In the same way that the heart generates energy in the body, we propose that the social collective is the activator and regulator of the energy in social systems.
A body of groundbreaking work shows how the field of socioemotional interaction between a mother and her infant is essential to brain development, the emergence of consciousness, and the formation of a healthy self-concept. These interactions are organized along two relational dimensions—stimulation of the baby’s emotions, and regulation of shared emotional energy.
Together they form a socioemotional field through which enormous quantities of psychobiological and psychosocial information are exchanged. Coherent organization of the mother-child relations that make up this field is critical. This occurs when interactions are charged, most importantly, with positive emotions (love, joy, happiness, excitement, appreciation, etc.), and are patterned as highly synchronized, reciprocal exchanges between these two individuals. These patterns are imprinted in the child’s brain and thus influence psychosocial function throughout life. (See Allan Schore, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self.)
Moreover in a longitudinal study of 46 social groups, one of us (RTB) documented how information about the global organization of a group—the group’s collective consciousness—appears to be transmitted to all members by an energetic field of socio-emotional connection. Data on the relationships between each pair of members was found to provide an accurate image of the social structure of the group as a whole. Coherent organization of the group’s social structure is associated with a network of positively charged emotions (love, excitement, and optimism) connecting all members. This network of positive emotions appears to constitute a field of energetic connection into which information about the group’s social structure is encoded and distributed throughout the group.
Remarkably, an accurate picture of the group’s overall social structure was obtained from information only about relationships between pairs of individuals. We believe the only way this is possible is if information about the organization of the whole group is distributed to all members of the group via an energetic field. Such correspondence in information between parts and the whole is consistent with the principle of holographic organization. 
Synthesis and Implications
Some organizing features of the heart field, identified in numerous studies at HeartMath, may also be shared by those of our hypothesized social field. Each is a field of energy in which the waveforms of energy encode the features of objects and events as energy moves throughout the system. This creates a nonlocal order of energetic information in which each location in the field contains an enfolded image of the organization of the whole system at that moment. The organization and processing of information in these energy fields can best be understood in terms of quantum holographic principles. 
Another commonality is the role of positive emotions, such as love and appreciation, in generating coherence both in the heart field and in social fields. When the movement of energy is intentionally regulated to form a coherent, harmonious order, information integrity and flow are optimized. This, in turn, produces stable, effective system function, which enhances health, psychosocial well-being, and intentional action in the individual or social group.
Heart coherence and social coherence may also act to mutually reinforce each other. As individuals within a group increase psychophysiological coherence, psychosocial attunement may be increased, thereby increasing the coherence of social relations. Similarly, the creation of a coherent social field by a group may help support the generation and maintenance of psychophysiological coherence in its individual members. An expanded, deepened awareness and consciousness results—of the body’s internal physiological, emotional, and mental processes, and also of the deeper, latent orders enfolded into the energy fields that surround us.This is the basis of self-awareness, social sensitivity, creativity, intuition, spiritual insight, and understanding of ourselves and all that we are connected to. It is through the intentional generation of coherence in both heart and social fields that a critical shift to the next level of planetary consciousness can occur—one that brings us into harmony with the movement of the whole.
For more information on the Institute of HeartMath’s research and publications.
About the Authors
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
Rollin is the Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Institute of Heart Math. He has been with IHM since its inception in 1991 and has worked with founder Doc Childre to formulate the organization’s research goals and create its Scientific Advisory Board. Rollin is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, holds memberships with the International Neurocardiology Network, American Autonomic Society, Pavlovian Society and Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and is an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University.
Raymond Trevor Bradley, Ph.D.
Adjunct Associate Research Professor, Center for Brain Research and Informational Sciences, Radford University; Director, Institute for Whole Social Science; Author – Charisma and Social Structure, Carmel, CA.
Dana Tomasino, BA
Researcher and scientific writer at the Institute of HeartMath since 1995.
Correlates of physiological coherence include: increased synchronization between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system, a shift in autonomic balance toward increased parasympathetic activity, increased heart-brain synchronization, increased vascular resonance, and entrainment between diverse physiological oscillatory systems.
Holographic organization is based on a field concept of order, in which information about the organization of an object as a whole is encoded as an interference pattern in energy waveforms distributed throughout the field. This makes it possible to retrieve information about the object as a whole from any location within the field.
The term “quantum,” as used in quantum holography, does not mean that this kind of energetic information processing is understood in terms of the principles of quantum physics. Rather, quantum holography is a special, nondeterministic form of holographic organization based on a discrete unit of energetic information called a logon or a “quantum” of information.