Hyperscanning neuroimaging technique to reveal the "two-in-one" system in social interactions

Neurosci Res. 2015 Jan;90:25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2014.11.006. Epub 2014 Dec 10.


Using a technique for measuring brain activity simultaneously from two people, known as hyperscanning, we can calculate inter-brain neural effects that appear only in interactions between individuals. Hyperscanning studies using fMRI are advantageous in that they can precisely determine the region(s) involved in inter-brain effects. However, it is almost impossible to record inter-brain effects in daily life. By contrast, hyperscanning EEG studies have high temporal resolution and could be used to capture moment-to-moment interactions. In addition, EEG instrumentation is portable and easy to wear, offering the opportunity to record inter-brain effects during daily-life interactions. However, the disadvantage of this approach is that it is difficult to localize the epicenter of the inter-brain effect. fNIRS has better temporal resolution and portability than fMRI, but has limited spatial resolution and a limited ability to record deep brain structures. Future studies should employ hyperscanning EEG-fMRI, because this approach combines the high temporal resolution of EEG with the high spatial resolution of fMRI. Hyperscanning EEG-fMRI allows us to use inter-brain effects as neuromarkers of the properties of social interactions in daily life. We also wish to emphasize the need to develop a mathematical model explaining how two brains can exhibit synchronized activity.

Keywords: Hyperscanning; Social interaction; Social neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neuroimaging* / instrumentation
  • Neuroimaging* / methods