The Anticipating Heart

  • Oleg KubryakEmail author


The perceptions associated with the heartbeat are often interpreted as representative for what is occurring inside the body or as a response to external influences. Older and more recent theories have highlighted autonomous reactions with associated underlying neurological (brain) activity. We report here on research carried on at the Anokhin Research Institute of Normal Physiology. Based on this research, we argue that the heartbeat should be associated with psychological and cognitive processes. This will help overcome the reductionist fixation on localization, which is usually unproductive. Instead of seeking microstructure detail, we should relate to the whole “map” (an idea inspired by Kolmogorov’s metaphor of knowledge acquisition). The heart within the dynamic system of mental procedures is a perspective that can lead to progress in understanding how anticipation is expressed.


Heartbeat Associative anticipation Cognitive complexity Holistic view Localization 



We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Oleg Zilbert in translating this text from the Russian and of Elvira Nadin for preparing the final version. We want to thank Dr. Mihai Nadin for his dedication to making the work of Russian pioneers in anticipation and to those researchers who carry on their work.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anokhin Research Institute of Normal PhysiologyMoscowRussia

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