Wouldn’t it be great if you could read men like a book?
No more guessing what he’s thinking.
No more trying to flush out his true feelings.
Luckily, you have a super-sensitive emotion detector built right into you.
It’s not woo-woo. It’s not women’s intuition.
It’s a set of neurons in the brain called mirror neurons.
Mirror neurons are pure magic. They help us understand what other people are feeling.
Scientists first discovered mirror neurons just over 20 years ago. They placed electrodes in a monkey’s brain, then recorded which neurons fired when the monkey performed a certain task, like reaching for a peanut.
Then they noticed something strange.
When they themselves reached for a peanut to give to the monkey, their equipment measured unexpected activity in the monkey’s brain. Some of the neurons that fired when the monkey himself reached for a peanut were now firing purely in response to watching a human reach for a peanut.
And it’s not just monkeys. (Or peanuts.)
Scientists have found evidence that mirror neurons work the same way in human brains.
Ever tried to feel what it was like to stand in someone else’s shoes? You don’t need a good imagination. You just need mirror neurons.
Our mirror neurons help us feel the same exact same thing someone else is feeling, albeit to a lesser degree.
No wonder you wince in pain when you watch someone stub a toe. You know how it feels. To your brain, watching someone get hurt isn’t all that different from you yourself getting hurt.
Ever felt your heart break as you counseled a girlfriend through a bad breakup? You have your mirror neurons to thank. You’re actually feeling a shadow of what she’s feeling.
Highly empathetic people often have a hard time distinguishing between their own feelings and those of others. They pick up other people’s emotions. They may not even realize it’s happening.
For example, let’s say you’re on a date. You’re normally confident, but for some reason you feel nervous. You can’t figure it out.
Well, maybe it’s not you. Maybe he feels nervous, and your mirror neurons are picking it up.
Which suggests that the quickest way to know how he’s feeling is to check in with yourself. How are YOU feeling? If you’re relaxed and content, then chances are he is, too.
Although research shows that women may resonate more with their companions than men , men’s brains are set up the same way. How you’re feeling influences him.
No wonder men express such a high preference for women who are happy. Being around someone who’s happy makes him happy. Mirror neurons make emotions contagious.
Mirror neurons not only help us read other people’s emotions, but they also help us excel in the dance of intimacy.
Couples falling in love often synchronize their movements. He crosses his leg; you cross yours. You lean forward; he leans forward. His voice softens; your voice softens. You smile; he smiles. You’re so in tune that it’s as if you share the same mind.
Mirror neurons make us good at mimicking. We can imitate what someone else is doing because some of the same neurons firing in the other person’s brain are also firing in ours. And it starts from birth. Babies naturally try to imitate their parents’ expressions.
Mirror neurons may even explain why long-term couples become so similar over time. The longer you’re with someone, the more you pick up his mannerisms, habits, and turns of phrase. Your brains keep you in sync.
So the next time you want to know what a man is thinking, watch him closely and notice how your own body responds.
Does a fleeting expression cross your face? Do you feel tension anywhere in your body?
It can be hard to know what’s yours and what’s his. A quick way to distinguish the two is to excuse yourself. Step outside for some fresh air or use the restroom. Feelings that fade away when you’re not with him were probably his to begin with.
This method works a lot better than trying to logically guess what he’s thinking. It’s easy to misinterpret a man’s comments or assume too much. The conscious brain can overthink it.
But mirror neurons work automatically and unconsciously. All you have to do is become a good observer, and you’ll mirror his emotional state back to him.
One last word to the wise:
If we automatically mirror and mimic our partners, then the men we spend time with influence who we become. Choose well.