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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- naturalistic stimuli
- neuroscience methods
- social interaction