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/
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/expphysiol.2007.041178/full
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
"intelligent?"

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  • Apr 14 2013: "there is increasing evidence suggesting that the cardioelectromagenetic field can actually affect human beings in close proximity."

    What the fuck is this? Where is this evidence?
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      Apr 14 2013: Dear Noah,
      This is very basic science, which is used clinically, as you might learn from this link, and many others which are available with a couple clicks on your computer:>) No need to make yourself look silly!

      http://drpawluk.com/updates/electromagnetic-fields-and-the-heart/
      • Apr 14 2013: Actually I'm not talking about Pulsing Electromagnetic Therapy, which is a legitimate, documented form. I think I'm attacking her whole paragraph claiming "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." I think it might have been a mistake to outline the first sentence.

        The site looks awfully suspicious, without any links or references to other sources. But there is legitimacy to it that has nothing to do with the heart being some "intelligence" center.
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          Apr 14 2013: Noah,
          Your previous comment stands alone. I'm not aware of which paragraph you are "attacking" as you say.

          That was just the first site that showed up when I googled the topic.....there were lots more that might give you different, more or better information.
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          Apr 14 2013: Dear Noah,
          If you can come down from your fighting horse, a reading of this link may explain things that Ms Cohen tried to say in the paragraph you quoted.
          http://www.heartmath.org/research/research-publications/electricity-of-touch.html
          Cheers!!
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          Apr 14 2013: Pabitra, as the lead author seems mostly to be associated with psi sites and this publication is not in a peer reviewed journal, would you have any references that are from such journals?
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          Apr 15 2013: I don't know about psi sites but it appears that this publication was peer reviewed/referenced by K. H. Pribram, ed. Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible. Proceedings of the Fifth Appalachian Conference on Behavioral Neurodynamics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1998: 359-379.
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      Apr 14 2013: Noah, I have not yet looked for reliable material one way or another on this, but there are a range of uses of magnetic fields, some which are, in fact, clinically valid and some that are, as perhaps you suspect, promoted and used without medically valid evidence of effectiveness.

      If I were you, I would do your own rooting around on this so you can evaluate the validity of the different sources for yourself.

      I don't think it is ever silly to look for or ask for evidence.
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        Apr 14 2013: I agree Fritzie, that it is not silly to look for, or ask for evidence. In my humble perception, there are better ways to ask than "what the fuck is this".....that is what I was suggesting looks kind of silly.....the way the question was asked. The evidence, as you have reinforced is "out there", and if/when a person wants to explore the topic, s/he certainly can.....good reminder Fritzie:>)
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          Apr 14 2013: I also don't like rudeness. I would want evidence on the point as well, particularly as the best evidence I have from expert sources casts doubt on that particular claim.
      • Apr 14 2013: I'm sorry guys, but I get worked up by people who use real scientific studies to say crazy stuff that isn't related. I'm trying to fight claims that assume "the heart can therefore be characterized as the engine for distributing and controlling energy of the human body", or something along those lines. I'm heavily biased toward real science and don't like to accept anything that hasn't been examined in mainstream science journals.
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          Apr 14 2013: Noah,
          Stop "fighting", do some research, and offer your perspective. Getting "worked up" doesn't solve anything.
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          Apr 14 2013: I totally get that, Noah, particularly if you are someone who has a background in science. It's just that using insulting language tends not to be a winning strategy for getting people to rethink anything.

          Other than that, asking questions is a great contribution to discourse.
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      Apr 14 2013: Hi Noah,

      As has been stated above, using foul language is completely disrespectful and unproductive. I understand where you are coming from, but you need to remember that well, you don't know everything. I am not really sure what you mean by "real science". Please remember that the scientific world is far from black and white.

      Others have kindly provided numerous research results. Pabitra specifically mentioned heartmath, which I referenced for this conversation.

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