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Mentalization

Take a moment and imag­ine that you are fly­ing like a bird, soar­ing above New York City. Imag­ine the sounds which you can hear from up there, envis­age the col­ors and details of the city below you. Visu­al­ize the build­ings, the peo­ple, the streets all the details. Imag­ine the sun­light above the build­ings, the light breeze that touch­es your body and the per­fume above the sky­line.

This is men­tal­iza­tion.

It is the act to use your mind to cre­ate images, sounds, scents, tex­tures, every­thing, but only in your mind.

Many stud­ies have been con­duct­ed show­ing that to our brains there is no dif­fer­ence between what it per­ceives through the sens­es and what is imag­ined. A famous study looked at the brain of ath­letes and saw that doing exer­cise or imag­in­ing doing the exer­cise lit up the same areas of the brain. Fur­ther, when look­ing at the mus­cles of peo­ple think­ing about doing the exer­cise a sim­i­lar devel­op­ment was wit­nessed. You don’t believe it? Check­out this arti­cle from New Sci­en­tist.

Now in a more recent study has shown that this is not all the effects we can wit­ness. Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can has writ­ten an arti­cle about two stud­ies which link men­tal­iza­tion with surgery recov­ery.

So why is this rel­e­vant to us?

Since the 1960s we have used this tech­nique to our favor in our teach­ing. Men­tal­iza­tion is one of the key tools we use in our tech­ni­cal class­es. It is part of the rules of exe­cu­tion, our stu­dents become famil­iar­ized with this tech­nique from their very first class and use it to their advan­tage through­out their lives. Some of our stu­dents men­tal­ize phys­i­cal per­for­mance, oth­ers out­comes of meet­ings and oth­ers even busi­ness deals. We have not con­duct­ed a for­mal sci­en­tif­ic study, but our empir­i­cal obser­va­tion has led us to con­clude that their suc­cess rate increas­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly!

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