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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the neural bases of cooperative behaviors and social self-perception underlying the execution of joint actions by using a hyperscanning brain paradigm with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). We firstly found that an artificial positive feedback on the cognitive performance was able to affect the self-perception of social position and hierarchy (higher social ranking) for the dyad, as well as the cognitive performance (decreased error rate, ER, and response times, RTs). In addition, the shared cognitive strategy was concurrently improved within the dyad after this social reinforcing. Secondly, fNIRS measures revealed an increased brain activity in the postfeedback condition for the dyad. Moreover, an interbrain similarity was found for the dyads during the task, with higher coherent prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity for the interagents in the postfeedback condition. Finally, a significant prefrontal brain lateralization effect was revealed, with the left hemisphere being more engaged during the postfeedback condition. To summarize, the self-perception, the cognitive performance, and the shared brain activity were all reinforced by the social feedback within the dyad.

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... Autonomic activity, indeed, can provide information on individuals' levels of personal involvement and emotional engagement experienced during moral decisions regarding different contexts. In particular, as demonstrated by previous studies [16][17][18], HR variations can provide information on the emotional impact and salience of moral decision context for individuals, while HRV variations can inform about individuals' attentional and cognitive levels during decision-making processes [19,20]. Moreover, as demonstrated by other studies [14,21], SCR variations can provide information on individuals' level of emotional arousal experienced according to moral decisions' benefits or losses. ...
... Specifically, we hypothesized to observe a different increase of HR and HRV, as a consequence of higher emotional engagement and attentional-emotional regulation, related to the three different choices conditions. Indeed, as demonstrated by previous studies [17,18], HR provides information about the emotional salience and impact of a situation for individuals. Instead, regarding HRV, some studies [19,20] have shown that this index appears to be implicated in individuals' attentional and cognitive levels during decision-making processes. ...
... This result may be due to a greater individuals' emotional engagement for this moral situation in which individuals' choices are more focused on personal interests regarding a money subdivision proposed by a colleague for a work done together. Indeed, as shown by some studies [16][17][18], an HR increase appears to be correlated to a higher emotional engagement that is experienced when individual perceives a situation as emotionally salient and relevant and in general more favorable for himself. Furthermore, this result is in line with some studies that have observed an HR increase during utilitarian choices due to higher impact of these choices for people [14,28]. ...
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Moral decision-making is central to guide our social behavior, and it is based on emotional and cognitive reasoning processes. In the present research, we investigated the moral decision-making in a company context by the recording of autonomic responses (skin conductance response, heart rate frequency, and variability), in three different moral conditions (professional fit, company fit, social fit) and three different offers (fair, unfair, neutral). In particular, the first professional fit condition required participants to accept or reject some offers proposing the money subdivision for a work done together with a colleague. The second company fit condition required participants to evaluate offers regarding the investment of a part of the money in the introduction of some company’s benefits. Finally, the third social fit condition required participants to accept or refuse a money subdivision to support a colleague’s relative with health problems financially. Results underlined the significant effect of both the condition, with increased autonomic effects more for personal and social than company fit, and the offer type, with differences for fair and neutral offers compared to unfair ones. This research shows how individual, situational, and contextual factors influence moral decision-making in a company context.
... Applications in motor synchronization were relatively common and generally had participants complete synchronous physical motions as an experimental task in the lab e.g., [139]. These tasks included a cooperative button press task [140] where participants interact either side-by-side e.g., [141] or face-to-face e.g., [142], computer games [51,[141][142][143], joint-tapping tasks [32,40,144], and synchronization tasks [145][146][147]. One study utilized a finger-tapping task to record between-brain hemodynamics [40]. ...
... Applications in motor synchronization were relatively common and generally had participants complete synchronous physical motions as an experimental task in the lab e.g., [139]. These tasks included a cooperative button press task [140] where participants interact either side-by-side e.g., [141] or face-to-face e.g., [142], computer games [51,[141][142][143], joint-tapping tasks [32,40,144], and synchronization tasks [145][146][147]. One study utilized a finger-tapping task to record between-brain hemodynamics [40]. ...
... Orientation. Applications in motor synchronization adopted various orientation methods e.g., [32,40,51,[139][140][141][142][143][144][145][146][147]. For example, Six studies had participants oriented side-by-side [51,139,[141][142][143]146], Two studies had participants oriented back-to-back [32,144], and four of the studies had participants interact face-to-face [40,140,145,147]. ...
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The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive review on hyperscanning research (measuring brain activity simultaneously from more than two people interacting) using an explicit systematic method, the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA). Data were searched from IEEE Xplore, PubMed, Engineering Village, Web of Science and Scopus databases. Inclusion criteria were journal articles written in English from 2000 to 19 June 2019. A total of 126 empirical studies were screened out to address three specific questions regarding the neuroimaging method, the application domain, and the experiment paradigm. Results showed that the most used neuroimaging method with hyperscanning was magnetoencephalography/electroencephalography (MEG/EEG; 47%), and the least used neuroimaging method was hyper-transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) (1%). Applications in cognition accounted for almost half the studies (48%), while educational applications accounted for less than 5% of the studies. Applications in decision-making tasks were the second most common (26%), shortly followed by applications in motor synchronization (23%). The findings from this systematic review that were based on documented, transparent and reproducible searches should help build cumulative knowledge and guide future research regarding inter-brain neural synchrony during social interactions, that is, hyperscanning research.
... This kind of behavior is addressed toward the realization of a definite objective that can provide benefits to all the people involved. While chasing such targets, a set of cognitive and affective mechanisms arise and support behavior (Balconi et al., 2012;Canavesio, 2013, 2014;Liu et al., 2015Liu et al., , 2016Balconi and Vanutelli, 2016a;Vanutelli et al., 2016). Moreover, during cooperation, the behavioral performance essentially entails the involvement of social cognition processes (Decety et al., 2004;Declerck et al., 2010). ...
... Procedure Subjects performed a simple task for sustained selective attention (it was a modified version of (Balconi and Vanutelli, 2016a). They were seated in a half-darkened room in front of a PC screen CRT positioned nearby 60 cm in front of their eyes (refresh 60 Hz). ...
... This result may be coherent with the suggested hypothesis that the feedback on subjects' performance has a significant impact on their brain activity. In fact, as shown by previous research, the DLPFC may support our social cooperative or competitive interactions with relevant modulations of the brain responsiveness (Rilling et al., 2002(Rilling et al., , 2007Nihonsugi et al., 2015;Balconi and Vanutelli, 2016a). As previously shown, the DLPFC has a specific and crucial role in social contexts, in the self-perception of social hierarchy and in monitoring within of social task (Balconi and Pagani, 2015;Wang et al., 2016). ...
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Cooperation is a construct within social cognition that requires both self-perception and the comprehension of others' actions. In the case of synchronized activities the adoption of common strategies is crucial, but this process can be strongly influenced by those variables. In fact, self-perceived efficacy within the social exchange can affect the motivational components toward the creation of synergic actions. Thus, what happens when our performance is efficient or inefficient during cooperation? This question was answered in the present study where we compared behavioral performance and neural activation across different conditions where subjects received an external feedback assessing a good or a poor outcome during a cooperative game. The request was to synchronize responses in a way to achieve good cooperation scorings. Results showed that the behavioral performance was affected by feedback valence, since the negative feedback induced a significant worse performance in contrast to the positive one, which significantly increased performance. For what concerns neural activation, data from functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) showed a specific lateralization effect with the right DLPFC recruited in the case of negative feedback, and an opposite left-sided effect in the case of a positive feedback. Findings were interpreted by proposing that the inefficient condition could be similar to a competitive context since the perception of a failed joint action could have frustrated the cooperative attitude and the use of joint strategies.
... Recent theoretical and methodological advances have since underlined the importance of considering interacting agents as inter-dependent parts of a complex system in order to properly understand social behavior [1,2]. It has thus been suggested to directly explore inter-person synchronization and inter-brain coupling associated with social interaction dynamics while such dynamics take place, moving towards a "two-person" approach to the study of human social skills [3,4]. This a novel approach stresses the importance of understanding the inter-dependences between contexts and inter-agents. ...
... The hyperscanning approach has been applied via functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) [22][23][24], electroencephalography (EEG) [18,20,25], magnetoencephalography (MEG) [26][27][28], and functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) [4,19,[29][30][31][32][33]. Independently from the data recording technique that is actually used, one of the methodological issues that is mostly stressed and discussed in hyperscanning research is the temporal synchronization of data series. ...
... With the increasing complexity of optical imaging systems, such an element became even more important, since it allows for the coordination of data flows from multiple recording channels measuring hemoglobin modulations from multiple points on the scalp (and then different cortical areas) in a single device. Some fNIRS-based hyperscanning studies [4,30,31,49] took advantage of this potential and of technical features of optical imaging systems to overcome two known methodological issues: synchronization of different devices and potential differences in their sensitivity. Since fNIRS recordings are reference-free-contrary to EEG recordings, which require individual isoelectric reference sensors to compute differential waveforms-it is then possible to connect two individuals to the same recording system, by splitting light sources and detectors between them. ...
Article
Concepts and techniques developed to investigate complex systems have found practical implications in the study of many complex physical, biological, and social phenomena. Social neuroscience is coherently moving to new investigation and analysis approaches to properly explore social dynamics and to qualify neural processes that mediate and define them. The present paper aims to sketch a global picture of the application of the concept of synchronization to study complex social systems and the neural signatures of interpersonal coupling during interaction dynamics. We then focus on an innovative experimental paradigm-hyperscanning-that allows researchers to sample, compare, and integrate information flows related to the bodily activities of two (or more) individuals involved in a shared naturalistic or experimentally-controlled task, thus giving the opportunity to explore inter-individual synchronization and inter-brain coupling. In particular, the potential of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) as a primary investigation tool in the field is discussed. Finally, we introduce the most-used quantification and analysis methods for hyperscanning applications.
... Previous studies explored the effect of positive outcomes on self-perception [13,17], on performance [6,13,17,18] and brain responsiveness for cooperative or competitive tasks in respect to perceivable interpersonal feedbacks [17][18][19]. ...
