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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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    Apr 14 2013: @Hadar Cohen (Sorry comments getting quite confusing down there!)
    Well I am glad I could help! :D
    If you asked me what I thought intelligence consisted of I would mention these (will slightly repeat myself):
    - Creativity (+ original thought)
    - Memory (otherwise known as "Knowledge") Also this helps with maths.
    - Charisma + Understanding people(Sometimes known as charisma or "Street smarts")
    - Willpower (sort of self-control, I would also include motivation in this)
    - Intelligence = Which many would argue is a bit like this link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences
    - The humility to admit your wrong. (Massively underrated) Yet I am still debating whether to call this a type of Intelligence, for it is more part of your personality.
    And there was a very interesting experiment done, where it was found if you primed to be reminded of their ethicallity, then Black people would do worse in IQ tests, while White people would do better. While if you didn't remind them of their ethinicallity they would both do the (roughly) the same regardless of race! This can also been seen, just replace IQ with sports. Black people do better at sports, and white people did worse.
    Shows how expectations can influence our performance. (Sometimes known as a "self-fulfilling prophecy!")
    Also it is shown if you are more "positive" your IQ goes up, and that if you view you can "become better/ change your IQ" then you will gain about 10 points on your IQ.
    While with your debate, if any of these things are influenced by your Heart, then yes your heart influences intelligence (unless you have a different definition!)

    Yet :
    I do feel that intelligence is far too much over rated! And encourages a form of eliteism which crushes potential!
    I mean the current education does not encourage "intrinsic motivation" and "critical + original thought".

    I did really badly in my GCSE's, do this might be a bias! :P

    Sorry if I have repeated myself! I hope I have been of assistance!
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      Apr 14 2013: Hi Bernard!

      These characteristics that you mention are all great to incorprate in this term 'intelligence'.

      I think that the experiment you mention tends to be true. This illustrates that a lot of times, our capabilities are hindered by certain expectations. I can relate to that a lot! I think it is important to remember that one should create their own expectations and not let others dictate them for him/her.

      I totally agree with the statement you made that intelligence is overrated and encourages a form of elitism that can crush potential. I think that I have actually seen this happen. It is sad to think that these are the consequences of such notions. I think we should educationally encourage "intrinsic motivation" and "critical and original thought", however I am not sure how that can happen practically.

      Thanks for your contribution!
      No apology necessary for repetition :)
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        Apr 14 2013: This would make an interesting question to you, a slight side subject, should we equate intelligence with how well you do in exams? :P
        Yes I agree it is a problem to make this go practically!
        Well glad I could help as always! :-)
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          Apr 14 2013: I think the question you posed is a really important one. Personally, I think that no, intelligence should not be equated with how well we do in exams, lest we limit intelligence to measurable form. By equating the two, we result in discouraging many from learning. I honestly do not think a number can be put to intelligence.
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        Apr 14 2013: Oh dear. I forgot to mention emotional intelligence as well!
        Yet I don't understand it very well myself, do you? (Is it much different from charisma?)
        Also found it interesting how you said : "Personally, I think that no, intelligence should not be equated with how well we do in exams, lest we limit intelligence to measurable form."
        Because this happens a lot in the educational system, it's said that (according to some experiment) that if you "acknowledge"people's work they will be more likely to work harder. (Watch : Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work? : http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work.html)
        Also I do believe FLOW : http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html is very important to the education system.
        Kind regards,
        EDIT :
        I mean EQ (/ emotional intelligence) in addition to all of the intelligences I have mentioned!)

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