model (SCM) explains how imitation, deliberation, and mindreading can be enabled by subpersonal mechanisms of control, mirroring, and simulation. It is cast at a middle, functional level of description, that is, between the level of neural implementation and the level of conscious perceptions and intentional actions. The SCM connects shared informational dynamics for perception and action with shared informational dynamics for self and other, while also showing how the action/perception, self/other, and actual/possible distinctions can be overlaid on these shared informational dynamics. It avoids the common conception of perception and action as separate and peripheral to central cognition. Rather, it contributes to the situated cognition movement by showing how mechanisms for perceiving action can be built on those for active perception.

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