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Brains that fire together wire together: Interbrain plasticity underlies interaction-based learning

Project description

Improving learning on brain-to-brain level

Even though social interactions are significant determinants of learning, the field of neuroplasticity doesn’t take this into account. Instead, it is deeply rooted in probing changes occurring in synapses, brain structures, and networks within an individual brain. The ERC funded INTERPLASTIC project, however, will propose a new approach that synthesises disparate findings on network neuroplasticity and mechanisms of social interactions. It will test whether the facilitation effect of social interactions on learning can be explained by interbrain plasticity (short- and long-term experience-dependent changes in interbrain coupling).

Objective

Traditionally, brain plasticity was viewed as a change occurring in synapses, brain structures and functional networks, within an individual brain. Considering that social interactions play a major role in the acquisitions of skills and knowledge, I suggest a new approach for understanding interaction-based learning that focuses on inter-brain plasticity. The term coined here, inter-brain plasticity, will be defined as the short and long-term experience-dependent changes in brain-to-brain coupling. I argue that inter-brain plasticity in the observation-execution system develops over the course of interaction-based learning to facilitate information exchange between partners and thus learning. The proposed study aims at introducing a new theory on how inter-brain networks reorganize following training in interaction-based learning. It has three objectives: 1) To develop a model of inter-brain plasticity during learning (short-term), following training (long-term) and generalization between/within interaction partners; 2) To develop a novel dyadic-neurofeedback technology that allows drawing causal inferences between inter-brain plasticity and learning; 3) To test whether diminished inter-brain plasticity in Autism Spectrum Disorders may be reversed following training with the new dyadic neurofeedback. To address these questions, I will take advantage of the high temporal resolution of state-of-the-art dual-functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) setup and examine how intra- and inter-brain networks reconfigure during learning of various skills, ranging from motor learning to language acquisition. The proposed experiments will lay the foundation for a new field of research focusing on the dynamics of inter-brain networks. The inter-brain plasticity approach will radically change how we view neuroplasticity. It will allow for the first time probing the long-term changes in the reconfiguration of inter-brain networks.

Host institution

UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA
Net EU contribution
€ 2 597 700,00
Address
ABBA KHUSHY BLVD MOUNT CARMEL
31905 Haifa
Israel

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 2 597 700,00

Beneficiaries (1)