How brains help people ‘click’ in conversations

July 27th, 2010 - 4:34 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 27 (ANI): When two people “click” in a conversation, they are said to have a meeting of minds. Now science has proven the same.

The evidence comes from fMRI scans of 11 people’s brains as they listened to a woman recounting a story. The scans showed that the listeners’ brain patterns tracked those of the storyteller almost exactly, though trailed 1 to 3 seconds behind. But in some listeners, brain patterns even preceded those of the storyteller.

“We found that the participants’ brains became intimately coupled during the course of the ‘conversation’, with the responses in the listener’s brain mirroring those in the speaker’s,” New Scientist quoted Uri Hasson, of Princeton University, as saying.

Hasson’s team monitored the strength of this coupling by measuring the extent of the pattern overlap. Listeners with the best overlap were also judged to be the best at retelling the tale.

“The more similar our brain patterns during a conversation, the better we understand each other,” Hasson said.

However, there was no match between the brain patterns of the storyteller and the listeners when they heard the same story in Russian, a language they didn’t understand.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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