TED Conversations

Hadar Cohen

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

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Is the heart overlooked when it comes to intelligence?

The center of the nervous system, the brain, has been popularly defined as the fundamental core of intellectual activity. Yet, in my Bioelectricity class with Professor Nina Tandon, we learned about recent research suggesting that information processing in the body may in fact be more distributed.

For example, there is increasing evidence suggesting that the cardioelectromagenetic field can actually affect human beings in close proximity.These signals are stronger in amplitude when in direct contact, but are still detectable up to several feet away from the source. Through these interactions, the heart transfers energies between human beings. The heart can therefore be characterized as the engine for distributing and controlling energy of the human body.

These extraordinary results illustrate that the heart is not only responsible for blood regulations, but is also a very powerful intelligence system.

This made me wonder, could intelligence be distributed through the body in ways we might not expect? Could this information sent to the brain perhaps even influence emotional states? Or provide insight into some of the unexplained links between "mental" and "bodily" diseases (eg Alzheimer's and cardiac disease etc)?

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3547419/
and http://books.google.com/books?id=pvkpdNHhI6cC for more details

Given that the heart and other organs are frequently excluded from the
intellectual discussion, I would like to ask the Ted community, how do
these new findings affect how we view intelligence? How will our
interactions with each other differ if we view more of our bodies as


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    R H 30+

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    Apr 11 2013: Absolutely. One of my favorite topics. In my opinion, we haven't even begun to explore the frontier's of the intelligences of 'experience' and 'sensitivity'. But it's not only 'the heart', it's the whole body. This is what we need to balance our 'mathematical proofs' and 'reasonings' for great decision-making. We 'rationalize' unconscionable acts. Yet if we understood the intelligence of our 'knowing' and our 'anxious sensitivity', we may find another way. We dismiss what we feel and 'know' as our decisions are subject to 'fact'. But if we had full knowledge of our intuitions and the infinite intelligence of human sensitivity, our decisions could have long-range exponential results with all concerned and could be synergistic with future developments- but that's me.
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      Apr 11 2013: Hi R H!

      I like how you distinguish between 'rationalizing' and 'knowing'. I totally agree that exploring human sensitivity can greatly advance our progress. Thanks for your comment!

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