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 16 2013: Hi Hadar,

    It is interesting to ponder possibilities of an alternate intellectual infrastructure of the human body, however, I don't think that evidence of a cardioelectromagenetic field affecting a human in close proximity is evidence that a deeper intellectual system manifested in the heart or other organs may exist. Why is this alleged cause and effect relationship between an electromagnetic field and a human different from the sense of touch or any other sensory input that the brain perceives? I'm not sure what you mean by "intelligence" though. Many complex and "intelligent" processes occur to make even the simplest of bodily processes possible. At least for me personally, these findings will not have any affect on how I interact with other humans. Even if I do believe a person's heart is "smart", what difference does the source (brain or other organ) of intelligence make? Just my two cents.

    George

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