The Traditional view

We all heard before someone say ‘’follow your heart’’, we always have this feeling that the heart is not just a biological organ that pumps blood to the rest of body, but rather something that strongly affects our thinking and feelings. To us the heart was always responsible for our love, hate, fear and joy and we always consider the heart as being capable of having it’s own decisions without getting back to the brain, although it was always considered an unreliable source of decision-making.

Throughout human history people have been expressing this traditional view of the ‘’thinking heart.

’’ it is included in our movies, our songs, our arts and our novels. Even up to modern days we all the time think that we are following our hearts.

The scientific view

But according to science ‘’for many many years’’ this view was completely unscientific. Although up to this day no one knows exactly how human beings are conscious and aware of themselves and of the surrounding world, some claim that we are just complex neuronal network working in very complex ways, others don’t find such scenarios satisfying and look for answers in the fabric of matter itself, but they all agree that whatever is going on it is only happening inside the brain.

New experiments

But in recent years new data was coming out to light.

Scientists have been asking themselves if the heart could have any role in human thinking and psychological functions, and the results were positive.

This year a study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology titled ‘’ Knowing by heart: Visceral feedback shapes recognition memory judgments.’’ In the study the scientists showed the participants arbitrary pictures of people and they used to repeat some pictures from time to time and being asked whether they have seen such faces before or no.

The interesting part is the participants used to decide whether the face was repeated or not based on their heartbeat. In other words, the participants could say that a face is familiar just because their heart is beating in a certain way although the picture is shown for the first time, and they could also say that the face is not familiar although it has been repeated based on their heart beat.

Another study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information titled ‘’ Uncovering brain–heart information through advanced signal and image processing’’ in which they have been finding an interplay between the heart and the brain which together affect our human psychological behaviors and functions, as the study quotes ‘’ Through their dynamical interplay, the brain and the heart ensure fundamental homeostasis and mediate a number of physiological functions as well as their disease-related aberrations.’’


The brain is no doubt crucial for human thinking, but according to the experiments mentioned above (and even more), the heart could come into the picture. After all, people who used to think throughout history that we sometimes follow the heart could have been right all along.