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Psychotherapeutic Conversation as a Factor Modulating the Mirror Neuron System Activity

Student: Evgeniya Volkova

Supervisor: Alexander B. Orlov

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Counselling Psychology. Personality Studies (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2018

The master's study "Psychotherapeutic conversation as a factor modulating the mirror neuron system activity" consists of a theoretical and empirical parts. The result of theoretical study part was the model of influence of conversation type on the mirror effect size as an indicator of the mirror neuron system activity. According to this model, due to the empathic tuning of participant and psychologist, also limbic resonance in the therapeutic conversation, increases the mirror neuron system activity and the observed mirror effect size. In a neutral conversation, empathic tuning and limbic resonance are less pronounced, so increasing of mirror effect is not expected. According to the results of the empirical part, the model was adjusted: participant's attention switches to self-relation and leads to decrease of mirror neuron system activity and observed mirror effect size. During a neutral conversation the participant is more attuned to a psychologist, to interaction, as a result the activity of his mirror neuron system grows, as well as the observed mirror effect size.

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