Wayne Marshall

Student, Macquarie University

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Females seem to be better at empathy does this mean that they have more mirror neurones then men?

Females seem to be better at empathy does this mean that they have more mirror neurones then men? And if so, are woman responsible for civilisation?

  • Sep 19 2012: Hi All

    after studying Neuro Linguistics and Behavioural Psychology I could find out more about our communication.

    to answer to your question I would say:

    We mirror each other's behaviour unconsciously. the longer we spend time with one person the more we become like them. it is hardly news that we like people who are like us. we do everything to be liked and avoid everything to be disliked.

    now WHY mirroring?

    Mirroring other person's verbal or non verbal behaviour connect us to their world. very simple. if we sit like they sit, move like they move, talk like they talk, we will find out what's going on in their mind. and this is very helpful if you want to create deep connection.

    I can go deep into scientific explanation (although I am not a scientist) but I don't think it is needed here.

    Women are Kinaesthetic (feelings) people, if you observe two women talking you may notice how often they touch each other. the touch transform the connection, while man hardly touch one another.

    with all this we have to regard the cultural differences.

    Who is responsible for civilisation, I don't know, and I don't think that there is any one who is responsible for human evolution. we are changeable and flexible beings.

    Yes, Thanks to woman men came out of cave. women "always" look for comfort and to please our women we left the cave and built house.

    Civilisation - this word have a Latin root, Civilisation started in cities and first cities has been built in Mediterranean countries (not to mention Asian civilisation). it can be true to say that seeds of Civilisation found in Middle East, but its development started in Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
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      Sep 19 2012: I have this one theory that we are all beings who want proof that we existed, and that no one wants to be neglected for who they are. Everyone wants recognition for their existence, whether it be for fame or on a more personal/intimate level. Neglect sucks.

      The act of mirroring each other could also be one way of acknowledging the others' existence...
      • Sep 19 2012: Hi James

        "The act of mirroring each other could also be one way of acknowledging the others' existence..."

        very true, ... Agreed

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      Sep 21 2012: I agree with your thesis... but, I would argue, that a society which focuses on mirroring, rather than unique identity... Would not evolve very fast, would it?

      I would suggest that we are evolving away from mirroring, much to the advantage of civillization... After all, the first house, wasn't mirrored... well it was... after a unique individual built it, and saw how usefull the design was. How this relates to modern masculinity and femininty howevery I actually wouldn't be able to put into words well without much more thought.
      • Sep 21 2012: David,

        I appreciate your point of view, indeed it's another valuable idea. I hope you wouldn't mind if I remind two things I have mentioned on my original note.

        1. "We mirror each other's behaviour unconsciously." as you notice I had said we do it UNCONSCIOUSLY and not FOCUSING on mirroring as you said.

        When was last time when human race evolved very fast? if we could know how long we live here and how we are now, would that be fast enough or very fast?

        can you help me understand if each of us keeps their unique identity how can we create non-verbal rapport with each other? can I ask you to imagine two individuals talking to each other and each of them and each of them move their body the way they used to, can they be in rapport with each other? how long they can carry on talking in these situation?
        and finally "keeping our unique identity" wouldn't this make us to be individualist, separatist?

        Using Mirroring Model never harms us, yet it helps us to connect each others world and know what we says and how we are received. Please note that mirroring also helps in mind-reading process.
        Many businesspeople, specially the ones in sales and negotiation are good at mirroring people's behaviour in order to know what's going on in their mind and so they can adjust themselves to get the deal quicker.

        2. How, WHO built first house I have no idea.
        my point here was to the question whether women were responsible for civilisation.
        Civilisation started from urbanized areas where people started to live closer to each other (unlike farmers in in country side).

        maybe Industrial Revolution took human race far enough and very quickly (flying to the moon). is this a very fast evolving? We changed us with this we changed our identity. we drove us into a Competitive Game. Mirroring but in better way. Who is responsible? nobody!! very fast Behavioural Evolution in 200 years, fast enough, isn't it?
  • Sep 27 2012: My personal observations are that women have more tendancy to trust and identify with their body and their instinctive and subconscious mechanisms than do men.
    Men are generally more drawn to valuing their conscious choices and awareness, and considering their instincts and subconscious reactions as irrational, destructive, and even dangerous.
    I suggest that men simply repress their empathic reactions, and even simply go into denial about them- for it can be observed at times that a empathetic reaction is happening in the body, but if you ask the man, he is totally unaware of it.
    (his own muscles moved with the observation of a gesture someone else did).

