(David Nield) Our brain waves can synchronise with others when we’re in conversation with them, according to new research. It’s not quite mind reading, but it could teach us more about the nature of language and relationships.
by David Nield, July 26th, 2017
The team labelled the phenomenon “brain-to-brain entrainment” in its write-up, and noted similarities with previous studies that had spotted some level of neural synchronisation when people get chatting together.
Whereas earlier research suggested our brains can adapt their patterns based on what we’re hearing, this study points to something special about the act of socializing directly with other people, and the researchers want to see further studies explore the way we engage in one-on-one situations.
Eventually, we might be able to work out what people are talking about, as well as being able to spot who’s engaged in conversation, from brain activity alone.
While any research that helps us understand the mysterious inner workings of the brain is going to be useful, we should note the relatively small sample size in this study – and the researchers themselves admit there’s still a lot to explore.
And one of the next tests planned at the BCBL is to see if the same synchronisation happens when people are talking in non-native languages.
“Demonstrating the existence of neural synchrony between two people involved in a conversation has only been the first step,” says one of the researchers, Alejandro Pérez. “There are many unanswered questions and challenges left to resolve.”
The research has been published in Scientific Reports.
This article (Our minds appear to sync with others when we’re holding a conversation) was originally published on Science Alert and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.
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