Brain activity changes when working with others

New research shows that when two peo­ple work on the same task, strange and won­der­ful things hap­pen. It’s about syn­chro­niz­ing key areas of the two brains.

In this study, 39 vol­un­teers were asked to design the inte­ri­or of a vir­tu­al room togeth­er using a touch­screen, until they were mutu­al­ly sat­is­fied. Par­tic­i­pants’ brain activ­i­ty was mon­i­tored using func­tion­al near-infrared spec­troscopy, as well as for signs of eye contact.

The research team devel­oped spe­cial pro­cess­ing and mod­el­ing tech­niques that can rec­og­nize social inter­ac­tions (eye con­tact) and map them to spe­cif­ic times and areas of brain activ­i­ty to exam­ine par­tic­i­pants’ respons­es. bottom.

Yasuyo Mina¬≠gawa, a psy¬≠chol¬≠o¬≠gist at Keio Uni¬≠ver¬≠si¬≠ty, said, ‚ÄúWhen par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pants coop¬≠er¬≠at¬≠ed to com¬≠plete a task, pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tions of neu¬≠rons in one brain were acti¬≠vat¬≠ed at the same time as sim¬≠i¬≠lar pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tions in the oth¬≠er brain. It seemed as if two brains were work¬≠ing as one sys¬≠tem, cre¬≠ative¬≠ly solv¬≠ing problems.‚ÄĚ

In this study, par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pants were giv¬≠en the oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ty to exam¬≠ine both indi¬≠vid¬≠ual brain activ¬≠i¬≠ty (brain syn¬≠chrony, WBS) and group brain activ¬≠i¬≠ty (inter¬≠brain syn¬≠chrony, BBS) by hav¬≠ing par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pants com¬≠plete a task alone or in pairs. I was.

This col¬≠lab¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tion gen¬≠er¬≠at¬≠ed ‚Äėrobust‚Äô BBS in spe¬≠cif¬≠ic regions of the supe¬≠ri¬≠or and mid¬≠dle tem¬≠po¬≠ral regions of the brain and the pre¬≠frontal cor¬≠tex of the right hemi¬≠sphere. How¬≠ev¬≠er, in our test sce¬≠nario, the BBS was not as strong.

Fur­ther­more, the BBS was strongest when one per­son looked up while look­ing at the oth­er, sug­gest­ing that it plays an impor­tant role in social inter­ac­tion. On the oth­er hand, BBS was stronger in the same brain regions when vol­un­teers worked alone.

These phe¬≠nom¬≠e¬≠na are con¬≠sis¬≠tent with the ‚ÄėWi-Mode‚Äô con¬≠cept, in which inter¬≠act¬≠ing agents share a col¬≠lec¬≠tive mind and accel¬≠er¬≠ate their inter¬≠ac¬≠tion by accel¬≠er¬≠at¬≠ing access to each oth¬≠er‚Äôs cog¬≠ni¬≠tion,‚ÄĚ says Minagawa. .

The research tech¬≠nique improves on pre¬≠vi¬≠ous ‚Äúsec¬≠ond-per¬≠son neu¬≠ro¬≠science‚ÄĚ exper¬≠i¬≠ments, which were lim¬≠it¬≠ed to hav¬≠ing two peo¬≠ple engage in the same motor task, but sci¬≠en¬≠tists will now be able to use eye con¬≠tact and more. We will have to find a way to mea¬≠sure com¬≠plex social interactions.

But the authors of this new study think it‚Äôs pos¬≠si¬≠ble. There is already evi¬≠dence that some kind of brain syn¬≠chro¬≠niza¬≠tion occurs when two peo¬≠ple talk to each other.

We know that humans are designed to be social crea­tures, but we still have a long way to go in under­stand­ing how our brains change when we’re in the com­pa­ny of our peers. How­ev­er, advances in scan­ning and com­put­ing tech­nol­o­gy may shed light on this unknown problem.

‚ÄúIn the future, we may be able to apply this method to more detailed social behav¬≠iors such as facial expres¬≠sions and ver¬≠bal com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ca¬≠tion,‚ÄĚ says Minagawa.

Our ana¬≠lyt¬≠i¬≠cal method will pro¬≠vide hints and direc¬≠tions for future research in inter¬≠ac¬≠tive social neu¬≠ro¬≠science research.‚ÄĚ

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