Cooperation in lovers: An fNIRS-based hyperscanning study

Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Feb;38(2):831-841. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23421. Epub 2016 Oct 4.


This study investigated interactive exchange in lovers and the associated interpersonal brain synchronization (IBS) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Three types of female-male dyads, lovers, friends, and strangers, performed a cooperation task during which brain activity was recorded in right frontoparietal regions. We measured better cooperative behavior in lover dyads compared with friend and stranger dyads. Lover dyads demonstrated increased IBS in right superior frontal cortex, which also covaried with their task performance. Granger causality analyses in lover dyads revealed stronger directional synchronization from females to males than from males to females, suggesting different roles for females and males during cooperation. Our study refines the theoretical explanation of romantic interaction between lovers. Hum Brain Mapp 38:831-841, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: cooperation; fNIRS; hyperscanning; interpersonal brain synchronization; lovers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult