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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 26 2012: Shared Experience... This is perhaps the biggest building block of all relationships. It might be a major component of events we deem meaningful. Have you ever been at a conference, event, movie, play, or even perhaps a public address where an entire audience (including yourself) appears to be on the same page about something? This is a shared experience, and perhaps even shared consciousness. It can be a very empowering and transforming instance. In my opinion, one that doesn't happen often enough in today's world.

    Shared experience also serves rhetorical functions (to positive or negative ends). Shared experience is a tool of persuasion, perhaps through a narrative pathway, as multiple individuals identify with a larger shared story.

    But when it comes to touch (and proximity), an additional factor enters the equation: intimacy. What a basic human need. It's even a "Love Language" (see Gary Chapman's 5lovelanguages.com). Some people prefer to give/receive emotional love through touch more than others. And by the growing research on touch, it appears to have empirically supported ability to have a variety of bioelectric and physiological effects. I find this fascinating.

    To tie this all to something current and tangible (pardon the pun), consider the aversion many people have to touch. In media (especially entertainment), we see a reluctance of some characters to express affection through touch. This is especially pronounced between members of the same sex. When touch is a basic human need, is our media influencing some to refrain from touch, which from the references above has the power to help build relationships through shared experience?

    Kudos to the "Free Hugs" people http://youtu.be/vr3x_RRJdd4 . The viral nature of this video suggests that the world could use more hugs. It is curious that empirical research is beginning to explain the mechanisms and processes behind the basic transactions of human interaction. Great topic, Maria!
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      Mar 27 2012: I'm really glad you brought up the idea of the "Free Hugs" campaign because it was one of those things that showed me that there are people who are willing to go out of their way to create a loving, shared experience for others. I think the power of shared experiences is a result of the feelings evoked in each person given the different situations. These shared experiences can be used to develop stronger bonds between people, and even complete strangers. I think the more people continue to put themselves out into the world and begin to share experiences, people will be able to develop bonds that transcend the petty things that continue to divide us all today.

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