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Does the Body Influence the Mind? Essay


The connection between body and mind has been the subject of philosophical debates for centuries, and even with the advent of the new era of information technology, there has still been no consensus regarding the correlation between the two. Although the proponents of the theory concerning the absence of influence of the body on the human mind provide rather strong support for their conclusions, the idea of the body affecting the key mental processes still seems more legitimate; moreover, it seems that the two exist not as the subordinate and the dominant elements, but the components of a single entity, which have a mutually strong influence on each other.

The study conducted by Riekki, Lindeman and Lipsanen (2013) shows that the effects, which the body has on the human mind, are linked directly to the beliefs that make the basis for the culture of a specific ethnic or national group. Particularly, the research has shown that there are strong dualistic relationships between the mind and the body of the research participants. Moreover, the study results have indicated that there is a strong link between the “ontological confusions and paranormal beliefs and religiosity” (Riekki, 2013, p. 112), which defines the dependence of the mind and the body on each other.

While Riekki et al. (2013) are inclined to assume that the effect of the mind on the human body is stronger than the impact of the latter on the mental processes, the study still shows that the correlations between the two are basically equal.

Another study, which addresses the subject matter, the article by Schaefer, Krampe, Lindenberger and Baltes (2008) shows that a major difficulty in completing the balance-task, i.e., the exercise in the control of the body over the mind in adults, could be observed. Hence, the prioritization of mental tasks could be observed among the adults, which shows that the control of mind over body is highly characteristic of the latter.

A set of experiments carried out by Gray has shown that the morality principles, which one has been raised according to and which are acceptable in the society in question, has shown that the so-called “mind” mindset triggers a reduction in the perception of the moral agents (Gray, Knobe, Sheskin & Bloom, 2011, p. 9). Despite the fact that the outcomes of the research indicate that the mind is more susceptible to the signals that the body sends, resulting in the “objectification” (Gray et al., 2011, p. 12) of men and women, the research also displays that the mind frame, which has been set once, prevents from a quick shift in the perception of the signals sent by the body. Therefore, the effects of the two on each other can be considered equally strng and, thus, reciprocal.

Although the arguments regarding the impact, which the human body has on the mind, traditionally revolve around the idea of supremacy of one over the other, the concept of balance between the two seems the most adequate means of viewing the problem. Since the sensual experiences shape the emotional responses, the influence of the body on the mind is obvious; however, as the morality issues still determine the behavioral patterns in most people, the effects of mind on the body are also evident. Hence, the idea of the two elements affecting each other mutually can be viewed as the most reasonable way of resolving the dilemma.

Reference List

Gray, K., Knobe, J., Sheskin, M. & Bloom, P. (2011). More than a body: Mind perception and the nature of objectification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1207–1220. Web.

Riekki, T., Lindeman, M. & Lipsanen, J. (2013). Conceptions about the mind-body problem and their relations to afterlife beliefs, paranormal beliefs, religiosity, and ontological confusions. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 9(3), 112–120. Web.

Schaefer, S., Krampe, R. T., Lindenberger, U. & Baltes, P. B. (2008). Age differences between children and young adults in the dynamics of dual-task prioritization: Body (balance) versus mind (memory). Developmental Psychology, 44(3), 747–757. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Does the Body Influence the Mind?" June 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/does-the-body-influence-the-mind/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Does the Body Influence the Mind'. 11 June.

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