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Behav Brain Res. 2014 Jan 1;258:75-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.10.015. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Interindividual synchronization of brain activity during live verbal communication.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Freiburg Medical Center, Hauptstraße 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address: kai.spiegelhalder@uniklinik-freiburg.de.


Verbal social interaction plays an important role both in the etiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders. However, the neural basis of social interaction has primarily been studied in the individual brain, neglecting the inter-individual perspective. Here, we show inter-individual neuronal coupling of brain activity during live verbal interaction, by investigating 11 pairs of good female friends who were instructed to speak about autobiographical life events during simultaneous fMRI acquisition. The analysis revealed that the time course of neural activity in areas associated with speech production was coupled with the time course of neural activity in the interlocutor's auditory cortex. This shows the feasibility of the new methodology, which may help elucidate basic reciprocal mechanisms of social interaction and the underpinnings of disordered communication. In particular, it may serve to study the process of psychotherapy on a neuronal level.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Dual scanning; Hyperscanning; Psychotherapy; Social interaction; Social neuroscience; fMRI

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