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The mind-bending effects of feeling two hearts

Stashed in: Emotion, Intuition, Empathy, Brain, Awesome, Medicine, Beatles!, Heart, The Feels, Self-Actualization, Neuroscience, Focus, Empathy, empathy

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The small mechanical pump was meant to relieve the burden of his failing cardiac muscles, but Carlos (not his real name) disliked the sensation. The beat of the machine seemed to replace his pulse, a sensation that warped his body image: as the device throbbed above his navel, Carlos had the eerie feeling that his chest had dropped into the abdomen.

It was a strange, unsettling feeling. But when neuroscientist Agustin Ibanez met Carlos, he suspected even odder effects were to come. By changing the man’s heart, Ibanez thought, the doctors might have also changed their patient’s mind: Carlos would now think, feel and act differently as a result of the implant.

How come? We often talk about “following the heart”, but it is only recently that scientists have begun to show that there is literal truth in the cliche; the heaving lump of muscle contributes to our emotions and the mysterious feelings of “intuition” in a very real way. Everything from your empathy for another person’s pain to the hunch that your spouse is having an affair may originate from subtle signals in your heart and the rest of your body.

And the man who feels two hearts offered Ibanez, who is based at Favaloro University in Buenos Aires, a unique opportunity to test those ideas.


People with more bodily awareness tend have more intense reactions to emotive pictures and report being more greatly moved by them; they are also better at describing their feelings. Importantly, this sensitivity seems to extend to others’ feelings – they are better at recognising emotions in others’ faces – and they are also quicker to learn to avoid a threat, such as a small electric shock in the lab, perhaps because those more intense bodily feelings saturate their memories, making the aversion more visceral. “It may quickly clue us in to the relative goodness or badness of the objects, choices, or avenues of action that we are facing,” says Daniella Furman at the University of California, Berkeley. In other words, people who are in tune with their bodies have a richer, more vivid emotional life – including both the ups and downs of life. “We may not be able to describe the particular physiological signature of a pleasurable experience, but we would probably recognise the sensations when they occur,” she says.

I wonder how the brain, heart, and guts (microbiome) each influence our intuition.

Still, the man with two hearts is a good illustration of emotion.

drums the never ending drums gif imgur

It is never ending?

it never ends gif tumblr imgur never ending story yeah


Emily gets it. :)

hahaha!  you gave me the perfect setup.  ;)

I work hard to make it easy for you!

yeah you do!  :)

John Lennon quote and we all shine on like the moon and the stars and the sun Imgur

this part made me stop and wonder and try it for myself:

The studies first asked subjects to count their heartbeats based solely on the feelings within their chest; they weren’t allowed to put their hand on their heart or actively take their pulse. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see that this kind of “interoception” can be surprisingly difficult; around one in four people miss the mark by about 50%, suggesting they have little to no perception of the movements inside them; only a quarter get 80% accuracy.

I just tried it -- it's really really hard to listen to my heart without putting my hand on it!

weird, right?!  but you sure feel it when you have a scare!

And I also feel it when I'm excited!

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