TED Conversations

Maria Georgescu


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What is the power behind a shared experience?

In my Bioelectricity class this week, We learned that it is the low resistance pathways between the billions of myocardial cells in the heart that allow this amazing organ to beat in synchrony. We also learned that in a particular study, one subject's EKG could be measured on another person's EEG simply through touch (http://www.reiki.org/Download/electricity_of_touch1.pdf). It's incredible to think that a signal we are not consciously aware of can have a measurable impact on another person's mind and even heart.

Thinking more broadly: Who hasn't felt an urge to yawn within a few minutes of being in the presence of other yawning people? Or burst out laughing over an absurd happening that might not really have been funny? We encounter these types of shared experiences throughout our everyday lives.

Low resistance enables heart cells work together in synchrony. How can we
as species, work together taking advantage of our connected world?


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    Mar 25 2012: I personally think it's amazing how much the environment can physiologically, socially, and even fantastically induce a cascade of shared experiences among a certain group. Sometimes, this induction is regulated, as was stated above through the cardiovascular example. Other times, this induction is randomized, which fascinates me the most. That sense of comfort that may be yielded from a shared experience can be stimulated by another individual's bold first move or an awful experience that leaves one no choice but to take the initiative. These eventually leads to a little dance that involves more than one pair of feet.

    Just like the electrical propagation that fuels each pump of our heart, every little experience in our life may be pumped by these shared experiences as well - starting the first day of kindergarten with a group of unfamiliar five-year-olds, helping the passenger sitting next to you on the plane put on his oxygen mask during an emergency, etc.

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