Monday, October 10, 2011

Seeing (haptic-integrated pronunciation) is (mirror neuron) believing!

This article from makes an important observation. The response of the mirror neurons of dancers is much stronger when they are watching familiar dance elements of new dances that they are familiar with, as opposed to seeing new elements in new dances. They are, in effect, able to learn the complete routines "simply" by watching, without physically being on the dance floor because their brains are mirroring and then committing to kinaesthetic memory a new arrangement of familiar elements.

That explains, in part, why learners are often able to quickly "uptake" haptic feedback or correction by instructors. Learners both see the pedagogical movement patterns and (usually) hear the "correct" form or pronunciation performed by the instructor--which they have been introduced to earlier in the course. Their mirror neurons should lock on the PMPs, which are anchored to the felt sense of the sounds.  It is a case where we learn best what we know already, what we have been touched by or touched. See what I mean?

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