Social Interaction and the Synchrony of Brain Waves
Updated: Aug 1
Humans are social beings and it turns out that when people talk or share an experience,
their brain waves synchronize.
The resonance between “like minds” is becoming a fascinating field of research. That is not to say that we are all part of the “matrix” or“borg” that cannot have independence of thought, but rather we operate like dancers moving together in matching patterns. The result of building this kind of resonance is likely the “magic” we feel when participating in a think tank, collective brainstorming, or collaborating to create a novel approach to a situation. The more we understand about this phenomenon, the more likely we are to learn ways to enhance collaborative efforts.
The reality is that we rarely operate our minds in isolation, so researchers are beginning
to study more than one brain at a time to provide a more realistic picture of human
brains “in vivo.” Termed collective neuroscience, researchers are using technology like
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG)
technology that allow scientists to observe brain activity and brain wave oscillations
indirectly while humans interact.
“The experience of “being on the same wavelength” as another person is real, and it is
visible in the activity of the brain… An early, consistent finding is that when people
converse or share an experience, their brain waves synchronize.” Lydia Denworth,
Scientific American July 2023
The beautiful aspect of this is the discovery of new levels of complexity and depth in
social interaction. This alignment creates enhanced levels of performance in many
arenas from corporate and athletic teams to resonance between musical performers
and their audience.
It goes beyond simply having the same experience with each other.
This is called “Interbrain Synchrony,” which is a phenomenon where neurons in different
brains fire simultaneously in response to interaction with how others think, feel and act.
The longer the interaction continues the more aligned the timing and location of brain
“When we're talking to
each other, we kind of
create a single überbrain
that isn't reducible to the
sum of its parts. Like
oxygen and hydrogen
combine to make water, it
creates something special
that isn't reducible to
oxygen and hydrogen
at Darmouth University
Credit: Now Medical Studios via Scientific American July 2023
This is essentially what we feel when we “click” with someone, or the connection that
occurs between close friends, romantic partners, and within organizations with effective
Any athlete or musician that has worked within a group where synchronizing is vital has
experience with this. Any coach or conductor will tell you it is crucial that members of a
group trying to achieve harmony must communicate, often nonverbally, for the
symphony to occur. It takes practice together and can further explain the importance of
connecting with each other to perfect. There is evidence that interbrain synchrony
may have prompted the development of social interaction as a beneficial
When recognized it is a transferable skill that can benefit synchronous groups, it may
become a skill that can be brought into organizations and cooperative groups to
enhance outcomes. The most powerful effect in humans may be where two
like-minded individuals are asked to co-create a narrative with a prompt.
This resonance of thought and it’s benefits ” highlight the importance of social
interaction in the mental stability and physical health of each other” in society.
Conversely, it explains why the social isolation that occurred during the pandemic was
so damaging, especially in highly socially focused groups, such as adolescents.
Humans need each other. Our brain health is enhanced by interaction.
Our communication with each other goes far beyond the surface of our conversations .
We teach and learn from each other, forge alliances, learn to cooperate and “get on the
same page”, and support each other in ways that are beneficial.
Our resonance is the physics of brain waves finding harmony and may be a sign of
shared minds that operate to enhance the chemical and electrical signaling in the brain.
This is crucial in comprehension, communication, and learning.
For the increasing numbers of entrepreneurs and freelancers breaking away from the
corporate world, this is an important thing to consider. While being a lone wolf has the
allure of freedom from bureaucracy, isolating oneself from resonant minds can be
detrimental. Finding like-minded communities to resonate with and learn from is vital.
Science is revealing more every day how connection outside of ourselves is a key
component to wellness and success. While it will take much more investigation to
understand and clarify this phenomenon in scientific terms, humans have benefited
from and enjoyed the resonance found in social interaction throughout human
Think back to a time when you found harmony and resonance as a member of a team or in a performance. You likely felt an energy that superseded simple coordination of
roles, rather an invisible but tangible connection to each other. Interaction is a crucial
component of a healthy brain lifestyle. Incorporating it into your schedule is ultimately
an investment in your mental and physical wellness. Source: For more detail, read the full article by Lydia Denworth in the July 2023 issue of Scientific American. Looking for something different? Contact us to see how we can customize your health talk or activity.