Link to the NOVA webpage.

Brain Briefings from the Society for Neuroscience:  a good explanation of research

Adapted with permission from Marco Iacoboni, UCLA School of Medicine.

Observing the same action, such as grasping a cup, in different contexts elicits different levels of mirror neuron activity in one area of the brain that belongs to the mirror neuron system (right posterior inferior frontal gyrus). This finding shows that the mirror neuron system does more than code the observed action (“that’s a grasp”). It also codes the intention behind the action (“that’s a grasp to drink” or “that’s a grasp to clear the table”).