Scientists at Keio University in Japan have found that neural populations in different people are synchronized during social interaction and cooperation. The results of the work by the author are published in the journal Neurophotonics .
To fully understand how the brain generates social behavior, we need to examine it during social encounters. To do this, scientists simultaneously monitor the brain activity of several people who interact with each other. The authors conducted a series of experiments with 39 pairs of participants. They carried out a joint task: to design and arrange a virtual room in a computer game. They were allowed to communicate freely in order to reach a result that would satisfy both. Participants also completed the same task alone.
After analyzing the brain signals of all participants, the scientists concluded that during joint activities, both partners synchronized the work of the upper and middle temporal regions and certain parts of the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere. Moreover, synchronization was strongest when one of the participants looked up to look at the other.
“Populations of neurons in one brain fired simultaneously with similar populations of neurons in the other brain when participants collaborated to complete a task, as if the two brains were functioning together as a single system for creative problem solving,” the authors explained.