Archive for January 5, 2013

You’re On My Mind

 The Art and Science of Making Contact

The aim of this blog, “You’re on My Mind,” is to train our attentions on the front edge of the art and science of how we make contact, and how we keep contact—or lose it.  This process of attachment is mostly an art, but more recently also a science.  We make most of our contacts without understanding how we make them, or why. 

The art of making contact so fascinates us that our best stories and the myths we worship all focus on it.   Now that neuroscience is catching up with this fascination, a conversation begins between this ancient art and this novel science.  “You’re on My Mind” will catch the highlights of this conversation and invite you into it.

Our species spent the last century finding its mind/brain and learning how to talk about it: the birth of neuroscience.  The first decades of the twentieth century ushered in revolutionary views of the mind (Freud, Picasso, Einstein), and the last decades of the twentieth century delivered us promising images of the brain and buzz words such as “PET scans” and “mirror neurons” and “brain plasticity.”

We’re likely to spend the next century learning how to talk about two (or more) mind/brains, and how they affect each other.  We’re already developing new ways to study, think, and talk about the mysteries of love, war, sex, paranoia, and collective intelligence (the internet)—all of which reflect how relationships drive our minds and brains, our most powerful behaviors and passions.

In the field of psychology this shift in interest from the individual to the pair, the family, and the group began in the second half of the twentieth century through the emergence of interpersonal psychology, family and group therapy, and sociobiology, fathered by E O Wilson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._O._Wilson ).  In the field of neuroscience, however, only in this young twenty-first century has formal research begun to examine the functioning of the central nervous systems of two or more people.  Let’s see what this conversation can teach us.