Synchronize Your Brain

Synchronized Brains

In a recent study, researchers have found that experiencing strong emotions in a group can synchronize brain activity, and may support social interaction.

Human emotions are highly contagious. Seeing others’ emotional expressions such as smiles triggers often the corresponding emotional response in the observer. Such synchronization of emotional states across individuals may support social interaction: When all group members share a common emotional state, their brains and bodies process the environment in a similar fashion.

Now, that's not exactly surprising, but it is satisfying when hard science supports what we find to be true and valuable in our anecdotal experience.  

The results revealed that especially feeling strong unpleasant emotions synchronised brain’s emotion processing networks in the frontal and midline regions. On the contrary, experiencing highly arousing events synchronised activity in the networks supporting vision, attention and sense of touch.

How can we use this information?  It suggests that we can create more connection with people by developing a facility for processing emotion together.

I'm posting this because it's right in line with what we're doing in Radical Improv.  Whether we're sharing laughter, pleasure, or one of the "less preferred" emotions, the act of sharing "facilitates social interaction and group processes."  Allowing ourselves to experience and express a full spectrum of emotional states isn't just healthy for the individual, it's also healthy for the individual's community.

Full study in PDF format here.


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