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《Journal of Psychological Science》 2018-06
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The Brain-to-Brain Correlates of Social Interaction in the Perspective of Hyperscanning Approach

Li Xianchun;Bei Litian;Yuan Di;Ding Yana;Feng Danyang;School of Psychological and Cognitive Science,East China Normal University;  
Hyperscanning approach is a type of neuroimaging technique. It refers to the measuring of neural activities simultaneously from two or more agents involved in the same social interactions. Then inter-brain coupling(or interpersonal neural synchronization, INS) is analyzed and used to explain brain-to-brain neural correlates of social interactions in the perspective of group level. During the past decade, hyperscanning approach has become more and more popular, and has been a powerful approach to elucidate intrinsic property of higher cognition with social interactions in condition of higher ecological validity, such as cooperation/competition, behavioral synchrony/imitation, interpersonal communication and economic decision-makings, etc. In this paper, we first review and summarize the previous hyperscanning studies over the past decade, which are followed by limitations and future studies on other research fields with social interaction.First, stronger interpersonal neural synchronization(INS) emerges in prefrontal cortex(PFC) and/or right temporal-parietal junction(TPJ) with better coordination performances during singing, instrument playing and game of charades. More interestingly, several pieces of evidence show INS is correlated with the empathy and shared knowledge. Second, enhanced prefrontal INS is also observed in the interpersonal communication task(faceto-face verbal communication task, emotional transmission and so on). Further, INS can predict verbal and/or non-verbal communication quality, such as teacher-student interactions during teaching, leader emergence during a non-leader group discussion task. Third, enhanced INS is consistently obtained in PFC and/or TPJ during two participants performing both the concurrent cooperation task(such as joint key-press task) and the turn-taking cooperation/competition task(such as disk-game task), while no or much lower INS is found in control conditions. Such evidence indicates that INS can serve as a neuromarker to depict the cooperation and competition behaviors in social context. Moreover, prefrontal INS is also found in economic games(such as trust game, prisoner's dilemma, et al.) and spontaneous deception, etc. To summarize, interpersonal neural synchronization in widelydistributed network in the brain, especially in fronto-parietal network, could explain social interaction in the group level, which gives us a deep understanding of the nature of social interaction from the level of sensation/motion, decision-making and information transmission. However, the limitations on hyperscanning studies should also be mentioned. First, portable equipment and much higher-resolution fNIRS equipment are required to be used in many types of natural social interactions. Second, eye movement and physiological activities are important in social interactions, a multimodal hyperscanning platform with combination of behavioral, physiological, eye movement and brain data needs to be developed. Third and most importantly, an optimal mathematical model should be built up based on multiple levels of data, which can help us to understand the nature of interpersonal neural synchronization and intrinsic property of social interaction.Finally, the hyperscanning approach has huge potentials in both scientific research and clinic applications, such as dynamic evaluation of teaching quality, dynamic evaluation of psychological counseling, measurement of social function deficiency and optimizing inference resolution in patients with autism, and schizophrenia and so on.
【CateGory Index】: B845
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