... Previous studies explored the effect of positive outcomes on self-perception [13,17], on performance [6,13,17,18] and brain responsiveness for cooperative or competitive tasks in respect to perceivable interpersonal feedbacks [17][18][19]. ...
... Previous studies explored the effect of positive outcomes on self-perception [13,17], on performance [6,13,17,18] and brain responsiveness for cooperative or competitive tasks in respect to perceivable interpersonal feedbacks [17][18][19]. ...
Article
Purpose: Human life is connoted by sophisticated interactions that involve not only single individuals, but larger social groups composed by members interacting each other. Cooperation secures a benefit to all the people engaged as well as important behaviors like helping, sharing, and acting prosocially. But what happens when the joint actions are not effective? Materials and method: In the present study, we asked 24 participants paired in 12 dyads to cooperate during an attentional task in a way to synchronize their responses and obtain better outcomes. In addition we tested inter-brain and cognitive strategy similarities between subjects. Then, we frustrated their strategies by providing false feedbacks signalling the incapacity to create a synergy, which was reinforced by a general negative evaluation halfway through the task. The effects of the feedback inmodulating subjects behavioural performance and brain responsiveness were explored by means of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Results: Results showed a worsen performance after the negative feedback in the form of longer reaction times and a specifc pattern of brain activation involving th dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the superior frontal gyrus. The DLPFC showed increased O2Hb (oxy-haemoglobin) level after the feedback, compatible with the need for higher cognitive effort. In addition, fNIRS measures revealed a decreased inter-brain synchronicity in post-feedback condition for the dyad. Also, the representation of negative emotions in response to failing interactions was signalled by a right-lateralized effect. Conclusions: Results were interpreted at light of available knowledge on perceived self-efficacy and the implementation of common goals and strategies.
... In fact, perceived self-efficacy during social exchange can influence the motivation to create synergic actions. Previous experiments already investigated the effects of external feedbacks assessing the behavioral performance during cooperative or competitive tasks [16][17][18]. Results showed that the perception of positive outcomes can induce a superior cognitive performance and is related to the activation of prefrontal areas [17,19]. In particular, the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC) was associated with social exchange, such as perspective taking and theory of mind [20] but also with the suppression of selfish behavior [21] and commitment in significant relationships [22], which are extremely important during cooperation. ...
... Previous experiments already investigated the effects of external feedbacks assessing the behavioral performance during cooperative or competitive tasks [16][17][18]. Results showed that the perception of positive outcomes can induce a superior cognitive performance and is related to the activation of prefrontal areas [17,19]. In particular, the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC) was associated with social exchange, such as perspective taking and theory of mind [20] but also with the suppression of selfish behavior [21] and commitment in significant relationships [22], which are extremely important during cooperation. ...
... Previous hyperscanning approaches have already highlighted some patterns of behavioral synchronization for their cooperation by EEG [54][55][56][57] or functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) [6,13,17,58,59]. ...
Article
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Inter-brain synchronization during joint actions is a core question in social neuroscience, and the differential contribution of intra- and inter-brain functional connectivity has yet to be clarified along with the role of psychological variables such as perceived self-efficacy. The cognitive performance and the neural activation underlying the execution of joint actions were recorded by functional Near-Infrared imaging during a synchronicity game. An 8-channel array of optodes was positioned over the frontal and prefrontal regions. During the task, the dyads received reinforcing feedback that was experimentally manipulated to induce adoption of common strategies. Intra- and inter-brain connectivity indices were computed along with an inter-brain/intra-brain connectivity index (ConIndex). Finally, correlation analyses were run to assess the relationship between behavioral and physiological levels. The results showed that the external feedback could modulate participant responses in both behavioral and neural components. After the reinforcing manipulation, there were faster response times and increased inter-brain connectivity, and ConIndex emerged primarily over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Additionally, the presence of significant correlations between response times and inter-brain connectivity revealed that only the “two-players connection” may guarantee an efficient performance. The present study provides a significant contribution to the identification of intra- and inter-brain functional connectivity when social reinforcement is provided.
... Among social interactions, cooperation is an exemplificative case of joint action that involves two or more individuals during the production of common behavioral effects [29,30] which produces a social reward per se by involving emotional mechanisms. Previous hyperscanning approach already highlighted some patterns of neural synchronization during cooperation by EEG [31][32][33][34] or functional near-infrared spectroscopy (f NIRS) [29,[35][36][37][38]. Nonetheless, the autonomic modulations with respect to such processes still need to be clarified. ...
... Among social interactions, cooperation is an exemplificative case of joint action that involves two or more individuals during the production of common behavioral effects [29,30] which produces a social reward per se by involving emotional mechanisms. Previous hyperscanning approach already highlighted some patterns of neural synchronization during cooperation by EEG [31][32][33][34] or functional near-infrared spectroscopy (f NIRS) [29,[35][36][37][38]. Nonetheless, the autonomic modulations with respect to such processes still need to be clarified. ...
... Subjects were comfortably seated in a moderately darkened room with a computer screen positioned approximately 60 cm from their eyes. They were required to perform a simple task for sustained selective attention (modified from the original task of Balconi and Pagani [29,[64][65][66]). To engage subjects in the task, they were told that some cognitive attentive indices were used to evaluate their subjective skills and that these measures are usually used as a screening to test future professional career success and teamwork capabilities. ...
Article
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Previous research highlighted that during social interactions people shape each other’s emotional states by resonance mechanisms and synchronized autonomic patterns. Starting from the idea that joint actions create shared emotional experiences, in the present study a social bond was experimentally induced by making subjects cooperate with each other. Participants’ autonomic system activity (electrodermal: skin conductance level and response: SCL, SCR; cardiovascular indices: heart rate: HR) was continuously monitored during an attentional couple game. The cooperative motivation was induced by presenting feedback which reinforced the positive outcomes of the intersubjective exchange. 24 participants coupled in 12 dyads were recruited. Intrasubject analyses revealed higher HR in the first part of the task, connoted by increased cognitive demand and arousing social dynamic, while intersubject analysis showed increased synchrony in electrodermal activity after the feedback. Such results encourage the use of hyperscanning techniques to assess emotional coupling in ecological and real-time paradigms.
... Specifically, hyperscanning is a recent research paradigm consisting of the simultaneous recording of the brain activity of two individuals during the performance of a joint task (Balconi & Fronda, 2020a, 2020b, 2021Balconi & Vanutelli, 2017;Montague et al., 2002), allowing to grasp the social interaction dynamics (Balconi & Fronda, 2020a, 2020b, 2021Koike, Tanabe, & Sadato, 2015;Konvalinka & Roepstorff, 2012). ...
... Moreover, hyperscanning allows for the recording of the intercerebral coupling and tuning mechanisms that occur between individuals involved in the exchange (Balconi & Fronda, 2020a, 2020bBalconi & Vanutelli, 2017;Liu, Saito, & Oi, 2015;Ruby & Decety, 2004). ...
... On the other hand, considering inter-brain activity, we expected to observe an increase in inter-brain connectivity in both individuals involved in the exchange (encoder and decoder) in specific brain areas in relation to the meaning of gestures' type (affective, social and information) and valence (positive or negative). Indeed, as demonstrated by different studies, during joint interactions, an increase in brain and behavioral synchronization occurs between interacting individuals (Balconi & Fronda, 2020a, 2020b, 2021Balconi et al., 2020;Balconi & Vanutelli, 2017;Lindenberger et al., 2009;Vanutelli et al., 2016). Finally, considering culture of belonging (Italian or French), we expected to observe an increase in inter-brain connectivity of individuals' of the same culture according to the reproduction of specific types of gestures. ...
Article
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In each culture, non-verbal communication is characterized by the use of conventional gestures. The present study aimed to investigate the neural correlates underlying a non-verbal interaction between encoder and decoder characterized by the use of different gestures in Italian and French cultures. Specifically, interagents’ cortical activity was recorded with the use of electroencephalography (EEG) in hyperscanning. From results, different cortical modulation and inter-brain connectivity emerged regarding the types and valence of gestures, the interagents’ role and the culture of belonging. The present research has shown cultural differences concerning gestures’ type and valence, highlighting brain synchronization in same culture’s individuals.
... A dark screen separated the two members of the dyad to prevent visual contact and to avoid any possible effect attributable to the nonverbal communication. Subjects were asked to perform a simple selective attentional task (modified from the original task of Balconi & Pagani, 2014;Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016a). Compared to previous versions of the task, the present included a control condition (an individual task where subjects were not asked to cooperate, but they were simply asked to individually execute the attention task) (T0); followed by a cooperative task condition (which did not include a specific feedback to cooperation, pre-feedback condition; 4 experimental blocks before the feedback, 100 trials) (T1); and by a post-feedback condition which included a specific negative feedback referred to the performance (4 blocks after the feedback, 100 trials) (T2). ...
... Therefore, the present results seem to suggest that the failing cooperation is more similar to an individual than an interpersonal strategy and that this fact may be due to the increasing difficulty in planning a shared mental strategy (Balconi & Pagani, 2015). This difficulty may be fundamentally based on the increased work load for changing the cognitive plan or alternatively due to the emotional negative condition that a negative feedback may induce (Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016a). Activity patterns in the frontal cortices was found to be crucially involved in the processing of emotional conditions which characterize the negative context (Balconi, Falbo, & Conte, 2012). ...
Article
Cooperation behavior is a core question of study on social neuroscience. In the present study, inter-brain functional connectivity and cognitive performance were considered during joint which was failing. The cognitive performance and the EEG (brain oscillations from delta to beta) underlying the execution of joint-actions were recorded when dyads of participants executed synchronicity game and received reinforcing negative feedbacks A pre-feedback condition (cooperation) and a control condition (individual task, T0) were provided as well as a check for possible learning effect (time series analysis). Finally, correlation analysis was considered to assess the relation between behavioral and physiological levels. Results showed that the external feedback was able to modulate participants' responses in both behavioral and neural components with increased RTs and ERs after the negative reinforcement. Similarly, a reduced inter-brain connectivity was found, mainly localized within the superior frontal regions, and for low-frequency bands (delta and theta). In contrast pre-feedback condition showed the best performance in terms of both behavioral and brain-to-brain coupling activity. Moreover, the presence of significant correlations between RTs and inter-brain connectivity revealed that the failing cooperation induces significant negative effects on the cognitive and brain strategy in comparison with cooperative (pre-feedback) and individual (control) condition. The present study provides significant contribution to the identification of patterns of cognitive behavior and functional connectivity when social reinforcement is provided within dyads of participants by using a hyperscanning approach.
