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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Kalinowski

Social Interaction and the Synchrony of Brain Waves

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

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

activity occur.

“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

independently.” Thalia

Wheatley, neuroscientist

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.

Written By fitPROs Wellbeing Speaker, Neeli Clute Read more about Neelie HERE


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