Mirror neurons are stimulated when observing another person perform a task as if we are performing the task ourselves.  Neurons fire exactly as if making the movement yourself instead of simply observing it happen.  Mirror neuron systems in the brain allow us to understand the actions and intentions of others.  The better our minds understand how others act and intend, the better we can learn from them.  Unless we develop our own capacity to understand and appreciate the actions of others, we will not have the empathy necessary to engage the world in love. Mirror neurons come into play when we recognize facial expressions.  You might be able to recall a time in your life where you saw someone get hurt and noticed that you cringed your shoulders as if you somehow felt the pain as well. Imagine for a moment someone smiling at you.  Do you feel joy?  Perhaps it will make you smile as well.  This is an example of mirror neurons at work.  In fact, basic emotional states expressed cross culturally are extremely similar. Anger, boredom, worry, joy and fear can be identified in people in vastly different cultures simply by looking at their face.

Mirror Neurons