Humans are inherently social creatures. In fact, the human brain can’t reach optimum health without social interaction. So, what is the brain actually doing while it interacts with other brains? Many scientists are currently working to answer that question.
Our brains can actually couple with one another, and when they are coupled, we can better understand another’s emotions, intentions or a shared experience. Our brains bond when we initiate and maintain eye contact – gazing into another person’s eyes actually creates bursts of activity in the brain’s reward circuitry. When we share stories, our brains bind; the story teller’s brain activity begins to mirror that of the listener.
This brain-binding information proves particularly useful when we consider the way that students learn. A student’s brain activity while interacting with classmates or a teacher could indicate how well they are synchronizing with other brains in the classroom and whether or not they are learning best. This research can also help us predict which therapist or doctor is best for a patient.
There is still much to learn about brain coupling, but current research is already making strides in helping us understand the social brain.