... Relevantly, such skill shapes inter-agents' actions on the basis of self-perception and attribution of efficacy and of information on one's own and other's performance. Moving in that direction, in previous investigations of competition (or cooperation) dynamics, the presence of an external feedback informing participants on their performance-in particular when it is positive-proved to be able to modulate their behavioral responses [17,[26][27][28]. While it has been suggested that even such modulation may be mediated by dorsolateral prefrontal structures [29], potential effects of processing information conveyed by performance feedbacks on inter-brain neural synchronicity and interagents synergies are yet to be explored. ...
... During the experiment, each participant was assisted by a researcher for instructions or help. After stressing the competitive connotation of the task, participants were introduced to a selective attention task [13,26,28], where they had to detect and respond to target versus non-target stimuli in a sequence of similar stimuli (blue or green circles or triangles). A new target was presented at the beginning of each block. ...
Article
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Background Social behavior and interactions pervasively shape and influence our lives and relationships. Competition, in particular, has become a core topic in social neuroscience since it stresses the relevance and salience of social comparison processes between the inter-agents that are involved in a common task. The majority of studies, however, investigated such kind of social interaction via one-person individual paradigms, thus not taking into account relevant information concerning interdependent participants’ behavioral and neural responses. In the present study, dyads of volunteers participated in a hyperscanning paradigm and competed in a computerized attention task while their electrophysiological (EEG) activity and performance were monitored and recorded. Behavioral data and inter-brain coupling measures based on EEG frequency data were then computed and compared across different experimental conditions: a control condition (individual task, t0), a first competitive condition (pre-feedback condition, t1), and a second competitive condition following a positive reinforcing feedback (post-feedback condition, t2). Results Results showed that during competitive tasks participants’ performance was improved with respect to control condition (reduced response times and error rates), with a further specific improvement after receiving a reinforcing feedback. Concurrently, we observed a reduction of inter-brain functional connectivity (primarily involving bilateral prefrontal areas) for slower EEG frequency bands (delta and theta). Finally, correlation analyses highlighted a significant association between cognitive performance and inter-brain connectivity measures. Conclusions The present results may help identifying specific patterns of behavioral and inter-brain coupling measures associated to competition and processing of social reinforcements.
... It being compatible with simultaneous EEG recording, it can be used to enrich and complement electroencephalographic data. Further, recent fNIRS recording systems are also portable and highly usable, and then be used even in ecological settings to explore real-life situations (Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016b). And again, individual abilities to control the level of stress or to be aware and regulate affective reactions (both crucial to preserve functional relations) can, for example, be assessed by measuring autonomic indices (such as heart rate, skin conductance, or muscle tension) at rest and in peculiar activating situations (Balconi, Grippa & Vanutelli, 2015). ...
... The term hyperscanning define studies where central and/or peripheral biosignals (such as EEG, fNIRS, heart rate, and skin conductance) are simultaneously collected from two or more people who are interacting or are involved in the same task, and then analysed together to explore their synchronization and co-modulation (e.g. Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016a, 2016b. While such approach is still taking its first steps in applied neuroscientific research, its potential is, for sure, noteworthy for neuromanagement studies and applications. ...
Article
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Agency has been classically defined as the ability to sense and judge ourselves as the generators of an action and of its effects. In interactions, the ability to sense and consciously recognize that we - me and you - are the ones that are generating an action and causing its effects has been instead defined inter-agency or joint-agency. The implications of having developed good agency-related skills and of being aware of such processes become crucially important when we think at complex situations that characterize the real-life professional domain. Based on the crucial role of relationship with other social agents, cooperation and team-work for business and management activities, novel business models might benefit from an increased awareness of the way we and our co-workers plan, behave, make decisions, and manage action outcomes.
... In addition, concerning behavioral responses, we expected to observe an increase in accuracy following the gift exchange. Indeed, as shown by previous studies, the increase in cooperation, coordination and synchronization provided by the implementation of prosocial behavior improves behavioral and cognitive efficiency [31][32][33][59][60][61] . ...
Article
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The gift exchange represents a moment that characterizes interpersonal interactions. In particular, research in psychological and neuroscientific fields aimed to observe the social function of gift exchange. Specifically, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of prosocial behavior, experienced during gift exchange, on individuals’ cognitive performance and brain activity. To this aim, behavioral performance and neural activity of 15 dyads of participants, with a consolidated friendship, were collected during the execution of an attentional cooperative task before or after a gift exchange. Individuals’ brain activity was recorded through the use of Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in hyperscanning. Results showed an increase of perceived cooperation and cognitive performance, in terms of accuracy (ACC), after gift exchange. The increase of interpersonal tuning and cooperation was also shown by neural activity with an increase of oxygenated hemoglobin (O2Hb) intra-brain and inter-brain connectivity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) following the gift exchange. Moreover, from ConIndex analysis emerged an increase of inter-brain connectivity compared to intra-brain in DLPFC area. The present study, therefore, highlights how prosocial behavior can have positive effects on cognitive performance improvement and interpersonal relationships and neural coordination strengthen, increasing intra and inter-brain connectivity mechanisms.
... et al., 2012) or 0.02-0.2(Jiang et al., 2015)] was found to be closely associated with the turn-taking behaviors in free verbal conversations.The INS at this frequency range is also closely associated with the function of frontal cortex and TPJ(Balardin et al., 2017;Balconi & Vanutelli, 2017;Jiang et al., 2012Jiang et al., , 2015Pan, Cheng, Zhang, Li, & Hu, 2017;Tang et al., 2016;Zhang, Liu, Pelowski, Jia, & Yu, 2017a;Zhang, Liu, Pelowski, & Yu, 2017b). The INS at right TPJ is found to be specifically associated with a frequency range of 0.06-0.08 ...
Article
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The neural mechanism for the dyadic process of teaching is poorly understood. Although theories about teaching have proposed that before any teaching takes place, the teacher will predict the knowledge state of the student(s) to enhance the teaching outcome, this theoretical Prediction‐Transmission hypothesis has not been tested with any neuroimaging studies. Using functional near‐infrared spectroscopy‐based hyperscanning, this study measured brain activities of the teacher–student pairs simultaneously. Results showed that better teaching outcome was associated with higher time‐lagged interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) between right temporal‐parietal junction (TPJ) of the teacher and anterior superior temporal cortex (aSTC) of the student, when the teacher's brain activity preceded that of the student. Moreover, time course analyses suggested that such INS could mark the quality of the teaching outcome at an early stage of the teaching process. These results provided key neural evidence for the Prediction‐Transmission hypothesis about teaching, and suggested that the INS plays an important role in the successful teaching.
... Interestingly, PL can be used as an index to infer the intensity of the interaction between participants (Hatfield et al. 1994). One of the most studied kind of social interaction has been cooperation, which engages two or more individuals during shared actions with common behavioral effects (Balconi and Vanutelli 2017a;Vanutelli et al. 2016). Some previous studies assessed the physiological linkage within significant relationship such as parent-infant dyads. ...
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Previous work showed that, when we interact with other people, an alignment of psychophysiological measures occur as a clue about the intensity of the social interaction. Available evidence highlighted increase autonomic synchrony, known as physiological linkage, during intense dyadic situations, like conflictual conversations within romantic couples, friends, or therapeutic settings. Starting from the idea that higher physiological linkage could support better performance and be correlated with approach attitudes (Behavioral Activation System, BAS), in the present study a conflictual situation was proposed by making subjects compete during an attentional task and stressing the importance to win as a measure of future professional success. Autonomic activity (electrodermal: skin conductance level and response: SCL, SCR; and cardiovascular indices: heart rate: HR) was recorded during the task, where subjects received trial-related feedbacks on their performance, and an average score halfway which (fictitiously) assessed their position in terms of accuracy and reaction times with respect to the opponent. In parallel, behavioral inhibition and activation have been assessed by means of the Behavioral Inhibition/Activation System Questionnaire (BIS/BAS). 32 subjects coupled in 16 dyads were recruited. Intra-subject analyses revealed that, after the general evaluation assessing a winning condition, the behavioral performance improved and the electrodermal response increased. Also, correlational analyses showed a relation between BAS, and specifically BAS reward, with SCR. Inter-subject analyses showed higher synchrony in SCR and HR after the feedback. Such results confirm the increased synchronic effect after a highly conflictual condition, and the presence of a relation between subjective performance, approach-related motivations, and physiological linkage.
... In particular, the cognitive effort could be increased in competition when subjects have potentially contrasting goals (DeCremer and Stouten, 2003;Decety et al., 2004). We previously focused on cooperation with specific measures (EEG and neuroimaging near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS);Balconi and Vanutelli, 2017a,b) and then we applied EEG and Functional NIRS (fNIRS) to study competition. It was also found that competition may improve the effective cognitive performance and the self-perception of higher social position (Goldman et al., 1977). ...
Article
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Hyperscanning brain paradigm was applied to competitive task for couples of subjects. Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) and cognitive performance were considered to test inter-brain and cognitive strategy similarities between subjects (14 couples) during a joint-action. We supposed increased brain-to-brain coupling and improved cognitive outcomes due to joint-action and the competition. As supposed, the direct interaction between the subjects and the observed external feedback of their performance (an experimentally induced fictitious feedback) affected the cognitive performance with decreased Error Rates (ERs), and Response Times (RTs). In addition, fNIRS measure (oxyhemoglobin, O2Hb) revealed an increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in post-feedback more than pre-feedback condition. Moreover, a higher inter-brain similarity was found for the couples during the task, with higher matched brain response in post-feedback condition than pre-feedback. Finally, a significant increased prefrontal brain lateralization effect was observed for the right hemisphere. Indeed the right PFC was more responsive with similar modalities within the couple during the post-feedback condition. The joined-task and competitive context was adduced to explain these cognitive performance improving, synergic brain responsiveness within the couples and lateralization effects (negative emotions).
