We feel therefore we learn: the neuroscience of social emotion
It was wonderful meeting up with Dan Siegel last year at the Vancouver Peace Summit, and even more wonderful when he agreed to fill a suddenly vacant spot on our Mind & Its Potential conference program. Dr Siegel’s passion for understanding and developing the mind, the brain and human relationships is infectious and inspiring so we were delighted to welcome him back to Sydney for the second time in 2009. His field of expertise – interpersonal neurobiology – is relatively new and involves interdisciplinary research into the connections between our relationships and our brains. Parent/child relationships are crucial in the development of children’s brains – secure attachment allows the child to develop nine functions in the middle pre-frontal cortex: body regulation, attuned communication, emotional balance, flexibility, fear modulation, empathy, insight, morality and intuition. Dr Siegel illustrated the key importance of this relationship with a patient case study – he was seeing a seven year old child whose mother was involved in a car accident – tragically the mother’s middle pre-frontal cortex had been crushed causing her to lose all of the functions above – before the accident the girl had a loving and attuned mother and was developing these function beautifully, after the accident the girl no longer had this secure relationship and had stopped talking.
To hear more about how to build a resilient mind and loving, compassionate and empathetic relationships watch Dr Siegel’s presentation online by visiting the Mind & Its Potential 2010 website http://www.mindanditspotential.com.au/ and registering to view the video. We’ll be releasing lots more clips from Mind & Its Potential 2009 over the next few months so stay posted!