    As far as being responsible for civilisation, societies are built upon the cycle of imitation and innovation. All inventions are constructed upon previous knowledge or skills, the inventions and new ideas are simply old ones put together in new combinations. So imitation is necessary for the sharing of ideas, emotions, art, music, but INNOVATION is also necessary! It is the individualist mindset that innovates by making new combinations.

    Women tend to feel drawn to relation and identification with others, and the passing of information through imitation, but men as they strive to feel individual separation, are more often innovators of conscious creations, such as technology.

    Both are needed to construct a civilisation.
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    Oct 17 2012: Perhaps partially.

    Mirror neurons respond (fire) in reaction to stimuli that seems to satisfy instincts upon which we need to sociable.

    What is necessary to adapt in a social situation seems to take priority thinking at times; since behavior is what neurons are mimicking there must exist a mechanism that requires a 'social satisfaction' in cognition. What entails this mechanism? Something evolutionary, as to narrate our social animal status.

    Consider, women do turn out to be more empathic (which I can agree on). Their mirror neurons would be used more often in light of that (to make cognition develop accordingly). Whether they have more of M. neurons or not, seems to be irrelevant. Rather perhaps the question is "Do they use their mirror neurons more often to be more sociable?" Interesting to ponder.

    But, as far as women being instinctually more sociable; I could see that position being valid for investigating.
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    Oct 17 2012: I think:
    The mirror neurones are used for human symbiosis.
    Particularly, the family symbiosis:

    a. Husband
    The husband half is biologically assigned in charge of food-seeking, habitat constructing, defending, donating all kinds of co-body-safety messages ceaselessly to his wife (kissing, embracing, and so on) .
    His ability and smartness come mainly from the ceaseless intimate encouragement of the other half of the marriage ---- the wife.
    b. Wife
    The wife is biologically assigned in charge of the child bearing, child bring up, house hold, and etc.
    She transfers all the physical substantial materials from her own body into the baby’s. Also, she exhausts all her spiritual energy to bring up the baby or child ---- the DNA-carrier of both the husband and wife.
    That is where her mother-greatness and beauty come from.
    Her beauty and virtue are support-enhanced by the ceaseless intimate co-body message from the other half of the marriage ---- the husband.
    Am I wrong?
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    Sep 27 2012: Thanks Leah, your point about men and woman is really interesting.
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    Sep 18 2012: Maybe it's time we males began to use this section of ourselves more.
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      Sep 19 2012: A potential stereotypical man's mindset:

      Aww I feel so sad for you :'(, err I mean, I gotta punch of baby and restore my manlihood. MAN LAW
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        Sep 19 2012: Lol James

        I know it sounds girlish but when guys do reach it's done with sitting and listening to the usual barrage rather than how women do it.
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          Sep 19 2012: Yeah, I mean guys can be just as empathetic, they just got different ways of to communicate empathy.
  • Sep 17 2012: I think your premise is shaky. Which females, in which culture, with what responsibilities, in what context? Are you basing this on your personal observations, or your readings, some research, or media presentations?

    Personally, I do not have sufficient confidence in my personal little window on the universe to make such broad statements.
  • Sep 17 2012: Um...sorry, I don't get it. How does being empathetic mean that women are responsible for civilisation?
  • Sep 17 2012: Females also have smaller brains, they compensate for this by packing their neurons closer together and rather than having more mirror neurons they could just be using them more efficiently or, perhaps more likely, men are not expected to show and train their empathic abilities as much as women while they may have the same innate capacity.