In DepthNeuroscience

In two-person MRI, brains socialize at close range

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Science  10 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6474, pp. 133
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6474.133

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Summary

How can scientists interested in the neural activity underlying social interactions capture an engaged, conversing brain while its owner is isolated in an MRI scanner? Two research teams are advancing a curious solution: squeezing two people into one scanner. One such MRI setup is under development with new funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and another has undergone initial testing described in a preprint last month. These designs have yet to prove that their scientific payoff justifies their cost and complexity, plus the requirement that two people endure a constricted almost-hug, in some cases for 1 hour or more. But the two groups hope to open up new ways to study how brains exchange subtle social and emotional cues bound up in facial expressions, eye contact, and physical touch.

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