Did you know that male fireflies in Malaysia flash in unison in order to send mating signals to females? They all land on a tree and start to pulse. Eventually, it gets to where they light up the whole tree while pulsing in unison.
Like the fireflies, there are many living things that synchronize and pulse in unison. Some more examples of synchronization are when the muscle cells (such as cardiac muscles) all pulsate together in order to create the heartbeat, women’s menstrual cycles becoming synchronized when they’re around one another for long periods of time, and the synchronized fire of neurons in the brain.
The electrical activity of the neurons in our brains form a network that is a nonlinear dynamical system. This sort of system may contain things like strange attractors such as the Lorenz attractor and chaotic trajectories. Chaos theory adequately describes attractors of chaotic dynamical systems. It says that future behavior is determined by initial conditions, but that the behavior can’t be predicated because small differences in the initial system, results in widely diverging outcomes.
These kinds of systems have been modeled on computers when creating videos like this one:
This video is set to a song by Trentemoller called Miss You. A general characteristic of it is its synchronization to the rhythm of this song. As a result of our neurons firing in unison, our brain has characteristics like synchronization as well.
Another instance of when we can observe synchronization occurring in us is when we exercise. If you do a lot of ab exercises and then go into the Savasana (Dead man’s pose, lying flat on the floor on your back) yoga pose, you’ll recognize that you have a pulse in your abdomen. This is a sign of effective ab exercises and a sign of synchronization in the rhythm of your pulse.
Learning about how the body functions and synchronization is very interesting. After exercising and studying biology, one can get a feel for how biological systems function. You could even sort of see where people’s weak spots are and tell what they need to work on during their exercise routine. It becomes fun to strengthen muscle memory and increase coordination while observing synchronization, especially if your engaging in activities such as skiing. Muscle memory is reminiscent of how neurons leave traces of where their paths previously ran before they were altered. They are likely related because neurons signal the muscles to contract.
The endocrine system can become synchronized as it controls muscles and cells as well, but it works more slowly than the central nervous system and tends to flood the bloodstream with hormones causing it to have a more spread out effect. It works by releasing antagonistic hormones to maintain balanced levels of things such as blood sugar in the body. Learning about synchronization and biorhythms helps us gain a better understanding of how blood sugar is regulated and may give us insight on how treat illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.
We would need to learn more about cell communication in order to gain a better understanding of how synchronization in the endocrine system is related to normal functioning or the development of diabetes and cancer. Cell communication is a new and exciting area of biology. We don’t know very much about it, but the functioning of our cells and the emergence of living organisms from tiny little sacks of life is awesome!
I wonder what makes people seem like they’re glowing when they are fully immersed with an energized focus while engaging in a perfectly performed activity. It could be any number of activities such as singing, performing a gymnastics routine, praying, writing, or any task that a person works hard perfecting. Synchronization might be part of the reason why such practiced and loved activities seem to bring out the best in us.