Brain-to-brain coupling: A mechanism for creating and sharing a social world

Uri Hasson, Asif A. Ghazanfar, Bruno Galantucci, Simon Garrod, Christian Keysers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

656 Scopus citations


Cognition materializes in an interpersonal space. The emergence of complex behaviors requires the coordination of actions among individuals according to a shared set of rules. Despite the central role of other individuals in shaping one's mind, most cognitive studies focus on processes that occur within a single individual. We call for a shift from a single-brain to a multi-brain frame of reference. We argue that in many cases the neural processes in one brain are coupled to the neural processes in another brain via the transmission of a signal through the environment. Brain-to-brain coupling constrains and shapes the actions of each individual in a social network, leading to complex joint behaviors that could not have emerged in isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Action-perception
  • Coupled oscillations
  • Joint action
  • Mother-infant
  • Social neuroscience
  • Speaker-listener neural coupling


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