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SOCIAL BRAIN Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 313000
Financé au titre de: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Pays: Finland

Mid-Term Report Summary - SOCIAL BRAIN (Fitting The World to Minds: Brain Basis of Sharing and Transmitting Representations of the Social World)

We have established that similar brain states across individuals are associated with similar patterns of localized neural activity. When two persons share a psychological perspective towards the external world, their brain activation synchronises in a regionally selective manner. This synchronisation may underlie mutual understanding of the environment.

Salient external events may also cause brain activation to synchronise across a group of individuals. When humans experience strong negative emotions, their brains 'tick together' in a regionally selective fashion. This emotion-dependent synchronisation likely puts a group of individuals into a similar mental mode, preparing protective behaviour at the group level.

Emotion-specific brain activation patterns can also be used to 'read out' an indivual's current emotional state on (such as fear anger and happiness) basis of the brain activation only. This suggests that different emotions have different neural basis. More recently, we have also established that different emotions are associated with distinct topographies of bodily sensations, reflecting the way emotions coordinate survival responses in the body.

Finally, our recent work shows how touching is an important way of bridging the minds across individuals, and how social touching is used for maintenance and establishment of social bonds in humans. These results show that somatosensation is an important channel for social interaction and bonding, in addition to the often-emphasized language-based systems.

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