Interpersonal brain synchronization during face-to-face economic exchange between acquainted dyads

Oxf Open Neurosci. 2023 Jun 21:2:kvad007. doi: 10.1093/oons/kvad007. eCollection 2023.


Interpersonal brain synchronization (IBS) has been observed during social interactions and involves various factors, such as familiarity with the partner and type of social activity. A previous study has shown that face-to-face (FF) interactions in pairs of strangers increase IBS. However, it is unclear whether this can be observed when the nature of the interacting partners is different. Herein, we aimed to extend these findings to pairs of acquaintances. Neural activity in the frontal and temporal regions was recorded using functional near-infrared spectroscopy hyperscanning. Participants played an ultimatum game that required virtual economic exchange in two experimental settings: face-to-face and face-blocked conditions. Random pair analysis confirmed whether IBS was induced by social interaction. Contrary to the aforementioned study, our results did not show any cooperative behavior or task-induced IBS increase. Conversely, the random pair analysis results revealed that the pair-specific IBS was significant only in the task condition at the left and right superior frontal, middle frontal, orbital superior frontal, right superior temporal, precentral and postcentral gyri. Our results tentatively suggested that FF interaction in acquainted pairs did not increase IBS and supported the idea that IBS is affected by 'with whom we interact and how'.

Keywords: acquaintanceship; fNIRS; face-to-face economic exchange; human sociality; hyperscanning; interpersonal brain synchronization.