If you want a book to read about empathy and how to connect with people, “Mirroring People: The New Science of Empathy and How We Connect With Others,” by Marco Iacoboni is not the book you want to pick up. Unless, you want to read something that has 80 percent talk over science and neurology.
When talking about mirror neurons, Iacoboni explains how everyone has those neurons in their brains and how a monkey species also has mirror neurons. He explains that mirror neurons are the tiny “miracles” that help us achieve our “very subtle understanding of other people.”
What mirror neurons have in common with giving empathy is their ability to recreate distress.
Iacoboni tells us about the research he does with the monkeys and how imitation is one key subject to the matter.
He said, “imitation shapes human behavior very powerfully.” Iacoboni explains that this happens especially with children’s imitation of their parents.
After explaining this phenomenon, he explained the test runs and hypothesis by colleagues and other professors. Particularly, I did not like this part — too much science.
One thing that stuck out to me from the author was how to consider the issue of planning what to say before you have the conversation.
Although you cannot plan a conversation, you can go into it with the mindset of having some goals you want to touch.
He talks about how people in conversations only experience freedom when taking turns, not when they are speaking.
Iacoboni said, “The pause between the end of the utterance of the speaker and the beginning of the next utterance from a different speaker is about a tenth of a second.”
What does that mean? It means that longer pauses can feel unbearably long to people engaged in conversation.
So the big idea to this is that the timing control makes a huge difference in the easiness of conversations.
He also tells us that other major factors that tend to make monologues easier have complete and well-formed sentences.
This book would be a great book for a psychology student or someone who is interested in the brain and how we connect with others.
“Mirroring People: The New Science of Empathy and How We Connect With Others” costs $13.16 for in paperback and $8.89 on Amazon Kindle.