47. GOOD CONVERSATION RESULTS IN MIND MELD: Science Says

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EPISODE 47: GOOD CONVERSATION RESULTS IN MIND MELD

Wisdom Wednesday is when we offer some fun positive psychology wisdom into your day!

Science Says (SS)- Welcome to Science Says, where every episode highlights a research study that has come out in the field of positive psychology. LISTEN to discover the science of human flourishing while Emiliya Zhivotovskaya teaches you how to put this new knowledge into action… because science says!

Researchers studying human conversation have discovered the brains of listeners and speakers become synchronized, and this "neural coupling" makes for effective communication. In essence, the participants’ brains connect in a kind of "mind meld.”

Speaker–listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Verbal communication is a joint activity; however, speech production and comprehension have primarily been analyzed as independent processes within the boundaries of individual brains. Communication is a shared activity resulting in a transfer of information across brains. Simply put, good conversation results in a 'mind meld’.

Natural communication unfolds through collective participation of speaker and listener: speakers construct grammatical sentences based on thoughts, convert these to motor plans, and execute the plans to produce vocal sounds; listeners analyze the sounds, build phonemes into words and sentences, and ultimately decode sound patterns into meaning. In our study, we observed significant speaker–listener temporal coupling only during successful verbal communication. When communication was blocked (i.e., during listening to a foreign, incomprehensible language), the synchronization was lost. As expected, this synchronization was present in a temporally shifted time course of the speaker’s brain activity relative to the moment of vocalization. Hence, listeners’ brain activity mirrors the speaker’s brain activity with a delay.

Paying attention and listening helps foster successful communication and help us to synchronize with others on a deeper more effective level.

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