In the field of neuropsychology, the term dissociation is used to describe various ways of identifying the neural substrate of specific brain functions.
One way this is done is by studying “lesions,” or damaged areas, in people’s brains and figuring out how that damage affects such functions as perception, speech, memory, vision, and so on.
Neuroimaging is another method for observing particular brain regions and thus “dissociating” them from the larger brain system in order to understand their unique functions.
While FIML practice does not rely on lesions in the brain and has not (yet) been studied in an fMRI machine, it does employ a kind of dissociation.
When a FIML partner stops a conversation and makes a query, the partner being questioned is essentially being asked to dissociate a few moments of communication from the large welter of brain function that had been going on before the query.
By isolating, or dissociating, that small segment of communication, both partners gain insight into how they express themselves and how they interpret what they are hearing or perceiving.
Seeing many dissociated segments of communication teaches partners that their communication is frequently more random, ambiguous, misleading, and just plain wrong than they had realized prior to doing FIML practice.
Dissociation in FIML practice also teaches partners how to sharpen their overall communication by frequently adjusting and fine-tuning small segments of it through FIML queries and follow-up discussions.
I can imagine more advanced meuroimaging devices than we have today showing what part of the brain is being used to do the “macro-perception” required by a FIML query. I hope that a more advanced device will also show how small mistakes in communication can often lead to very large mistakes in mutual understanding.
Ideally, an advanced neuroimaging device would dissociate the initial error in both partners’ brains and show how that error then quickly spreads chemically and neurologically throughout their brains.
For now, all we have is shared self-reporting between FIML partners, but this is still a very large improvement over not doing FIML at all. By clearing up many micro-errors in communication, FIML practice improves macro-functionality in the brain.