“I deal with children who can’t make it, children who struggle at school, children who struggle with growing up, children who don’t feel understood, children who suffer. And this has changed my story as a scientist”
Right from the very beginning, you understand straight away that the talk given by Daniela Lucangeli, Professor of Psychology at the University of Padua, will not be formal, but a testimony of a scientific and compassionate career, told by a scientist that passionately investigates “the relationship between the brain and the mind, and between the brain and the soul, between what we feel and how it is possible that we feel this way”.
As she recalls, the meeting with a child, in the hall of a hospital, “changed the trajectory of my history as a scientist”. In response to a request for help, she started to study the neuroplasticity of the brain and how to strengthen areas where it could be developed.
This research led her to discover something unexpected: the relationship between the error of the mind and the pain of the mind. In other words, the burden that, in terms of pain, remains within us because of the mistakes we have made.
But there is more: “It is not the mind that controls emotions: it is a great illusion. As a cognitive scientist, at some point I had to give up”.
The emotion is more powerful than the cognitive system: it is the great decision-maker, and although it is smart, it has only two possible answers, “it hurts me” or “it’s good for me”. And scientific evidence shows that memories of pain are not only individual, but transgenerational, because we pass on to our children the things from which they should protect themselves.
Hence, the educating system has an enormous power and just as great a responsibility in causing “pollution in mental circuits or a pandemic healing”.
If this is how things are, how should we adults behave? First of all, by rediscovering something as old as the world:
“I started explaining to people that learning to look kids in the eyes, learning to hug them, learning to caress them, creates permanent memories in the circuit, which are tied to emotions that build well-being and not uneasiness”.
And then we should raise our children not with a guilty conscience but with the right to make mistakes, understood as a learning process and continuous improvement, which leads to achieving an increasingly high level of awareness.