Mirroring: The Body Language of Love and Attraction

People naturally mimic each other's body language, so when you notice it happening to you, it may be a sign that you are personally or professionally compatible with the other person.

Jane McGonigal:  One of the fun things that you can do in everyday life is to develop a technique that I call the love detector. And here’s how it works. In everyday life we are constantly mirroring with our facial expressions, with our body language, even with our breathing and our heart rates people who we like. And the more that we feel like we really understand somebody, we’re really connecting with them, we’re really clicking with them, the more likely we are to physically mirror what they’re doing. So if you’re sitting across from somebody, you’re having a meeting, you’re having a first date and you notice that you both have your head kind of tilted to the same side or maybe you’re both leaning into the table with your head on your hand like this. And you haven’t don’t it on purpose but you notice just in that instant wait, we’re really – we’re sitting the same way. And oftentimes in my own experience it’ll be really strange positions. You’ll be leaning back with one arm out here and you’re like whoa, how did we get into this position.

Well the way it happened is you are both feeling connected. You feel like you are clicking and so because of that you’re physically starting to mirror each other. And some people would advise you to do this intentionally to kind of trick the other person into thinking that wow, we’re really getting on. Look, they won’t consciously know it but their brain will perceive it. I think that’s kind of creepy and really awkward. So instead of using this knowledge to I don’t know maybe manipulate people into thinking that you’re bonding, just use it as a love detector. Happen to notice in everyday life when you’re physically mirroring people and that’s just a signal to you. It’s a clue to you, hey, here’s somebody that I really connected with at a very deep level. This is somebody who would be a great ally, a great collaborator. Somebody that I should definitely spend more time connecting with in the future.

In our attempt to make scientific findings "applicable," people have said some pretty creepy things about body mirroring, the natural event in which people subconsciously mimic each other's body language. On the other hand, consciously mirroring someone's body language in order to manipulate them is awkward, says Jane McGonigal, at the very least. So instead of trying to manipulate people, simply be aware of when body mirroring happens in your life — it may be a sign that you are personally or professionally compatible with the person across from you.

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This article was originally published by our sister site, Freethink.

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The therapy appears to be astonishingly effective, editing nearly every cell in the liver to stop a disease-causing mutation.

The challenge: CRISPR gives us the ability to correct genetic mutations, and given that such mutations are responsible for more than 6,000 human diseases, the tech has the potential to dramatically improve human health.

One way to use CRISPR to treat diseases is to remove affected cells from a patient, edit out the mutation in the lab, and place the cells back in the body to replicate — that's how one team functionally cured people with the blood disorder sickle cell anemia, editing and then infusing bone marrow cells.

Bone marrow is a special case, though, and many mutations cause disease in organs that are harder to fix.

Another option is to insert the CRISPR system itself into the body so that it can make edits directly in the affected organs (that's only been attempted once, in an ongoing study in which people had a CRISPR therapy injected into their eyes to treat a rare vision disorder).

Injecting a CRISPR therapy right into the bloodstream has been a problem, though, because the therapy has to find the right cells to edit. An inherited mutation will be in the DNA of every cell of your body, but if it only causes disease in the liver, you don't want your therapy being used up in the pancreas or kidneys.

A new CRISPR therapy: Now, researchers from Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have demonstrated for the first time that a CRISPR therapy delivered into the bloodstream can travel to desired tissues to make edits.

We can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically.

—JENNIFER DOUDNA

"This is a major milestone for patients," Jennifer Doudna, co-developer of CRISPR, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR.

"While these are early data, they show us that we can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically so far, which is being able to deliver it systemically and get it to the right place," she continued.

What they did: During a phase 1 clinical trial, Intellia researchers injected a CRISPR therapy dubbed NTLA-2001 into the bloodstreams of six people with a rare, potentially fatal genetic disorder called transthyretin amyloidosis.

The livers of people with transthyretin amyloidosis produce a destructive protein, and the CRISPR therapy was designed to target the gene that makes the protein and halt its production. After just one injection of NTLA-2001, the three patients given a higher dose saw their levels of the protein drop by 80% to 96%.

A better option: The CRISPR therapy produced only mild adverse effects and did lower the protein levels, but we don't know yet if the effect will be permanent. It'll also be a few months before we know if the therapy can alleviate the symptoms of transthyretin amyloidosis.

This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine.

—FYODOR URNOV

If everything goes as hoped, though, NTLA-2001 could one day offer a better treatment option for transthyretin amyloidosis than a currently approved medication, patisiran, which only reduces toxic protein levels by 81% and must be injected regularly.

Looking ahead: Even more exciting than NTLA-2001's potential impact on transthyretin amyloidosis, though, is the knowledge that we may be able to use CRISPR injections to treat other genetic disorders that are difficult to target directly, such as heart or brain diseases.

"This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine," Fyodor Urnov, a UC Berkeley professor of genetics, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR. "We as a species are watching this remarkable new show called: our gene-edited future."

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