What is it that makes us feel in tune with another person? Is it a pheromone signature released into the atmosphere that triggers a subliminal message to form an attachment? Perhaps, but it is certainly an ability to mirror another person’s brain activity.
As the Beach Boys once sang about picking up good vibrations, we are all able to detect similar thought processes in those around us. Neuroscientists refer to this phenomenon as Brain Coupling, and it only gets stronger the more time you spend in each other’s company. It is a quantifiable, measurable and experimentally validated effect.
Dr Uri Hasson, at Princeton University, recorded data from fMRI scans of volunteers as they engaged in normal activities such as watching movies or listening to stories. Not only were his team able to extrapolate interesting facts about how we process information over time, but they were also shown incredible evidence of brain coupling.
When we relate to another person on a deep level, brain activity literally synchronises. Scans of people with close relationships showed that while one of the pair told a story and the other listened, the same regions of the brain fired in synchronous patterns, even though those activities are fundamentally different — speaking versus listening.
Stronger ties between the test subjects showed an enhanced degree of mirroring or neural entrainment. Dr Trisha Stratford, at the University of Technology, Sydney, scanned close couples for brain activity over time. Her team’s experiments were able to pinpoint the exact moment when neural entrainment occurred. Their scans showed that brain waves began pulsing coherently, allowing them to complete their partners' thoughts or pre-empt conversation. Rather than blaming habitual learning for this phenomenon, their scans confirmed their entrained minds. They had reached an altered state of consciousness.
This can also be seen to a lesser degree within audiences who are listening to the same musical piece or to the same stories being told. It does, however, depend on the beliefs and cultural background similarities between the storyteller and the listener. Dr Hasson’s studies revealed that biased viewpoints could be seeded in the listeners’ minds prior to hearing the story which had an impact on audience perceptions. The more positive the bias, the greater the likelihood of entrainment.
Hasson goes as far as suggesting that the people with whom we allow ourselves to couple with, define who we are. This makes good and positive communication channels essential to our outlook on life and to the larger community. If a respected celebrity seeded the wrong values in people with similar beliefs, it could have untold repercussions. This is why we should all be very aware of bias within media channels and subliminal messages embedded in the entertainment industry.
What is apparent from these studies is that as human beings, there is a need for collective storytelling to reinforce relationships. More than that is the possibility that we can all have access to the same frequencies and channels on which our brains function. With this level of communication, it begs the question of whether we are tapping into a unified field of consciousness where all those thoughts, beliefs and memories might be stored.
What if there is a collective consciousness jam-packed with creative energies that spur us on to produce similar stories or solve complex issues at the same time as someone on the opposite side of the planet? When one is talking about frequencies and weak energies on the electromagnetic spectrum, physical space becomes almost irrelevant. With a certain degree of neural entrainment between close couples, distance is no barrier to communication.
How else can we explain the times when we get a sudden urge to call an old friend, but when you go to pick up the telephone, they call you first? How many times has your partner completed your sentences before you know what you were going to say yourself? This would be vindication for those studying at the fringes of conventional science, who have long known that humans are more than just unique creatures over-populating the earth. We are also one single community with the same neurological systems and communication channels regardless of the language spoken. Are these enlightened scientists close to proving telepathy?
The next time you just click with a new acquaintance, ask yourself this, is it really a coincidence that you met someone with the same thoughts and beliefs as yourself, or did the similarities of neural entrainment draw them into your world through a unified field of collective thoughts?