Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Amateur Neuroscience

Your brain has roughly as many neurons as there are stars in a small galaxy; close to a 100 billion.

And a neuron’s job is to carry messages through your body.

But some are more hardworking than others.

The go-getter of the brain is the mirror neuron. And it doesn’t only pass on what you’re undergoing, but it also relays what others are experiencing.

So if you watch a spider creep up someone else’s arm, the mirror neuron is telling you it’s also crawling up your arm.

That’s why seeing someone handle an arachnid can make us scrunch up our faces and feel icky.

But we never feel its eight hairy legs drag over our skin. Does that mean the mirror neuron is slacking off?

No.

Your brain is simply ignoring a part of the mirror neuron’s message.

You see, your skin is also busy transmitting signals upstairs. And when your skin says it doesn’t feel anything, your brain takes its word over the mirror neuron.

But what happens if your skin can’t talk with your brain?

What if you’re born without limbs and observe a creepy crawly wriggle its way up a person’s arm? What then?

You would actually feel the bug’s prickly legs scurry over your phantom limb.

But don’t let me scare you into thinking mirror neurons are bad.

Mirror neurons are marvelous: if someone else is having a good time, it’ll rub off on you.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach