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Mind & Brain
Study: The Brains of Storytellers And Their Listeners Actually Sync Up | Discover Magazine -
January 18, 2012
As Silbert spoke about her prom experience, the same areas lit up in her brain as in the brains of her listeners. In most brain regions, the activation pattern in the listeners’ brains came a few seconds after that seen in Silbert’s brain. But a few brain areas, including one in the frontal lobe, actually lit up before Silbert’s, perhaps representing listeners’ anticipating what she was going to say next, the team says. The study certainly comes with caveats: Its sample size is small, and scientists don’t know exactly what causes the synchronization, nor the exact function of the brain regions in question to any more specificity than “language.” But Stephens and Hasson argue that their findings speak to conceptual common ground people must meet to make conversation possible: “If I say, ‘Do you want a coffee?’ you say, ‘Yes please, two sugars.’ You don’t say, ‘Yes, please put two sugars in the cup of coffee that is between us,’” said Hasson. “You’re sharing the same lexical items, gram
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