... Simultaneous EEG recordings of several brains have recently opened a new field, called Hyperscanning. Hyperscanning is a recent paradigm in neuroscience which consists in the simultaneous recording of the cerebral activity of two or more subjects involved in interactive tasks (Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016). This measure allows exploring interpersonal brain mechanisms generated by social interactions: previous studies showed that the mutual adaptation of two interactive brains results in brain synchrony, and cooperative tasks are one of the best examples of possible applications of such technique. ...
Article
Neuromanagement deals with neuroscience methodological approaches to the management. A management construct is leadership, but objective psychophysiological data in support of it are still missing. The present pilot study aimed to apply the hyperscanning paradigm during a role-played employees' evaluation. Our purpose was to identify lexical and neuro/psychophysiological markers of leader-employee interactions. The sample consisted in paired manager-collaborator couples. Managers were required to use two different communication styles: authoritative vs. cooperative. A conversational analysis permitted to identify main topics to interpret data. Results showed that the interview was more arousing for the employee than the manager. Greater Delta and Theta EEG bands could denote positive valence of personal interactions and company mission topics. Autonomic measures (Skin Conductance Response, SCR and Heart Rate, HR) showed important information related to different leadership style. Results highlight the importance of applying neurosciences to organizational contexts exploring processes related to manager-employee dynamics and communicative style.
... However, adopting an individual and not a brain-coupling perspective, many previous studies generally analyzed only single subjects at a time and their isolated performance in generic social tasks, since they did not include paired joint-actions or really interactive tasks. That is they are mostly measured in only one brain at a time by using various modalities, such as electroencephalography (EEG) (Cheung, Rutherford, Mayes, & McPartland, 2010;Gao et al., 2009), positron-emission tomography (Fletcher et al., 1995;Gallagher, Jack, Roepstorff, & Frith, 2002;Goel, Grafman, Sadato, & Hallett, 1995), single photon-emission computed tomography (Baron-Cohen et al., 1994), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) (Fukui et al., 2006;Mitchell, Banaji, & Macrae, 2005;Schippers, Roebroeck, Renken, Nanetti, & Keysers, 2010;Stephens, Silbert, & Hasson, 2010), and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) (Balconi, Crivelli, & Vanutelli, 2017;Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016a,2016bGrossmann & Johnson, 2010;Grossmann, Oberecker, Koch, & Friederici, 2010;Lloyd-Fox et al., 2009;Minagawa-Kawai et al., 2009;Suda et al., 2010). Consequently, little is known about how social functions are processed in interacting brains of more than one participant. ...
Article
Brain-to-brain coupling during cooperation is a core question of study on social interactions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the neural basis of interbrain cooperation and the cognitive performance underlying the execution of jointactions by using EEG coherence measures. Synchronicity of the cognitive variables (response times, RTs, and error rates, ERs) in response to an attentional task, intersubjective coherence analysis on EEG frequency bands, and correlational measures between cognitive and brain activity were considered during some steps of progressive reinforcing conditions. Fifteen couples of subjects performed an attentional task in eight temporal steps, stressing their good performance at the end of each step. The induced feedback affected both the cognitive performance and brain-to-brain coupling by increasing behavioral and brain synchronization when a positive feedback was furnished to the participants for their performance. Secondly, about the cortical contribution, high coherence effect was mainly observed when a positive reinforce was produced, but only for some low frequency bands within the prefrontal left area, compared to the right one. Thus, also a left lateralization effect was reportable. Finally, the cognitive and EEG coherence measures were shown to be correlated, with a significant similar trend anchored to the progressive feedback.
... Hyper Tasks -Dual Analysis -BRAIN+BRAIN (B+B). At this regard, two recent studies by Balconi and colleagues [9,10] used a new paradigm to observe the different mental representations during a competitive and cooperative scenario in which the participants coupled in dyads had to compete or cooperate with their partner while carrying out a continuous attention task. Specifically, the game consisted of an attention task that required the recognition of target stimuli among nontargets. ...
Article
Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a relatively new neuroimagingtechnique adequate and useful for exploring neural activity in social contexts involving humaninteractions. Compared to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), fNIRS is easy-to-usesafe, noninvasive, silent, relatively low cost and portable, and applicable to subjects of all ages, thusresulting in a good option for ecological studies involving humans in their real-life context.Moreover, by using hyperscanning technique, fNIRS allows recording the hemodynamic cerebralactivity of two interacting subjects in an ecological context or during a shared performance. Thus,moving from a simple analysis about each subject’s neural response during joint actions towardsmore complex computations makes possible to investigate brain synchrony, that is the if and howone’s brain activity is related to that of another interacting partner simultaneously recorded. Here,we discuss how connectivity analyses, with respect to both time and frequency domain procedures,permitted to deepen some aspects of inter-brain synchrony in relation to emotional closeness, and tohighlight how concurrent, cooperative actions can lead to interpersonal synchrony and bondconstruction.
... Using fNIRS-based hyperscanning, Balconi and Vanutelli (2017) found that providing positive feedback could influence the self-perception of social position and behavioral performance. Specifically, participants receiving positive feedback tended to rate higher social ranking for the dyad. ...
Thesis
Social interactive learning is ubiquitous in human society. Learning through interactions with others plays an essential role in the daily lives of many people. Almost every day we communicate with peers or instructors, exchange information, observe and imitate other’s behaviors, with the purpose of learning. Yet how such interactive learning is parsed in the brains of interacting individuals remains poorly elucidated, and may be regarded as the “dark matter” of educational neuroscience. This thesis addresses the brain basis of interactive learning in three aspects: identification, modulation, and causation. Specifically, we investigated (i) whether interpersonal brain synchronization (IBS) could reliably identify interactive learning, (ii) how IBS and interactive learning could be modulated, and (iii) whether IBS plays a causal role in interactive learning. To approach these questions, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning to collect the neuroimaging data and naturalistic instructor-learner exchange as a principle experimental paradigm to realize interactive learning in the experiments. We developed a novel hyper-transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) system, which enabled manipulation of IBS between instructors and learners to examine the causative role of IBS in interactive learning. In the first study, we investigated the IBS between instructors and learners during more versus less interactive learning by computing the Wavelet Transform Coherence of instructor-learner brain activity. We have shown that IBS in the inferior frontal cortex reliably identifies and tracks interactive learning, and that IBS is more prominent when learning experience entails more turn-taking behaviors. Importantly, the unraveled IBS was associated with learning performance. In the second study, we further explore whether IBS and interactive learning could be modulated by the instructor’s verbal instruction. Results showed that compared to the explanation instruction, the scaffolding instruction elicited better learning performance and greater IBS. Besides, we adopted the machine learning to test IBS’s ability to discriminate between the two verbal instructions. We successfully showed that instructional strategies could be distinguished with a relatively high prediction performance. In the third study, we tested whether sleep deprivation (SD), which potentially impacts both social interactions and learning abilities, modulates interactive learning and IBS. Although learners performed below the baseline level immediately following SD, learning performance was comparable between sleep-rested (SR) and SD conditions after interactions with the instructor. Compared to SR, the SD condition induced greater IBS within instructor-learner dyads in the left inferior frontal cortex. Importantly, this IBS enhancement was associated with SD learners’ improved performance. Moreover, Granger Causality analysis showed that mean causalities from instructor to learner were significantly larger than vice versa following SD (but not SR). The fourth and final study investigated the causative role of IBS in interactive learning. By manipulating IBS through hyper-tACS, we demonstrated that externally induced IBS selectively biases interactive learning. Specifically, manipulation of IBS enhanced learners’ intonation performance and instructor-learner behavioral synchrony in a phase- (i.e., in-phase) and frequency-specific (i.e., 6 Hz) manner. The intonation performance also increased as a function of interpersonal synchrony. These results provide valuable insights into the functional role of IBS in interactive learning. The IBS may reflect the alignment of neural processes across learners and instructors. Such neural alignment impacts upon the acquisition of knowledge and information, and eventually upon the learning performance. Our studies hold strong relevance for real-world pedagogical practices and warrant future research to conduct clinical investigations that target learning deficits.
... The task was a modified version of previous experimental paradigms involving competitive instructions , 2017b or cooperative dynamics with a good outcome (Balconi & Vanutelli, 2017a). The present version presents two main variations: ...
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Introduction The neural activity in response to ineffective joint actions was explored in the present study. Subjects involved in a cooperative but frustrating task (poor performance as manipulated by an external feedback) were required to cooperate (T1) during an attentional task in a way to synchronize their responses and obtain better outcomes. Methods We manipulated their strategies by providing false feedbacks (T2) signaling the incapacity to create a synergy, which was reinforced by a general negative evaluation halfway through the game. A control condition was provided (no cooperation required, T0) as well as a check for possible learning effect (time series analysis). The effects of the feedback in modulating subjects' behavioral performance and electrocortical activity were explored by means of brain oscillations (delta, theta, alpha, beta) and autonomic activity (heart rate, HR; skin conductance activity, SCR). Results Results showed a specific pattern of behavioral, neural, and peripheral responses after the social feedback. In fact, within this condition, worse behavioral outcomes emerged, with longer response times with respect to the prefeedback one. In parallel, a specific right‐lateralized effect was observed over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), with increased delta and theta power compared to the previous condition. Moreover, increased SCR was observed with respect to the first part. Conclusions Two interpretations are put forward to explain the present findings: 1) the contribution of negative emotions in response to failing interactions or 2) a motivational disengagement toward goal‐oriented cooperation elicited by frustrating evaluations.
... Finally, considering inter-brain connectivity, we expected to observe an increase of inter-brain connectivity for the high and low-frequency bands in specific brain areas concerning gesture type and valence. Indeed, as demonstrated by different studies [29,58], during joint action, such as nonverbal communication, an increase of coordination and behavioral responses occurs between interagents' individuals, creating implicit coupling mechanisms [59]. ...
