What has social neuroscience learned from hyperscanning studies of spoken communication? A systematic review

Brent Kelsen, Alexander Sumich, Nikola Kasabov, Sophie Liang, Grace Wang

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42 Citations (Scopus)
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A growing body of literature examining the neurocognitive processes of interpersonal linguistic interaction indicates the emergence of neural alignment as participants engage in oral communication. However, questions have arisen whether the study results can be interpreted beyond observations of cortical functionality and extended to the mutual understanding between communicators. This review presents evidence from electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning studies of interbrain synchrony (IBS) in which participants communicated via spoken language. The studies are classified into: knowledge sharing; turn-taking speech co- ordination; cooperation, problem-solving and creativity; and naturalistic
discussion paradigms according to the type of interaction specified in each study. Alignment predominantly occurred in the frontal and temporo-parietal areas, which may reflect activation of the mirror and mentalizing systems. We argue that the literature presents a significant contribution to advancing our understanding of IBS and mutual understanding between communicators.
We end with suggestions for future research, including analytical approaches and experimental conditions and hypothesize that brain-inspired neural networks are promising techniques for better understanding of IBS through hyperscanning.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberNBR 3900
Pages (from-to)1-41
Number of pages41
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date3 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Oct 2020


  • hyperscanning
  • oral communication
  • social interaction
  • interbrain synchrony


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