4 years ago

Perception of social synchrony induces mother-child gamma coupling in the social brain.

Levy J, Feldman R, Goldstein A
The recent call to move from focus on one brain's functioning to two-brain communication initiated a search for mechanisms that enable two humans to coordinate brain response during social interactions. Here, we utilized the mother-child context as a developmentally salient setting to study two-brain coupling. Mothers and their 9-year-old children were videotaped at home in positive and conflictual interactions. Positive interactions were microcoded for social synchrony and conflicts for overall dialogical style. Following, mother and child underwent magnetoencephalography while observing the positive vignettes. Episodes of behavioral synchrony, compared to non-synchrony, increased gamma-band power in the superior temporal sulcus (STS), hub of social cognition, mirroring and mentalizing. This neural pattern was coupled between mother and child. Brain-to-brain coordination was anchored in behavioral synchrony; only during episodes of behavioral synchrony, but not during non-synchronous moments, mother's and child's STS gamma power was coupled. Importantly, neural synchrony was not found during observation of unfamiliar mother-child interaction Maternal empathic/dialogical conflict style predicted mothers' STS activations whereas child withdrawal predicted attenuated STS response in both partners. Results define a novel neural marker for brain-to-brain synchrony, highlight the role of rapid bottom-up oscillatory mechanisms for neural coupling and indicate that behavior-based processes may drive synchrony between two brains during social interactions.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28402479

DOI: PubMed:28402479

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