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1- Department of Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.
2- Department of Psychology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
3- Diagnostic and Cognitive Neuropsychology Department, Tübingen University, Tübingen, Germany.
Intro: Mirror neurons’ function is thought to be enhanced by emotion processing. There is some evidence that the valence of an emotional presentation (positive or negative) can influence subsequent mirror neuron activity differently. Additionally, mirror neurons are claimed to provide the mechanism necessary for the embodied simulation of others’ mental states. Therefore, there is an assumption that relational emotion processing might manipulate mirror neuron functions.
Method: Via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the primary motor cortex and electromyography recording from contralateral hand muscles, 20 participants viewed videos of either a static hand or a transitive hand action preceded by either neutral or general (negative and positive) and relational (negative and positive) images.  
Results: Corticospinal excitability facilitation during action observation was significantly greater following the positive general compared to negative general emotion stimuli. Regarding relational emotions, we observed an increased MNS activity following relational negative compared to relational positive, relational negative compared to general negative, and general positive compared to relational positive stimuli.  
Conclusion: This finding supports the assumption of relational content interferes with mentalizing capacity.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Cognitive Neuroscience
Received: 2022/12/6 | Accepted: 2023/01/9

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