PRE NOTES chapter 45 Minds Create Minds




“…central importance of mental states in human behavior and their manifestations as feelings, perceptions, intentions, goals, beliefs, and desires)….(siegel/tdm/333)”

So a mental state manifests itself as a feeling or a perception or an intention, a goal, belief or a desire – or more than one of these at the same time – or is it all of these at the same time?

Does every mental state have one of these?  Or have all of these?


“…what is known about how the relationship between parent and child enables the child’s brain to develop the circuits responsible for healthy emotion regulation.  The intention here is not to imply that all or even most individuals’ troubles with self-regulation stem from attachment difficulties.  Instead, the aim is to review how what is known about the emotional communication inherent in attachment can guide us to understand the nature of emotion regulation within interpersonal relationships.  Such an exploration allows us to look more deeply into the ways in which one mind directly shapes the development and function of another – the essence of interpersonal connection.  (siegel/tdm/276)”

“How can one mind influence another in this way?  By viewing the substance of mind as composed of the flow of information and energy, we can envision the complex neural systems from which it emanates as involving various dimensions:  the parts of a single neuron, neurons in synaptic connections, groups of neurons organized within specific circuits, or systems such as the left or right hemispheres of the brain.  The patterns of flow of information and energy through such systems allows them to form more and more complex layers of systems.  (siegel.tdm/276)”

(same paragraph con’t)

“But how can the system of one mind directly interface [or interfere with!] with that of another to create a “supersystem”?  Just as we can receive information in various forms – from oral to written to digitally transmitted via facsimile or electronic mail – so too can the energy and information of the mind be relayed via means (siegel/tdm/276) including the electric action potentials of single neuronal axons, the patterned release of neurotransmitters, the physiological neuroendocrine milieu [environment] and the complex neuronal activation of a neural net profile [known as a state of mind].  (siegel/tdm/277)”

“The linking of minds occurs via different modalities of the transfer of energy and information.  The physical proximity of one individual to another has direct effects that may serve as “hidden regulators” conveying, for example, warmth and tactile stimulation.  Touch may be an extremely important part of parent-child relationships.  Some studies suggest that close physical proximity also directly shapes the electrical activity of each individual’s brain.  But even at a physical distance, one mind can directly influence the activity – and development – of another through the transfer of energy and information.  (siegel/tdm/277)

(same paragraph con’t)

“This joining process occurs via both verbal and nonverbal behavioral responses, which function as signals sent from one mind to another.  Both words and the prosodic, nonverbal components of speech contain information that creates representational processes within the mind of the receiver.  Other nonverbal signals, including facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, and timing of response, have a direct impact on the socially sensitive value centers of the brain.  [mostly left brain?]  The expression of these emotional elements of social signals serves to activate the very neuronal circuits that mediate the receiver’s emotional response:  orienting attention, appraising meaning, and creating arousalThis emotional engagement with another person creates a cascade of elaborated and differentiated appraisal-arousal processes, which serve to direct the flow of energy and information processing within one’s own brain.  It is in this manner that the emotional state of the sender directly shapes that of the receiver.  In complexity terms, such “external constraints” as the signals sent from another person have a powerful and immediate effect on the trajectory or flow of one’s own states of mind.  (siegel/tdm/277)”


[And when the social signals are terrifying, those social centers of the brain are mis-formed and under-formed.  They will not function properly, and will be filled with misinformation!  How do we make up for this if this happened to us?]


“…childhood patterns in the transfer of energy and information between minds can create organized strategies in relationships, which are revealed within characteristic behavioral responses in attachment-related situations.  The minds of children learn to adapt specifically to the emotional communication they receive from their caregivers.  Over time, such relationship-dependent patterns may become engrained as strategies that are employed in more general contexts. Aspects of children’s emotion regulation (such as adaptation to stress), cognitive processes (as in memory and attention), and social competence (including peer inter- (siegel/tdm/277) actions) have been related to attachment history.  In adults, one may see characteristic approaches to interpersonal intimacy and autobiographical narrative organization that reflect the development of this experiential learning into generalized states of mind with respect to attachment.  (siegel/tdm/278)”


[It is more than this!  The minds of children learn to adapt because the patterns and quality and nature of the parental communication with them forms the very structure and circuitry of their brains!  The strategies them employ later come from this brain formation, and affect every aspect of the individual’s brain-mind functioning, not just within attachment relationships!

“Generalized states of mind” of the adult are not just limited to attachment.  At least certainly not with disorganized attachment which creates dissociation between these states of mind and disorganization that results in faulty self-organization.  In normal circumstances, the trajectory or path of development aims in the correct direction so that one does not have to look all the way back to the beginning to find where the errors occurred.  But when things went wrong, they went VERY wrong, and every aspect of the individual will be affected and altered.

We go backward and forward in a maze, stuck, not being able to find another path out, not reaching our goals or even knowing what they are, could be, should be.]


“Given the important role of emotions in creating meaning, it is understandable why the biological system [is this what he is calling emotion in this sentence?] that helps organize the self is so crucial in deterring our subjective experiences in life.  (siegel/tdm/278)”

“…human emotions constitute the fundamental value system the brain uses to help organize its functioning.  The regulation of emotions is thus the essence of self-organization.  (siegel/tdm/278)”

The communication with and about emotions between parent and infant directly shapes the child’s ability to organize the self.  (siegel/tdm/278)”


see major part moved to prenotes for ch 44 Child’s Brain


“Making sense of the social world of minds is a bit more complicated, but it involves the same basic problem of cause-effect relationships.  What does the scowl of another person “mean”?  How do the subtle and rapid signals, both verbal and nonverbal, from other people reveal what is happening and what may happen next?  Knowing whom to trust and whom to be wary of is essential in negotiating one’s way through the human world of social interactions.  [I have an awful time with this]  The states of mind of others – their intentions, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions – predispose an individual to behave in a certain way.  The ability to anticipate the behavior of others is dependent upon the ability to understand other minds. (siegel/tdm/328)”

“Functioning in a complex social network [belonging] enhances people’s capacity to survive as individuals, reproduce, and create a group of like-minded individuals who share such a capacity.  This can be seen as a form of Interindividual integration, in which an individual becomes a member of a community beyond the dyadic relationships of attachment and friendship.  The potential for such a group to become a functionally cohesive system of individuals will enhance the chances of that group’s surviving in competition with isolated humans or with groups that cannot process such social communication signals as well.  Such shared mentalizing abilities permit the group to function as a cohesive system composed of connected individuals.  This allows for a “groups state” to be achieved, which can (siegel/tdm/328) facilitate the development of a highly effective problem-solving system to meet challenges in a world filled with competition.  Being a member of a group in this way [belonging] confers a sense of safety, security, and stability on an individual.  (siegel/tdm/329).”

“The finding that our minds appear to have “cheater detectors,” which identify misleading social communications intended to mask the true inner states and intentions of others, supports this idea that group functioning has been a central shaping force in the evolution of the human mind.  Natural selection has thus enabled our minds to evolve mindsight capacities.  Being able to navigate our way through such an intense social world requires the ability to make sense of other minds.  (siegel/tdm/329).”

Same paragraph

“Communicating the more elaborate and intricate learned aspects of this mentalizing knowledge to others allows the benefits of one individual’s wisdom and experience to be shared with others I the group.  This knowledge is transmitted from one individual to others in the group by means of storytellingMaking sense of other minds is the essential stuff of narratives. This means that the mentalizing representations of the right hemisphere may need to be integrated with the interpreting ones of the left in both the expression and reception of such information.  (siegel/tdm/329).”


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