The promises and pitfalls of functional magnetic resonance imaging hyperscanning for social interaction research

Lily Tsoi, Shannon M. Burns, Emily B. Falk, Diana I. Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social neuroscience combines tools and perspectives from social psychology and neuroscience to understand how people interact with their social world. Here we discuss a relatively new method—hyperscanning—to study real-time, interactive social interactions using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We highlight three contributions that fMRI hyperscanning makes to the study of the social mind: (1) Naturalism: it shifts the focus from tightly-controlled stimuli to more naturalistic social interactions; (2) Multi-person Dynamics: it shifts the focus from individuals as the unit of analysis to dyads and groups; and (3) Neural Resolution: fMRI hyperscanning captures high-resolution neural patterns and dynamics across the whole brain, unlike other neuroimaging hyperscanning methods (e.g., electroencephalogram, functional near-infrared spectroscopy). Finally, we describe the practical considerations and challenges that fMRI hyperscanning researchers must navigate. We hope researchers will harness this powerful new paradigm to address pressing questions in today's society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12707
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

Keywords

  • hyperscanning
  • naturalistic stimuli
  • neuroscience methods
  • social interaction

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