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I like thinking about what anatomical differences may contribute to personality type differences/emergence. For the ENFP I wonder if we don't have a higher than usual number of mirror neurons, or if these "mirror neuron regions" in our brains don't simply have more connections, and thus more influence, on the rest of our cognitive processes.

From Wikipedia Mirror neuron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (selections and emphasis mine):

A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.[1][2][3] Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behaviour of the other, as though the observer were itself acting.

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Possible functions

Understanding intentions

Many studies link mirror neurons to understanding goals and intentions. Fogassi et al. (2005)[46]...
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Empathy

Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal,[47] Jean Decety,[48][49] and Vittorio Gallese[50][51] and Christian Keysers[3] have independently argued that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. A large number of experiments using functional MRI, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) have shown that certain brain regions (in particular the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and inferior frontal cortex) are active when people experience an emotion (disgust, happiness, pain, etc.) and when they see another person experiencing an emotion.[52][53][54][55][56][57][58]

However, these brain regions are not quite the same as the ones which mirror hand actions, and mirror neurons for emotional states or empathy have not yet been described in monkeys.

More recently, Christian Keysers at the Social Brain Lab and colleagues have shown that people who are more empathic according to self-report questionnaires have stronger activations both in the mirror system for hand actions[59] and the mirror system for emotions,[57] providing more direct support for the idea that the mirror system is linked to empathy.
Mmmmhmmmm...

Human self awareness

V.S Ramachandran has speculated that mirror neurons may provide the neurological basis of human self awareness.[60] ... Ramachandran gave the following explanation of his theory: “... I also speculated that these neurons can not only help simulate other people's behavior but can be turned "inward"—as it were—to create second-order representations or meta-representations of your own earlier brain processes. This could be the neural basis of introspection, and of the reciprocity of self awareness and other awareness. There is obviously a chicken-or-egg question here as to which evolved first, but... The main point is that the two co-evolved, mutually enriching each other to create the mature representation of self that characterizes modern humans." [61]
Fi baby all the way.

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Language

In humans, functional MRI studies have reported finding areas homologous to the monkey mirror neuron system in the inferior frontal cortex, close to Broca's area, one of the hypothesized language regions of the brain. This has led to suggestions that human language evolved from a gesture performance/understanding system implemented in mirror neurons. Mirror neurons have been said to have the potential to provide a mechanism for action-understanding, imitation-learning, and the simulation of other people's behaviour.[62]
We're supposed to have above average language abilities, and all the rest from above heh.

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Automatic Imitation

The term is commonly used to refer to cases in which an individual, having observed a body movement, deliberately performs a topographically similar body movement. Automatic Imitation rarely involves overt behavioral execution of matching responses.
Ok so we're supposedly good at making people feel comfortable. There's no debate about the fact that mirroring body movements is a great way to make others feel close and similar. And I don't know about you folks but this is not something that I TRY to do.

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Theory of mind

In Philosophy of mind, mirror neurons have become the primary rallying call of simulation theorists concerning our 'theory of mind.' 'Theory of mind' refers to our ability to infer another person's mental state (i.e., beliefs and desires) from experiences or their behaviour. For example, if you see a girl reaching into a jar labeled 'cookies,' you might assume that she wants a cookie and believes that there are cookies in the jar (even if you know the jar is empty).
:happy: ENFP's are supposed to be exceptional at "just knowing" the motivations of others.

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Gender differences

The issue of gender differences in empathy is quite controversial and subject to social desirability and stereotypes. However, a series of recent studies conducted by Yawei Cheng, using a variety of neurophysiological measures, including MEG,[94] spinal reflex excitability,[95] electroencephalography,[96][97] have documented the presence of a gender difference in the human mirror neuron system, with female participants exhibiting stronger motor resonance than male participants.
:rolleyes: Yep...
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is interesting, and I do think differences in brain structure contribute to differences in personality....like could differences in the limbic system contribute to differences between Ts and Fs (or even more specifically, Fis and Fes?)
It's been a long time since i've taken any neuro classes but I remember that the limbic system is huge! It's like 1/3 of your brain at least... so I would say yes hehe. I think memory, motivation, arousal (sexy and just wakey wakey), etc are all thought to be primarily handled in the limbic system.

