The Human Dynamic Clamp reveals the fronto-parietal network linking real-time social coordination and cognition

Guillaume Dumas, Q Moreau, Emmanuelle Tognoli, J.A. Scott Kelso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


How does the brain allow us to interact with others? Social neuroscience has already provided some answers to these questions but has tended to treat high-level, cognitive interpretations of social behavior separately from the sensorimotor mechanisms upon which they rely. The goal here is to identify the underlying neural processes and mechanisms linking sensorimotor coordination and intention attribution. We combine the human dynamic clamp, a novel paradigm for studyingrealistic social behavior, with high-resolution electroencephalography. The collection of humanness and intention attribution reports, kinematics, and neural data affords an opportunity to relate brain activity to the ongoing social behavior. Behavioral results demonstrate that sensorimotor coordination influences the judgments of cooperativeness and humanness. Analysis of brain dynamics reveals two distinct networks related to the integration of visuo-motor information from self and other which overlap over the right parietal region. Furthermore, judgment of humanness and cooperation of others modulate the functional connectivity between this right parietal hub and the prefrontal cortex. These results reveal how distributed neural dynamics integrates information from “low-level” sensorimotor mechanisms and “high-level” social cognition to support the realistic social behaviors that play out in real time during interactive scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3271-3285
Number of pages15
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number5
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Institute of Mental Health (grant MH080838); the National Science Foundation (grant BCS0826897); The Davimos Family Endowment for Excellence in Science; Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) (to G.D.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • EEG
  • rTPJ
  • self–other integration
  • social cognition
  • virtual partner interaction


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