Know how sometimes you “click” with your colleagues while other times you don’t?
This phenomenon might actually have a real neurological basis—what you might even call a “mind meld,” after the fictional practice from the TV series “Star Trek.”
New research shows that our brain waves and behavior may synchronize with those of another person when we “get” what they’re saying.
Using a special MRI machine, researchers at Princeton University tracked a student’s brain waves as she described two personal experiences: a conflict with a police officer and an incident in which two boys fought over her. Among listeners who empathized with her, their brain waves soon synchronized with hers, especially among higher brain functions.
But if a listener didn’t understand or like what she said, their brain waves decoupled.
Afterward, listeners answered questions about how well they understood the stories. The more their brain waves were in sync, the better the comprehension. This ability to “click” might even be related to the way people in sync unconsciously mimic each other’s postures, speech and gestures.
Bottom line: While it’s true that leaders have been discouraged from hiring “clones” or “yes men,” it’s also true that copacetic co-workers may be better able to understand your goals and carry out your wishes.
— Adapted from “Successful Conversations Involve Mind Melds, Study Reveals,” Rachael Rettner, LiveScience.com.