Interbrain synchronization in gesture observation

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The effect of interbrain synchronization in gesture observation: A fNIRS study.

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.

PMID: 32469153 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Brain Behav. 2020 May 29;:e01663

Authors: Fronda G, Balconi M

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