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Heart-Brain Connection

Rollin McCraty and Robert A. Rees

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


The connection between the human heart and brain, once considered minor and inconsequential, has now been demonstrated through a variety of scientific studies to be significant, complex, and highly sophisticated. This is in keeping with the understanding that complex living systems, such as human beings, are composed of numerous interconnected, dynamic networks of biological structures and processes. The recent application of systems thinking in the life sciences has given rise to the understanding that the function of the human organism as an integrated whole is determined by the multilevel interactions of all the elements of the psychophysiological system. Recent research has seen the emergence of a new understanding of how the brain functions and how the heart and brain interact in a dynamic relationship that regulates many aspects of cognition and gives rise to emotional experience. The connections between the heart and brain are complex and involve an ongoing dialogue in which the two major systems continuously interact and influence one another's function. The heart plays a central role in the generation and transmission of system-wide information essential to the body's function as a coherent whole. For example, the heart is the most consistent and dynamic generator of rhythmic information patterns in the body. As the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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