NIRS-based hyperscanning reveals increased interpersonal coherence in superior frontal cortex during cooperation

Neuroimage. 2012 Feb 1;59(3):2430-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Sep 10.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Games, Experimental
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sense of Coherence / physiology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*