Recent work from our interdisciplinary research group has revealed the emergence of inter-brain synchronization across multiple frequency bands during social interaction.1
Our findings result from the close collaboration between experts who study neural dynamics and developmental psychology. The initial aim of the collaboration was to combine knowledge from these two fields in order to move from a classical one-brain neuroscience towards a novel two-body approach. A new technique called hyperscanning has made it possible to study the neural activity of two individuals simultaneously. However, this advanced methodology was not sufficient in itself. What remained to be found was a way to promote real-time reciprocal social interaction between two individuals during brain recording and analyze the neural and behavioral phenomenon from an inter-individual perspective. Approaches used in infancy research to study nonverbal communication and coordination, between a mother and her child for example, have so far been poorly applied to neuroimaging experiments. We thus adapted an ecological two-body experiment inspired by the use of spontaneous imitation in preverbal infants. Numerous methodological and theoretical problems had to be overcome, ranging from the choice of a common time-unit for behavioral and brain recordings to the creation of algorithms for data processing between distant brain regions in different brains. This article will discuss the underlying issues and perspectives involved in elucidating the pathway from individual to social theories of cognition.