Eleventh International School on Mind, Brain and Education

2016 September 7–13

Dynamical Coupling:
From Brain-to-Brain to Social Interaction

Directors of the School: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Directors of the Course: Uri Hasson and Thalia Wheatley

Abstract: Uri Hasson
Psychology Department. Princeton University, USA

Face to Face, Brain to Brain: Exploring the Mechanisms of Dyadic Social Interactions
Cognition materializes in an interpersonal space. At present, little is known about the neural substrates that underlie our ability to communicate with other brains in naturalistic settings. In the talk I will introduce novel methodological and analytical tools for characterizing the neural responses during production and comprehension of complex real-life speech. By directly comparing the neural activity timecourses during production and comprehension of the same narrative, we were able to identify areas in which the neural activity is correlated (coupled) across the speaker’s and listener’s brains during communication. Furthermore, the listener brain activity mirrors that of the speaker with a constant delay of three seconds. This mirroring was eliminated when the communication signals were misaligned. Finally, the stronger the speaker-listener coupling the greater listener comprehension. We argue that the observed coupling of production and comprehension-based processes serves as a mechanism by which brains convey information.