HOW WEARING A MASK AFFECTS MIRROR NEURONS MECHANISMS IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS AND WHY VIRTUAL EDUCATION IS ALSO “EDUCATION WITH MASKS”
University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:When in the 1980s and 1990s the neurophysiologists Giacomo Rizzolatti, Giuseppe Di Pellegrino, Luciano Fadiga, Leonardo Fogassi, and Vittorio Gallese from the University of Parma discovered that in the front lobe of the brain there are neurons that act making primates repeat the behavior of representatives of their species. A little later, work begins in a lot of scientific teams in many universities and centres all over the world on forming cognitive skills and behavioral habits in people based on the principle of interaction through mirror neurons.
The American scientist from the University of California Prof. Ramachandran created the theory of imitation and empathy on the basis of dozens of experiments which lead to claims that culture and civilization are based on the activity of mirror neurons that make us follow the experience and knowledge of the community by assimilating reactions, gestures and facial expressions of the facial muscles. Moreover, the ontogenetic and phylogenetic experience of humankind has been transmitted directly and promoted evolution precisely in this way of interaction since the day Homo sapiens appeared in this world. Prof. Ramachandran called neurons Gandhi because, according to him, they form empathy and compassion.
If we ask ourselves what happens when there is no direct access to observing behavioral responses, sound imitation, and information to all five senses in the learning process because the trainer and learners are forced to wear protective masks, we can probably come to the logical conclusion that the neurons in question are not innervated and knowledge and experience are not “copied” in a natural way.
Something more. It has been proven that if an area in the brain is not innervated, it loses sharpness and its ability to process signals from the outside world and other participants in the communication process, which is the direct and natural way to acquire knowledge.
The extent to which the screen of a computer, through which the virtual training takes place, is also an important topic, about to ask more and more questions to those involved in the educational process.
Through the presented paper, we bring to the attention of the esteemed colleagues, our first observations, concerns and search for a balance in teaching and assessment of perception of the taught material, in the conditions of communication through wearing a mask. The main question here is how long ...?
Keywords: Face mask, mirror neurons, distance (virtual) education, empathy.