But I think that the mirror neurons probably have more to do with Fi/Fe and even F/T - as the "article" above states there are mirror neurons in different areas of the brain which seem to be correlated with different types of empathy, emotion in general, introspection, kinds of learning, etc. There are many other structures involved in all of these tasks, but the relative extent to which one has a bunch of mirror neurons really strikes me as the extent to which one is Fi/Fe in general.

I'm going to spend some time to see if any actual research has been done correlating realtime brain scans with mbti. :) To the internets!
 

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It's been a long time since i've taken any neuro classes but I remember that the limbic system is huge! It's like 1/3 of your brain at least... so I would say yes hehe. I think memory, motivation, arousal (sexy and just wakey wakey), etc are all thought to be primarily handled in the limbic system.

But I think that the mirror neurons probably have more to do with Fi/Fe and even F/T - as the "article" above states there are mirror neurons in different areas of the brain which seem to be correlated with different types of empathy, emotion in general, introspection, kinds of learning, etc. There are many other structures involved in all of these tasks, but the relative extent to which one has a bunch of mirror neurons really strikes me as the extent to which one is Fi/Fe in general.

I'm going to spend some time to see if any actual research has been done correlating realtime brain scans with mbti. :) To the internets!
Also involved in emotion! But yeah mirror neurons sound promising....also did you know that a condition called synesthesia is about 7 times more common in poets, artists and novelists? Its a condition in which one mode is represented by another...for example, people see letters in different colours....hear sounds and see colours....and even say something (like v) and taste something (like chocloate) and feel materials and then feel emotion....may also be correlated with mbti type :p
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Blargh I can't find anything reliable but this slideshow which looks to be a grad student (or at least 400 lvl) class project using an EEG and a really really small sample size:

http://www.keys2cognition.com/papers/EEGandSocialCognition.pdf

However (just search for the word mirror) - it looks like I wasn't the first person to think that ENFP's are probably the big "mirror neuron" type heh. Their conclusion is that mirror neurons are all about Ne and Fi :) Man I wish more things like this had been done... very interesting.
 

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Yeah, I remember V.S. Ramachandran gushing about these. Said research on them would do for psychology what DNA did for biology. I suspect he may have been going a little overboard, but who knows?

Some studies have shown evidence of a connection between the development of recursive syntax (one of language's fundamental properties) and the development of theory of mind (one of empathy's fundamental properties). The thought is that the ability to form sentences like "Jane thought that John believed that Sally was sleepy" coincides with the ability to theorize about others' mental states. Probably stretching hugely here, but this does bear some similarity to Ne in my brain. If I wrote how I thought, I'd be using loads of parentheses within parentheses within parentheses.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also involved in emotion! But yeah mirror neurons sound promising....also did you know that a condition called synesthesia is about 7 times more common in poets, artists and novelists? Its a condition in which one mode is represented by another...for example, people see letters in different colours....hear sounds and see colours....and even say something (like v) and taste something (like chocloate) and feel materials and then feel emotion....may also be correlated with mbti type :p
I wonder though if there's a non-causative correlation. I would be very interested to read some studies! I'm having a hard time finding any rigorous studies which explore PET scans and personality type... I couldn't find anything on synasthesia and MBTI. But again synasthesia is largely viewed as a malfunction (even if it can be a useful one).

Ah I wish I was a synasthete... always have :(
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I remember V.S. Ramachandran gushing about these. Said research on them would do for psychology what DNA did for biology. I suspect he may have been going a little overboard, but who knows?

Some studies have shown evidence of a connection between the development of recursive syntax (one of language's fundamental properties) and the development of theory of mind (one of empathy's fundamental properties). The thought is that the ability to form sentences like "Jane thought that John believed that Sally was sleepy" coincides with the ability to theorize about others' mental states. Probably stretching hugely here, but this does bear some similarity to Ne in my brain. If I wrote how I thought, I'd be using loads of parentheses within parentheses within parentheses.
Hahahah oh yeah parentheses and elipses. I have two writing styles: completely insanely Ne, and rigidly Ti formal :)

And that would make sense really - if you check out the little grad student study I threw up there, this is their thinking as well!
 
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