Dan Siegel’s Mindsight

In this Google TechTalk, psychologist Dan Siegel introduces his findings about the mind: 1. The mind is a process that regulates the flow of energy and information, it uses the brain to create itself. 2. The flow of energy and information incorporates three basic elements: brain (mechanism), mind (regulating), relationships (sharing). 3. A healthy mind emerges from integrated systems defined by nine functions: body regulation, atunement, balancing emotions, capacity to extinguish fear, ability to pause before acting, insight, empathy, morality, and intuition.

The integrated flow of energy and information can be compared to the harmony of a quire. Relationships, playing an essential role in that process, shape the connections in the brain. Neurons which fire together wire together, that is the way experience is being created. It is also the way learning happens — the more efficent the relationships the more sustainable the learning. The efficacy of the mind can be improved through mindfulness techniques.

That process of being able to see mental activity with more clarity, and then modify it with more efficacy is something you can name with the word “mindsight”, this ability to actually see your mind, not just have one… — Daniel J. Siegel

There are some valuable lessons for presenters to learn from Dan Siegel’s presentation. Since experience as well as learning happens through establishing connections in the brain we have to promote that process in our presentations. Establishing meaningful relationships with our listeners is a powerful way to do so. While presenting though we have to consider that the “chalkboard” of the mind can only hold on to two to three pieces of data in terms of what we present on a slide before switching to the next one.

Dan Siegel is a very good presenter himself. He has a subtle way to present even highly abstract concepts. Although he uses no slides his talk is highly visual — by drawing on the listeners’ imagination. About 15 minutes into the presentation he explaines the brain — by using his hands only. While many presenters are afraid to move hands and arms Dan Siegel proves how effective body language can be. Watching his presentation is almost like meditating. Words, hand, and arm movements flow in harmony as one. When we are comfortable, relaxed, in control of and truly passionate about our subject matter our body works in sync with us. It can be a powerful tool.

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative. His new book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, is about to come out early next year.

Paule Wendelberger