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Communication can be considered as a joint action that involves two or more individuals transmitting different information. In particular, non-verbal communication involves body movements used to communicate different information, characterized by the use of specific gestures. The present study aims to investigate the electrophysiological (EEG) correlates underlying the use of affective, social, and informative gestures during a non-verbal interaction between an encoder and decoder. From the results of the single brain and inter-brain analyses, an increase of frontal alpha, delta, and theta brain responsiveness and inter-brain connectivity emerged for affective and social gestures; while, for informative gestures, an increase of parietal alpha brain responsiveness and alpha, delta, and theta inter-brain connectivity was observed. Regarding the inter-agents’ role, an increase of frontal alpha activity was observed in the encoder compared to the decoder for social and affective gestures. Finally, regarding gesture valence, an increase of theta brain responsiveness and theta and beta inter-brain connectivity was observed for positive gestures on the left side compared to the right one. This study, therefore, revealed the function of the gesture type and valence in influencing individuals’ brain responsiveness and inter-brain connectivity, showing the presence of resonance mechanisms underlying gesture execution and observation.
... To explore these mechanisms new and advanced methodologies have been developed. In this regard, an innovative research paradigm of cognitive and social neuroscience has been successfully proposed, that is hyperscanning [36,37]. It allows the simultaneous acquisition of the neurophysiological responses of two participants who interact naturally during a joint task [38]. ...
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Background: Recently several studies in the psychological and social field have investigated the social function of gift exchange as a useful way for the consolidation of interpersonal and social relationships and the implementation of prosocial behaviors. Specifically, the present research wanted to explore if gift exchange, increased emotional sharing, gratitude and interpersonal cooperation, leading to an improvement in cognitive and behavioral performance. In this regard, neural connectivity and cognitive performance of 14 pairs of friends were recorded during the development of a joint attention task that involved a gift exchange at the beginning or halfway through the task. The moment of gift exchange was randomized within the pairs: for seven couples, it happened at task beginning, for the remaining seven later. Individuals' simultaneous brain activity was recorded through the use of two electroencephalograms (EEG) systems that were used in hyperscanning. Results: The results showed that after gift exchange there was an improvement in behavioral performance in terms of accuracy. For what concerns EEG, instead, an increase of delta and theta activation was observed in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) when gift exchange occurred at the beginning of the task. Furthermore, an increase in neural connectivity for delta and theta bands was observed. Conclusion: The present research provides a significant contribution to the exploration of the factors contributing to the strengthening of social bonds, increasing cooperation, gratitude and prosocial behavior.
... Indeed, since these tuning mechanisms cannot be measured in isolation (Vanutelli et al., 2015;Balconi and Vanutelli, 2017b), hyperscanning is useful for their investigation in different common interaction contexts, such as communication exchanges or joint-actions. ...
... Notwithstanding the left hemisphere's dominance in language processing and face-toface verbal communication [37], it is possible that the social nature of the task (implying a synchronization process) and the explicit focus on interoceptive correlates could have promoted a significantly higher activation of the right PFC compared to the left PFC in the linguistic task [64]. ...
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Currently, there is little understanding of how interoceptive attentiveness (IA) affects brain responses during synchronized cognitive or motor tasks. This pilot study explored the effect of explicit IA manipulation on hemodynamic correlates of simple cognitive tasks implying linguistic or motor synchronization. Eighteen healthy participants completed two linguistic and motor synchronization tasks during explicit IA and control conditions while oxygenated (O2Hb) and deoxygenated (HHb) hemoglobin variations were recorded by functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). The findings suggested that the brain regions associated with sustained attention, such as the right prefrontal cortex (PFC), were more involved when an explicit focus on the breath was induced during the cognitive linguistic task requiring synchronization with a partner, as indicated by increased O2Hb. Interestingly, this effect was not significant for the motor task. In conclusion, for the first time, this pilot research found increased activity in neuroanatomical regions that promote sustained attention, attention reorientation, and synchronization when a joint task is carried out and the person is focusing on their physiological body reactions. Moreover, the results suggested that the benefits of conscious concentration on physiological interoceptive correlates while executing a task demanding synchronization, particularly verbal alignment, may be related to the right PFC.
... A coordination counting task showed similar involvement of central, parietal and occipital areas in alpha interbrain synchrony, especially in female dyads (Mu et al., 2016), which the authors relate to dyads' intent to coordinate. A study of hyperconnectivity during a cooperative decision task has reported theta synchrony in the central-frontal area and alpha synchrony in centroparietal regions, in line with the findings of our study (Hu et al., 2018), while near-infrared hyperscanning of a cooperative cognitive task also reported higher synchrony of the dyads' PFC after feedback (Balconi and Vanutelli, 2017). ...
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EEG hyperscanning during multiuser gaming offers opportunities to study brain characteristics of social interaction under various paradigms. In this study, we aimed to characterize neural signatures and phase-based functional connectivity patterns of gaming strategies during collaborative and competitive alpha neurofeedback games. Twenty pairs of participants with no close relationship took part in three sessions of collaborative or competitive multiuser neurofeedback (NF), with identical graphical user interface, using Relative Alpha (RA) power as a control signal. Collaborating dyads had to keep their RA within 5% of each other for the team to be awarded a point, while members of competitive dyads scored points if their RA was 10% above their opponent's. Interbrain synchrony existed only during gaming but not during baseline in either collaborative or competitive gaming. Spectral analysis and interbrain connectivity showed that in collaborative gaming, players with higher resting state alpha content were more active in regulating their RA to match those of their partner. Moreover, interconnectivity was the strongest between homologous brain structures of the dyad in theta and alpha bands, indicating a similar degree of planning and social exchange. Competitive gaming emphasized the difference between participants who were able to relax and, in this way, maintain RA, and those who had an unsuccessful approach. Analysis of interbrain connections shows engagement of frontal areas in losers, but not in winners, indicating the formers' attempt to mentalise and apply strategies that might be suitable for conventional gaming, but inappropriate for the alpha neurofeedback-based game. We show that in gaming based on multiplayer non-verbalized NF, the winning strategy is dependent on the rules of the game and on the behavior of the opponent. Mental strategies that characterize successful gaming in the physical world might not be adequate for NF-based gaming.
... Finally, focusing on the role of interagents, we expected to observe a similar responsiveness in both the encoder and decoder due to the mechanisms of implicit coupling and synchrony that occur during gestural communication. As shown by previous studies [19,53], behavioral coordination and synthonization between interagents increase during joint actions, such as non-verbal exchanges, and foster inter-brain connectivity between individuals [36,37,54]. In light of that evidence, we hypothesized that we would observe an increase in delta and theta intra-brain connectivity in the frontal area for affective and social gestures, and in the parietal area for informative ones, in both the encoder and the decoder, due to mirroring and resonance mechanisms experienced during gestural communication. ...
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Recently, the neurosciences have become interested in the investigation of neural responses associated with the use of gestures. This study focuses on the relationship between the intra-brain and inter-brain connectivity mechanisms underlying the execution of different categories of gestures (positive and negative affective, social, and informative) characterizing non-verbal interactions between thirteen couples of subjects, each composed of an encoder and a decoder. The study results underline a similar modulation of intra- and inter-brain connectivity for alpha, delta, and theta frequency bands in specific areas (frontal or posterior regions) depending on the type of gesture. Moreover, taking into account the gestures’ valence (positive or negative), a similar modulation of intra- and inter-brain connectivity in the left and right sides was observed. This study showed congruence in the intra-brain and inter-brain connectivity trend during the execution of different gestures, underlining how non-verbal exchanges might be characterized by intra-brain phase alignment and implicit mechanisms of mirroring and synchronization between the two individuals involved in the social exchange.
... An innovative paradigm, called hyperscanning, has been proposed to explore the synchronization that occurs between the interacting individuals during joint actions (Vanutelli et al., , 2017Balconi and Vanutelli, 2017b;Balconi et al., 2018). According to this recent paradigm, the focus is, therefore, on the recording of individuals' neurophysiological activity during various interpersonal dynamics (Schilbach et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Recently, social neurosciences have been interested in the investigation of neurophysiological responses related to the experience of positive emotions, such as gratitude, during social interactions. Specifically, the aim of the present research was to investigate whether gratitude related to gift exchange could favor cooperative behavior and bond construction, by improving behavioral and autonomic responsivity. At this regard, the autonomic synchronization and behavioral performance of 16 friends coupled in dyads were recorded during a joint attentional task. Gift exchange could be occurred either at the beginning or in the middle of the task. For the recording of simultaneous autonomic activity [heart rate (HR) and skin conductance level (SCL)], a hyperscanning biofeedback paradigm was used. Intra-subjective analysis showed an increase in behavioral [accuracy (ACC)] and autonomic responses (HR and SCL) when the gift exchange took place at the beginning of the task rather than in the middle. Moreover, inter-subjective analysis revealed an increase in behavioral performance and greater autonomic synchronization of HR index. The present research, therefore, shows how gratitude and trust experienced following gift exchange can modify participants’ reactions by creating a shared cognition and the adoption of joint strategies.
... In total, we identified 23 publications with a total of 1424 citations. Thirteen papers used solely the terminology cooperation and did not mention collaboration in their manuscripts (Cui et al., 2012;Liu et al., 2016;Cheng et al., 2015;Pan et al., 2017;Baker et al., 2016;Osaka et al., 2015;Balconi et al., 2017a;Astolfi et al., 2011;Balconi et al., 2017b;Astolfi et al., 2010;Nozawa et al., 2016;Duan et al., 2015;Vanutelli et al., 2016); while one publication contains only the terminology collaboration and the term cooperation is not used at all (Woolley et al., 2007). Seven other publications used both terminologies interchangeably (Toppi et al., 2016, Liu et al., 2017Babiloni et al., 2014;Cha et al., 2019;Gvirts et al., 2019;Mu et al., 2018;Mayseless et al., 2019); and two publications used neither cooperation nor collaboration throughout their manuscripts, however, listed parts of the above-mentioned papers in their references (Dai et al., 2018;Dumas et al., 2011). ...
