Tele and the social atom

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Tele and the social atom are two of the most central concepts in the sociometric theory of Moreno and in the practice of classical psychodrama. Consequently, an abundance of literature has been devoted to these concepts, mainly from a clinical- theoretical point of view. However, progress in understanding the cognitive and neural processes involved in inter-individual behavior can be used to address these issues from a different perspective, inspiring a holistic outlook. The advances made by investigating perception and action in a social context show the implicit formation of an interactive ‘we’ identity during a joint action, thus supporting Moreno’s concept of a reciprocal interactive social process that cannot be broken down to separate subjective elements. Moreover, behavioral interactional synchrony correlates with the emergence of an inter-brain synchronization, accurately supporting Moreno’s “social physiology” hypothesis of corresponding organs in different individuals. Moreno’s sociometric thesis of tele being closely linked with the organization of social atoms is captured by other studies showing that social network size is determined by social cognitive competences and that these in turn are underpinned by the amount of neural matter devoted to the computational demands involved. The remarkable association between Moreno’s early hypotheses and recent scientific evidence suggests that he had a positive tele with science, and encourages methodical thinking about some of his hitherto meta-psychological ideas. By promoting this approach, one follows Moreno’s integrative legacy that combines “the concretely, actively magic-poetic, with the objectively, methodically scientific” (Moreno, Who shall survive? Foundations of sociometry, group psychotherapy
and sociodrama, p. xxi, 1953).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalZeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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