TED Conversations

Maria Georgescu

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

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?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 26 2012: I see your inquiry as being about how to build relationships among people. Building relationships can be difficult when there is "resistance", e.g. fear, mistrust, suffering etc. And such resistance is usually always present among people to some degree.

    So building relationships, at least the good kind, means reducing the negative emotions that divide people. That's what I believe.
    • Mar 27 2012: Matthew,

      I agree that there is always a certain amount of psychological resistance involved in building new relationships. What I find really interesting, though, is that this psychological resistance is not an obstacle to the shared experience that Maria describes in her question. That is, even if two people are complete strangers, we could see traces of the EKG of the first on the EEG of the second (as long as they’re touching, of course). There seem to be two levels of connection between people that are not necessarily dependent on one another – the physical and the psychological. Based on the EKG/EEG example, there is significantly less resistance involved in physical connection than in psychological connection. This result is, of course, what we expect. I wonder, though, whether the level of psychological connection between the subjects in the EKG/EEG example has any effect on the strength of the EKG artifact seen on the EEG. Would the EKG artifact appear stronger if the subjects shared a psychological connection?
      • thumb
        Mar 27 2012: Disrupt the connection. Who is to say as to how another person's touch, affects you?

        My chapter reading is talking about psychophysical measures of sensory sensitivity. (Mind reading is not in here). The rule of social proof. Electroshock, hmm. Anyway, less pain if a subject experiencing the same electroshocks as you, exhibits a higher tolerance for the pain. Herds? Do you have to be connected to the EKG/ EEG with suction cups? Oh, and you both have to be in the same room.
      • Mar 27 2012: I don't know if the relationship of participants would change the EKG/EEG results. It wouldn't surprise me if a pair's relationship did have a physiological effect.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.