Chapter
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In this book chapter, we present our scientific approach for applying the methods of fNIRS hyperscanning to decode distinct qualities of team interaction. Specifically, we are interested in detecting states of inter-brain synchrony that correlate with the behavioral states of cooperation and collaboration—terminologies which have been previously introduced as separate states in design thinking literature. We propose that the differentiation between those two concepts holds great promise for a better classification of team interaction, and a more thorough understanding of the dynamics leading to improved performance and (design) results. It is our hope that this work will provide more accurate and valuable information on human social interaction within working teams in the design thinking and related areas.
... This definition partially overlaps with the concept of joint actions (Vesper et al., 2016) which is any kind of social interaction in which subjects share intentions (Fiebich, 2017). This leverages not only on social cognition processes, and in particular on social interaction, but also on cognitive and affective mechanisms of a single subject (Balconi and Vanutelli, 2017b). Recently a three-dimensional model for cooperation based on the cognitive, behavioural and affective axis has been proposed (Fiebich, 2019). ...
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The neurophysiological analysis of cooperation has evolved over the past 20 years, moving towards the research of common patterns in neurophysiological signals of people interacting. Social Physiological Compliance (SPC) and Hyperscanning represent two frameworks for the joint analysis of autonomic and brain signals respectively. Each of the two approaches allows to know about a single layer of cooperation according to the nature of these signals: SPC provides information mainly related to emotions, and Hyperscanning that related to cognitive aspects. In this work, after the analysis of the state of the art of SPC and Hyperscanning, we explored the possibility to unify the two approaches creating a complete neurophysiological model for cooperation considering both affective and cognitive mechanisms. We synchronously recorded electrodermal activity, cardiac and brain signals of 14 cooperative dyads. Time series from these signals were extracted and Multivariate Granger Causality was computed. The results showed that only when subjects in a dyad cooperate there is a statistically significant causality between the multivariate variables representing each subject. Moreover, the entity of this statistical relationship correlates with the dyad's performance. Finally, given the novelty of this approach and its exploratory nature, we provided its strengths and limitations.
Article
Though traditional theories on agency primarily considered the individual as a monad and brought to the definition of interpretative models of individual behaviour, an increased focus on the intrinsic social nature of human beings and on the influence that social exchanges exert on shared environments and on our behaviour in a dynamic and responsive context broadened the investigation of the relations between person, context, and behaviour. The construct of agency, understood as the capability to sense and judge ourselves as causal agents responsible for our behaviours and relative consequences, has then been flanked by the construct of inter-agency, understood as the ability to recognise ourselves as agents together with other social agents during shared activities. The ability to attribute to ourselves and other subjects an agentive stance (and, consequently, even a relative amount of responsibility) grounds on a complex ensemble of cognitive and perceptual processes that guides, for example, processing of information to create a proper interpretation of the social context and to regulate interpersonal dynamics. Since relationships with other social agents, team-work, and cooperation-competition dynamics are at the core of business and management activities, the need for empowering the awareness of the way we read our own and others' behaviour, of the way we and our inter-agents plan and regulate behaviour, and of the way we perceive ourselves as intentional agents within complex social systems is deemed as critical.
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Complex work in teams requires coordination across team members and their technology as well as the ability to change and adapt over time to achieve effective performance. To support such complex interactions, recent efforts have worked toward the design of adaptive human‐autonomy teaming systems that can provide feedback in or near real time to achieve the desired individual or team results. However, while significant advancements have been made to better model and understand the dynamics of team interaction and its relationship with task performance, appropriate measures of team coordination and computational methods to detect changes in coordination have not yet been widely investigated. Having the capacity to measure coordination in real time is quite promising as it provides the opportunity to provide adaptive feedback that may influence and regulate teams’ coordination patterns and, ultimately, drive effective team performance. A critical requirement to reach this potential is having the theoretical and empirical foundation from which to do so. Therefore, the first goal of the paper is to review approaches to coordination dynamics, identify current research gaps, and draw insights from other areas, such as social interaction, relationship science, and psychotherapy. The second goal is to collate extant work on feedback and advance ideas for adaptive feedback systems that have potential to influence coordination in a way that can enhance the effectiveness of team interactions. In addressing these two goals, this work lays the foundation as well as plans for the future of human‐autonomy teams that augment team interactions using coordination‐based measures.
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Introduction Gestures characterize individuals' nonverbal communicative exchanges, taking on different functions. Several types of research in the neuroscientific field have been interested in the investigation of the neural correlates underlying the observation and implementation of different gestures categories. In particular, different studies have focused on the neural correlates underlying gestures observation, emphasizing the presence of mirroring mechanisms in specific brain areas, which appear to be involved in gesture observation and planning mechanisms. Materials and methods Specifically, the present study aimed to investigate the neural mechanisms, through the use of functional Near‐Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), underlying the observation of affective, social, and informative gestures with positive and negative valence in individuals' dyads composed by encoder and decoder. The variations of oxygenated (O2Hb) and deoxygenated (HHb) hemoglobin concentrations of both individuals were collected simultaneously through the use of hyperscanning paradigm, allowing the recording of brain responsiveness and interbrain connectivity. Results The results showed a different brain activation and an increase of interbrain connectivity according to the type of gestures observed, with a significant increase of O2Hb brain responsiveness and interbrain connectivity and a decrease of HHb brain responsiveness for affective gestures in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and for social gestures in the superior frontal gyrus (SFG). Furthermore, concerning the valence of the observed gestures, an increase of O2Hb brain activity and interbrain connectivity was observed in the left DLPFC for positive affective gestures compared to negative ones. Conclusion In conclusion, the present study showed different brain responses underlying the observation of different types of positive and negative gestures. Moreover, interbrain connectivity calculation allowed us to underline the presence of mirroring mechanisms involved in gesture‐specific frontal regions during gestures observation and action planning.
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The digitalization process for organizations, which was inevitably accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, raises relevant challenges for Human Resource Management (HRM) because every technological implementation has a certain impact on human beings. Between many organizational HRM practices, recruitment and assessment interviews represent a significant moment where a social interaction provides the context for evaluating candidates’ skills. It is therefore relevant to investigate how different interaction frames and relational conditions affect such task, with a specific focus on the differences between face-to-face (FTF) and remote computer-mediated (RCM) interaction settings. In particular, the possibility of qualifying and quantifying the mechanisms shaping the efficiency of interaction in the recruiter-candidate dyad—i.e. interpersonal attunement—is potentially insightful. We here present a neuroscientific protocol aimed at elucidating the impact of FTF vs. RCM modalities on social dynamics within assessment interviews. Specifically, the hyperscanning approach, understood as the concurrent recording and integrated analysis of behavioural-physiological responses of interacting agents, will be used to evaluate recruiter-candidate dyads while they are involved in either FTF or RCM conditions. Specifically, the protocol has been designed to collect self-report, oculometric, autonomic (electrodermal activity, heart rate, heart rate variability), and neurophysiological (electroencephalography) metrics from both inter-agents to explore the perceived quality of the interaction, automatic visual-attentional patterns of inter-agents, as well as their cognitive workload and emotional engagement. The proposed protocol will provide a theoretical evidence-based framework to assess possible differences between FTF vs. RMC settings in complex social interactions, with a specific focus on job interviews.
Article
Gestural communication allows providing information about thoughts and feelings, characterizing face-to-face interactions, also during non-verbal exchanges. In the present study, the autonomic responses and peripheral synchronization mechanisms of two individuals (encoder and decoder) were recorded simultaneously, through the use of biofeedback in hyperscanning, during two different experimental phases consisting in the observation (watching videos of gestures) and reproduction of positive and negative different types of gestures (affective, social and informative) supported by linguistic contexts. Therefore, the main aim of this study was focused on the analysis of simultaneous individuals' peripheral mechanisms during the performing of complex joint action, consisting of the observation (watching videos) and the reproduction of positive and negative social, affective, and informative gestures each supported by a linguistic script. Single-subject and inter-subject correlation analyses were conducted to observe individuals' autonomic responses and physiological synchronization. Single-subject results revealed an increase in emotional arousal, indicated by an increase in electrodermal activity (skin conductance level - SCL and response - SCR), during both the observation (watching videos) and reproduction of negative social and affective gestures contextualized by a linguistic context. Moreover, an increase of emotional engagement, expressed by an increase in heart rate (HR) activity, emerged in the encoder compare to the decoder during gestures reproduction (simulation of gestures). Inter-subject correlation results showed the presence of mirroring mechanisms, indicated by an increase in SCL, SCR, and HR synchronization, during the linguistic contexts and gesture observation (watching videos). Furthermore, an increase in SCL and SCR synchronization emerged during the observation (watching videos) and reproduction of negative social and affective gestures. Therefore, the present study allowed to obtain information on the mirroring mechanisms and physiological synchronization underlying the linguistic and gesture system during non-verbal interaction.
Article
Gestural communication characterizes daily individuals’ interactions in order to share information and to modify others’ behavior. Social neuroscience has investigated the neural bases which support recognizing of different gestures. The present research, through the use of the hyperscanning approach, that allows the simultaneously recording of the activity of two or more individuals involved in a joint action, aims to investigate the neural bases of gestural communication. Moreover, by using hyperscanning paradigm we explore the inter-brain connectivity between two inter-agents, the one who performed the gesture (encoder) and the one who received it (decoder), with functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) during the reproduction of affective, social and informative gestures with positive and negative valence. Result showed an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin concentration (O2Hb) and inter-brain connectivity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for affective gestures, in the superior frontal gyrus (SFG) for social gestures and the frontal eye fields (FEF) for informative gestures, for both encoder and decoder. Furthermore, it emerged that positive gestures activate more the left DLPFC, with an increase in inter-brain connectivity in DLPFC and SFG. The present study revealed the relevant function of the type and valence of gestures in affecting intra- and inter-brain connectivity.
