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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Social Animal: #3--Mindsight

Mindsight: As social animals, babies, from the very instant of birth, insinuate themselves into the minds of their parents, especially their mothers. Actually, it’s a survival instinct that babies are born with. They’re dependent on their mothers for their very lives and play to that dependency by getting into their heads right away. That’s why even newborns will mimic mommy and daddy—to get fed, changed, and touched. In fact, studies around touch, smell and other forms of interpenetration show that mammals’ brains develop best when interconnected with others. Orphans’ IQs increased after they were adopted by loving parents. “Mirror neurons” in our brains account for much of our interpenetrations with others. Literally we reflect what we see. We interpret others’ behaviors through an internal mimicking and rehearsal of what they’re doing. So when someone licks their lips, we might feel dry or need to do the same. That’s why we will watch a sad movie and cry or watch a comedy and laugh. Our emotional Wi-Fi picks up that of another person or group, making us feel as if we’ve just experienced something ourselves. Indeed, smiling and laughter are instinctive social bonding exercises among people. We laugh 30 times more when around people than by ourselves.

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