SBRI Stem-cell and Brain Research Institute - France (Lyon)

CORTEX Conferences by Neng Gong and Pier Francesco Ferrari

Date event : October 10, 2017 - 10:30am Conference / Talk Published on 10/03/2017 - 9:16am

Henry Kennedy has the pleasure to propose two new conferences to our community:

Mirror Self-Recognition in Monkeys

Dr Neng Gong (Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, CAS Key Laboratory of Primate Neurobiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.)


Self-consciousness is a hallmark of higher intelligence that can be reflected by mirror self-recognition (MSR). In contrast to human and some great apes, monkeys have consistently failed the MSR test. Here, we demonstrated that monkeys have the ability of MSR by two different training methods. First, monkeys were trained in front of a mirror to touch a light spot on their faces produced by a laser light that elicited an irritant sensation (visual-somatosensory training). After training, monkeys had learned to touch the face area in front of a mirror, and showed typical mirror-induced self-directed behaviors. However, this direct training on the monkey's face by the sensation-induced face-touching caused controversy that whether the observed MSR behaviors were just a simple conditioned response. Then we designed a new training strategy that the monkey was only trained to use the mirror as an instrument to find hidden object. We trained monkeys to touch with spatiotemporal precision a laser pointer light spot on an adjacent board that could only be seen in the mirror (visual-proprioceptive training), without any training on the monkey's face or body. After training, all monkeys spontaneously passed the standard mirror mark test, and showed typical MSR behaviors. Thus, the previous failure of demonstrating MSR in animals could be attributed to the lack of the ability in visual-proprioceptive association for the mirror images, rather than the absence of bodily self-consciousness. Our findings shed light on the origin of MSR and self-consciousness and suggest a new approach to studying its mechanism.


The dynamics of the motor system in social cognition

Dr Pier Francesco Ferrari (ISC Marc Jeannerod)



Tuesday 10 October, 10:30am, ISC Amphi.

Register for the lunch buffet by thursday 5th October