Article
Neuromanagement deals with neuroscience methodological approaches to the management field. Leadership is a well-known management's construct, but objective psychophysiological data supporting this statement, are still missing. The present pilot study aimed to apply the hyperscanning paradigm during a roleplayed employees' evaluation. Our purpose was to identify lexical and neuro/psychophysiological markers of leader-employee interactions The sample consisted in paired manager-collaborator couples. Managers were asked to use two different communication styles: authoritative vs. cooperative. Main topics were identified thanks to a conversational analysis; this permitted to interpret data. Results showed that the interview was more arousing for the employee than for the manager. An increasing of Delta and Theta cortical bands could denote positive valence of personal change and company mission topics. Autonomic measures (Skin Conductance Response and Heart Rate) showed important information related to different leadership style and to the role inside the company. Results highlight the importance of applying neurosciences to organizational contexts exploring processes related to manager-employee dynamics and communicative style. In particular hyperscanning paradigm seems to be useful to investigate interpersonal dynamics and their psychophysiological markers during an important phase of management conduction: employees' evaluation.
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This paper reviews the literature on social neuroscience studies using macaques in the hope of encouraging as many researchers as possible to participate in this field of research and thereby accelerate the system-level understanding of social cognition and behavior. We describe how different parts of the primate brain are engaged in different aspects of social information processing, with particular emphasis on the use of experimental paradigms involving more than one monkey in laboratory settings. The description begins with how individual neurons are used for evaluating socially relevant information, such as the identity, face, and focus of attention of others in various social contexts. A description of the neural bases of social reward processing and social action monitoring follows. Finally, we provide several perspectives on novel experimental strategies to help clarify the nature of interacting brains under more socially and ecologically plausible conditions.
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The ubiquity of technology in today’s world is exemplified by our ability to connect with each other instantly all around the globe. Advances in video conferencing capabilities combined with dramatic socio-dynamic shifts brought about by COVID-19 have redefined the ways in which humans interact in modern society. Human reliance on effective virtual interfacing (e.g., zoom conferencing) is evermore present in today’s COVID-19 world and will undoubtedly expand in the future. This unprecedented rise in digitalization has direct implications on the output and productivity of human interactions across all design (thinking) activities and practices. Working in a virtual environment limits access to traditional design thinking tools such as (analog) “artifacts” or “manipulatives” (e.g., physical prototypes, post-its, etc.). As both neuroscientists and design researchers, we are interested in elucidating the neurobiological signatures that underlie these adapted human-to-human interactions. Our overarching goal is to understand and uncover the differences in collaborative outcomes (e.g., creativity) and inter-brain synchrony in virtual versus in-person interactions using both analog and digital manipulatives. We proposed an emergent technology in brain-imaging—hyperscanning (i.e., measuring two brains simultaneously to derive measures of inter-brain synchrony) with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)—as an ideal brain-imaging technique to tackle this challenge. A better understanding of how the nuances of these dynamics impact inter-brain synchrony during an innovation event will provide new insights for interventions or technology that can help optimize successful interaction in both scenarios. To inform the design of future fNIRS hyperscanning studies, we review the existing fNIRS hyperscanning literature in this book chapter. On the basis of the existing literature, we highlight the current gaps in research regarding virtual interactions. We provide insight into current hurdles regarding fNIRS hyperscanning hardware and methodology and give recommendations on how to advance the field of fNIRS hyperscanning relevant to design research in the digital age.
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In the present research, we manipulated the perceived superior/inferior status during a competitive cognitive task. In two experiments, we created an explicit and strongly reinforced social hierarchy based on incidental rating on an attentional task. Based on our hypotheses, social rank may influence nonverbal cues (such as facial mimic related to emotional response), cortical lateralized activity in frontal areas (brain oscillations), and cognitive outcomes in response to rank modulation. Thus, the facial mimic (corrugators vs. zygomatic muscle activity), frequency bands (delta, theta, alpha, beta), and real cognitive performance [(error rate (ER); response times (RTs)] were considered. Specifically, a peer-group comparison was enrolled and an improved (experiment 1, N = 29) or decreased (experiment 2, N = 31) performance was artificially manipulated by the experimenter. Results showed a significant improved cognitive performance (decreased ER and RTs), an increased zygomatic activity (positive emotions), and a more prefrontal left-lateralized cortical response in the case of a perceived increased social ranking. On the contrary, a significant decreased cognitive performance (increased ER and RTs), an increased corrugators activity (negative emotions), and a less left-lateralized cortical response were observed as a consequence of a perceived decreased social ranking. Moreover, the correlational values revealed a consistent trend between behavioral (RTs) and EMG and EEG measures for both experiments. The present results suggest that social status not only guides social behavior, but it also influences cognitive processes and subjects' performance.
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A diversity of methods have been used to study cerebral asymmetries associated with emotion. Many different conceptual schemes have also been invoked to guide research on this topic. The purpose of this article is to survey the critical methodological and conceptual issues in this area of research. Research in this area must acknowledge the multi-componential nature of emotion. Asymmetries associated with the perception of emotional information and the posing of emotional expressions are not necessarily the same as those that accompany the actual production of emotion. Asymmetries vary along the rostral/caudal plane both in their magnitude and direction, as well as in their functional significance. Research in this area must explicitly take this variable into account. Different measures of asymmetry do not reflect the same underlying process and so cannot be used interchangeably. In particular, behavioural measures which lack extensive localising validation, must be used with caution. Finally, the nature of the causal connection between alterations in asymmetric activation and emotion is not a simple one and extant data indicate that an asymmetric shift is not sufficient for the production of emotion. This fact has serious implications for the types of experimental designs that must be used to adequately test for relations between cerebral asymmetry and emotion. The article concludes with a discussion of some of the major outstanding questions that will occupy a central position in the future research agenda in this area.
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This investigation tested the joint effect of achievement goals and ranking information on information exchange intentions with a commensurate exchange partner. Results showed that individuals with performance goals were less inclined to cooperate with an exchange partner when they had low or high ranks, relative to when they had intermediate ranks. In contrast, mastery goal individuals showed weaker cooperation intentions when their ranks were higher. Moreover, participants’ reciprocity orientation was found to mediate this interaction effect of achievement goals and ranking information. These findings suggest that mastery goals are more beneficial for exchange relationships than performance goals in terms of stronger reciprocity orientation and cooperation intentions, but only among low-ranked individuals.
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The present study aimed to step into two-person neuroscience by investigating the hemodynamic correlates of between-brain connectivity during joint task performance. To test this approach, wireless functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to record brain signals during performance of a dual n-back task simultaneously in paired players as compared to single players. Evaluating functional connectivity between the paired players' brains using wavelet transform coherence (WTC) analysis revealed (1) a significant increase in between-brain coherence during joint task performance as compared to baseline condition. These patterns were observed in two frequency bands, i.e. in the heart rate (HR) frequency and in low-frequency oscillations (LFOs). (2) Averaged hemodynamic responses revealed larger responses in total hemoglobin concentration changes [tHb] for the paired players as compared to the single players; in addition, within the paired players groups joint task performance revealed larger changes in [tHb] as compared to a rest period and to a baseline condition. (3) No increase in behavioral performance was found in the paired players as compared to the single players. Our findings designate fNIRS as suitable tool for monitoring interpersonal performances between two subjects. The results show that two-person performance leads to relevant and significant effects, which are detectable using between-brain connectivity analysis. Using this approach can provide additional insight into interpersonal activation patterns not detectable using typical one-person experiments. Our study demonstrates the potential of simultaneously assessing cerebral hemodynamic responses for various two-person experimental paradigms and research areas where interpersonal performances are involved.
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Mental representations of social status hierarchy share properties with that of numbers. Previous neuroimaging studies have shown that the neural representation of numerical magnitude lies within a network of regions within inferior parietal cortex. However the neural basis of social status hierarchy remains unknown. Using fMRI, we studied subjects while they compared social status magnitude of people, objects and symbols, as well as numerical magnitude. Both social status and number comparisons recruited bilateral intraparietal sulci. We also observed a semantic distance effect whereby neural activity within bilateral intraparietal sulci increased for semantically close relative to far numerical and social status comparisons. These results demonstrate that social status and number comparisons recruit distinct and overlapping neuronal representations within human inferior parietal cortex.
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This study examined the effects on group performance and evaluation of three factors: intergroup competition or cooperation, intragroup competition or cooperation, and task means-interdependence. Intragroup cooperation was related positively to performance on a high means-interdependent task and was related negatively to performance on a low means-interdependent task. However, this relationship held only when there was intergroup cooperation rather than intergroup competition. These results were discussed in terms of their implications for the relative magnitude of the motives produced by the intragroup and intergroup reward structure. Evaluations of ingroup members were higher when there was intragroup cooperation than when there was intragroup competition. To foster ingroup liking, it was not necessary to introduce intergroup competition.
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Conceptual and empirical approaches to the study of the role of asymmetric frontal cortical activity in emotional processes are reviewed. Although early research suggested that greater left than right frontal cortical activity was associated with positive affect, more recent research, primarily on anger, suggests that greater left than right frontal cortical activity is associated with approach motivation, which can be positive (e.g., enthusiasm) or negative in valence (e.g., anger). In addition to reviewing this research on anger, research on guilt, bipolar disorder, and various types of positive affect is reviewed with relation to their association with asymmetric frontal cortical activity. The reviewed research not only contributes to a more complete understanding of the emotive functions of asymmetric frontal cortical activity, but it also points to the importance of considering motivational direction as separate from affective valence in psychological models of emotional space.
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We used Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to simultaneously measure brain activity in two people while they played a computer-based cooperation game side by side. Inter-brain activity coherence was calculated between the two participants. We found that the coherence between signals generated by participants' right superior frontal cortices increased during cooperation, but not during competition. Increased coherence was also associated with better cooperation performance. To our knowledge, this work represents the first use of a single NIRS instrument for simultaneous measurements of brain activity in two people. This study demonstrates the use of NIRS-based hyperscanning in studies of social interaction in a naturalistic environment.
