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Technological Advances Aid Study of Mind-Body Connection

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Feb 02, 2009

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Ten reports presented in the International Journal of Psychophysiology (2008; doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.09.002) highlight how technological improvements are enabling more detailed measurement of mind-body interactions. For example, researchers noted that a response such as sweating, which occurs on the outside of the body through the peripheral nervous system, is regulated by the brain, and that when this response occurs, it impacts other activities regulated by the central nervous system, such as attention and emotion. This experiential chain of events—from sweating to an attentional and emotional reaction—may ultimately affect behavior.

Instruments that gather psychophysiological data can now record, measure and track a multitude of these interactions. Authors of one of the reports suggested that their “findings demonstrate the representation of feeling states in the brain as they unfold at a millisecond level.”

Another example of how technology can aid in understanding the mind-body connection was explored in a report on listening to music. Attending to music can alter physiological responses, as well as emotional states. In healthy individuals, provocative music stimulates a skin conductive response and triggers activity in the emotional centers of the brain. In people with damage in either the somatosensory or emotional areas of the brain, physiological and emotional responses to music are altered. The new, sophisticated instruments are helping scientists understand how and why the changes happen and how a healthy brain seamlessly integrates a multitude of sensory and emotional experiences.

Fitness Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at