Daily Mail, by RICHARD SHEARS, 26th September 2010
An extraordinary scientific study has proved that a sixth sense between two people really does exist.
|In sync: Dr Trisha Stratford's research|
shows how the brains of couples in love
Dr Trisha Stratford, an expert on the how the brain behaves, has spent five years monitoring the way couples interact in a non-physical manner.
If they are close to one another mentally, particularly when they are in love, their brains appear to work together, the neuropsychotherapist has found.
Dr Stratford, who conducted her research at Sydney's University of Technology, concluded that two people can become physiologically aligned - with parts of their nervous systems beating in harmony - despite having no physical contact with each other.
'This study gives us a deeper understanding of what happens when people interact, including when a couple falls in love,' she said today.
She suggested that her research could provide clues about how to communicate with a potential partner using sixth sense, which she said had long been suggested but never extensively identified in science.
Dr Stratford told Fairfax media in Australia that an American psychiatrist, Carl Marci, had established a connection between two people, but his study in 2007 was limited and he called for more research.
By then, Dr Stratford had already started her own studies into the phenomenon, replicating Dr Marci's research, 'but then I froze that point of two people becoming one and looked at what was happening in the brain,' she said.
'It was very exciting. When we're in this moment of oneness, or an altered state, the most exciting thing is that a part of the brain called the parietal lobe is fired into action.
'When this happens we can read each other's brains and bodies at a deeper level - a sixth sense.'
Her studies included looking at the behaviour of 30 volunteers aged from 21 to 65, who were assessed by six therapists who worked at lining up their own thoughts and emotions with those of the 'patients'.
The volunteers were all suffering from some kind of anxiety. Their 'body signals' were monitored by electrodes that were placed around the head to monitor brain waves in four different areas, while other monitors recorded heart and body movements.
|Brain power: Dr Stratford said her research|
could provide clues about how to communicate
with a potential partner using a 'sixth sense'
At the end of the sessions, the patients were shown to have lower anxiety levels and lower heart rates and all agreed they had benefited from the 'connection' with the therapists.
One of Dr Stratford's colleagues, Sara Lal, a senior lecturer in the unversity's molecular biosciences department, agreed that the visual and audio face-to-face communication between therapists and volunteer patients had resulted in the alignment of what is known as their autonomic nervous systems.
'It really is quite eerie when you see the traces on the screen start to match each other as they come into alignment,' Dr Lal told Fairfax media.
Researchers observed how the patients' body language changed as alignment of the nervous system occurred. Their eyes changed their focus and the patients become oblivious to their surroundings.
One of the scientists involved in the Australian research, psychotherapist Alan Meara, said sixth sense wasn't a magical occurrence.
'It is something that the human brain is wired to do,' he said. 'The research shows that we do have the capacity to understand people at a deeper level than we normal do in general conversation.'
So how does one communicate with a stranger - chat up a potential partner, perhaps?
'You need to give them your total, undivided attention,' said Dr Stratford.
'Listening is better than talking about yourself and the state of one-ness becomes strongest after two or three meetings.'