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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Apr 21;112(16):5207-12. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421831112. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

Information flow between interacting human brains: Identification, validation, and relationship to social expertise.

Author information

1
Departments of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.
2
Neuroimaging.
3
Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM 87131; and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131.
4
Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, and.
5
Clinical Psychology, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68159 Mannheim, Germany;
6
Departments of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, a.meyer-lindenberg@zi-mannheim.de.

Abstract

Social interactions are fundamental for human behavior, but the quantification of their neural underpinnings remains challenging. Here, we used hyperscanning functional MRI (fMRI) to study information flow between brains of human dyads during real-time social interaction in a joint attention paradigm. In a hardware setup enabling immersive audiovisual interaction of subjects in linked fMRI scanners, we characterize cross-brain connectivity components that are unique to interacting individuals, identifying information flow between the sender's and receiver's temporoparietal junction. We replicate these findings in an independent sample and validate our methods by demonstrating that cross-brain connectivity relates to a key real-world measure of social behavior. Together, our findings support a central role of human-specific cortical areas in the brain dynamics of dyadic interactions and provide an approach for the noninvasive examination of the neural basis of healthy and disturbed human social behavior with minimal a priori assumptions.

KEYWORDS:

fMRI; hyperscanning; joint attention

PMID:
25848050
PMCID:
PMC4413334
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1421831112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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