Physical Mimicry of Others Jump-starts Key Brain Activity

A child falls from his bicycle and his father winces. A bride says “I do” and the maid of honor grins from ear to ear. A mother frowns with displeasure and her infant son frowns back. UCLA neuroscientists using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are the first to demonstrate that empathetic action, such as mirroring facial expressions, triggers far greater activity in the emotion centers of the brain than mere observation.