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The brain activity during cooperation as a form of social process is studied. We investigate the relationship between coinstantaneous brain-activation signals of multiple participants and their cooperative-task performance. A wearable near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system is used for simultaneously measuring the brain activities of two participants. Each pair of participants perform a cooperative task, and their relative changes in cerebral blood are measured with the NIRS system. As for the task, the participants are told to count 10 s in their mind after an auditory cue and press a button. They are also told to adjust the timing of their button presses to make them as synchronized as possible. Certain information, namely, the "intertime interval" between the two button presses of each participant pair and which of the participants was the faster, is fed back to the participants by a beep sound after each trial. When the spatiotemporal covariance between the activation patterns of the prefrontal cortices of each participant is higher, the intertime interval between their button-press times was shorter. This result suggests that the synchronized activation patterns of the two participants' brains are associated with their performance when they interact in a cooperative task.
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Asymmetry in comprehension of facial expression of emotions was explored in the present study by analysing alpha band variation within the right and left cortical sides. Second, the behavioural activation system (BAS) and behavioural inhibition system (BIS) were considered as an explicative factor to verify the effect of a motivational/emotional variable on alpha activity. A total of 19 participants looked at an ample range of facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) in random order. The results demonstrated that anterior frontal sites were more active than central and parietal sites in response to facial stimuli. Moreover, right and left side responses varied as a function of emotional types, with an increased right frontal activity for negative, aversive emotions vs an increased left response for positive emotion. Finally, whereas higher BIS participants generated more right hemisphere activation for some negative emotions (such as fear, anger, surprise, and disgust), BAS participants were more responsive to positive emotion (happiness) within the left hemisphere. Motivational significance of facial expressions was considered to elucidate cortical differences in participants' responses to emotional types.
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A THEORY OF SELF-PERCEPTION IS PROPOSED TO PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION FOR SEVERAL OF THE MAJOR PHENOMENA EMBRACED BY FESTINGER'S THEORY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE AND TO EXPLICATE SOME OF THE SECONDARY PATTERNS OF DATA THAT HAVE APPEARED IN DISSONANCE EXPERIMENTS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE ATTITUDE STATEMENTS WHICH COMPRISE THE MAJOR DEPENDENT VARIABLES IN DISSONANCE EXPERIMENTS MAY BE REGARDED AS INTERPERSONAL JUDGMENTS IN WHICH THE O AND THE OBSERVED HAPPEN TO BE THE SAME INDIVIDUAL AND THAT IT IS UNNECESSARY TO POSTULATE AN AVERSIVE MOTIVATIONAL DRIVE TOWARD CONSISTENCY TO ACCOUNT FOR THE ATTITUDE CHANGE PHENOMENA OBSERVED. SUPPORTING EXPERIMENTS ARE PRESENTED, AND METATHEORETICAL CONTRASTS BETWEEN THE "RADICAL" BEHAVIORAL APPROACH UTILIZED AND THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TYPIFIED BY DISSONANCE THEORY ARE DISCUSSED. (2 P. REF.)
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Previous research has shown that observing others' actions can affect individual performance of the same actions. In the present study, we developed a new paradigm to investigate whether and how complementary actions at the disposal of another agent are represented and influence one's own actions. A spatial compatibility task was distributed among two people so that each participant took care of one of two responses. The identical task was performed alone and alongside another participant. There was a spatial compatibility effect in the group setting only. It was similar to the effect obtained when one person took care of both responses. This result suggests that one's own actions and others' actions are represented in a functionally equivalent way.
Article
Aging reduces cerebral blood flow in association cortices during rest. However, the influence of age on functional brain activation is still controversial. The aim of our study was to examine age dependency of brain activation in primary and association cortices. Therefore, changes in the concentration of oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin as well as changes in the redox state of cytochrome-c-oxidase (Cyt-Ox) were measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in the lateral prefrontal and motor cortices during an event-related Stroop interference task. Fourteen young (23.9 +/- 3.1 years old) and 14 elderly subjects (65.1 +/- 3.1) participated in the study. Data revealed two effects of aging on brain activation: (1) Elderly and young subjects used the lateral prefrontal cortex to cope with interference during the Stroop task. In young subjects, the vascular response was higher during incongruent than neutral trials in the entire examined lateral prefrontal cortex. However, in the elderly, all lateral prefrontal regions showed a hemodynamic response but not necessarily a specific interference effect. (2) The hemodynamic response was reduced in elderly subjects in the lateral prefrontal association cortex, but obviously not in the motor cortex. We propose that calculating effect sizes is the only reliable approach to analyze age-related effects in fNIRS studies, because they are independent from the assumed differential pathlength factor. In summary, our findings suggest that aging decreases the hemodynamic response in the frontal association cortex during functional activation, omitting the primary motor cortex.
Article
Despite the vast literature that has implicated asymmetric activation of the prefrontal cortex in approach-withdrawal motivation and emotion, no published reports have directly explored the neural correlates of well-being. Eighty-four right-handed adults (ages 57-60) completed self-report measures of eudaimonic well-being, hedonic well-being, and positive affect prior to resting electroencephalography. As hypothesized, greater left than right superior frontal activation was associated with higher levels of both forms of well-being. Hemisphere-specific analyses documented the importance of goal-directed approach tendencies beyond those captured by approach-related positive affect for eudaimonic but not for hedonic well-being. Appropriately engaging sources of appetitive motivation, characteristic of higher left than right baseline levels of prefrontal activation, may encourage the experience of well-being.
Article
Cooperation and competition are two basic modes of social cognition that necessitate monitoring of both one's own and others' actions, as well as adopting a specific mental set. In this fMRI, study individuals played a specially designed computer game, according to a set of predefined rules, either in cooperation with or in competition against another person. The hemodynamic response during these conditions was contrasted to that of the same subjects playing the game independently. Both cooperation and competition stances resulted in activation of a common frontoparietal network subserving executive functions, as well as the anterior insula, involved in autonomic arousal. Moreover, distinct regions were found to be selectively associated with cooperation and competition, notably the orbitofrontal cortex in the former and the inferior parietal and medial prefrontal cortices in the latter. This pattern reflects the different mental frameworks implicated in being cooperative versus competitive with another person. In accordance with evidence from evolutionary psychology as well as from developmental psychology, we argue that cooperation is a socially rewarding process and is associated with specific left medial orbitofrontal cortex involvement.
Article
Traditional neuroimaging studies have mainly focused on brain activity derived from a simple stimulus and task. Therefore, little is known about brain activity during daily operations. In this study, we investigated hemodynamic changes in the dorsal prefrontal cortex (DPFC) during video games as one of daily amusements, using near infrared spectroscopy technique. It was previously reported that oxygenated hemoglobin (oxyHb) in adults' DPFC decreased during prolonged game playing time. In the present study, we examined whether similar changes were observed in children. Twenty children (7-14 years old) participated in our study, but only 13 of them were eventually subject to analysis. They played one or two commercially available video games; namely a fighting and a puzzle game, for 5 min. We used changes in concentration of oxyHb as an indicator of brain activity and consequently, most of the children exhibited a sustained game-related oxyHb decrease in DPFC. Decrease patterns of oxyHb in children during video game playing time did not differ from those in adults. There was no significant correlation between ages or game performances and changes in oxyHb. These findings suggest that game-related oxyHb decrease in DPFC is a common phenomenon to adults and children at least older than 7 years old, and we suggest that this probably results from attention demand from the video games rather than from subject's age and performance.
Article
Whether human infants perceive televised stimuli in the same way to live stimuli largely remains unknown. Action observation, which has been extensively confirmed to elicit activation of internal motor representation, provides a promising framework for investigating this issue. This 'mirror-matching' property has been found in the monkey premotor cortex as well as the premotor and primary motor cortices in human adults. Although larger activation in observing a live action compared to a televised action in adult subjects has been reported, it is unknown whether the same neural response is obtained from human infants. To address this issue, we first measured the activity of motor areas in adult subjects while viewing either a live or televised action of other people by using near-infrared spectroscopy. The motor areas that were activated when the subject themselves performed an action were also activated during action observation in the live setting, while this was not evident in the TV setting. We then conducted qualitatively the same experiment with 6- to 7-month-old infants. The infant's motor areas were significantly activated when observing a live person performing an action. Although we also found activation in the same area during action observation in the TV setting, the difference in activity between action observation and object-motion observation was significant only in the live setting. Our results are the first to demonstrate activation in motor areas during action observation in human infants. We suggest that human brain responds differently to the real world and the virtual world.
Article
Social hierarchies guide behavior in many species, including humans, where status also has an enormous impact on motivation and health. However, little is known about the underlying neural representation of social hierarchies in humans. In the present study, we identify dissociable neural responses to perceived social rank using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in an interactive, simulated social context. In both stable and unstable social hierarchies, viewing a superior individual differentially engaged perceptual-attentional, saliency, and cognitive systems, notably dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In the unstable hierarchy setting, additional regions related to emotional processing (amygdala), social cognition (medial prefrontal cortex), and behavioral readiness were recruited. Furthermore, social hierarchical consequences of performance were neurally dissociable and of comparable salience to monetary reward, providing a neural basis for the high motivational value of status. Our results identify neural mechanisms that may mediate the enormous influence of social status on human behavior and health.
Article
Status hierarchies constitute a fundamental organizing principle of human society. However, little is known about the neural systems that process nonverbal cues that indicate status. Preliminary neuropsychological work has suggested a role for the ventrolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VLPFC/VMPFC) and the superior temporal cortex (STC). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to delineate the nature of these roles. Analyses revealed signal changes in the right VLPFC in connection with two primary functions attributed to status cues. Status cues moderate behavior and the right VLPFC showed increased signal for high-status relative to neutral and low-status cues. The VLPFC also showed increased signal for high-status cues displayed by individuals of the opposite gender to the perceiver; this may be relevant to the role status cues play in moderating mate choice behavior. Connectivity results indicated significant positive connectivity between the VLPFC and both the VMPFC and the STC. We suggest that the VLPFC retrieves information from these regions when processing hierarchy cues to facilitate socially adaptive behavior.
Toward a unified theory of similarity and recognition
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