How invalidating another person affected communication

Imagine that a device was invented which could record all of my memories, dreams and ideas, and then transmit the entire contents to your brain. In fact, we already possess such a technology — it’s called effective storytelling.

But to our surprise, we saw the brain responses in the listeners’ brains while listening to the story were actually coupled to and similar to the brain responses we observed in the speaker’s brain while telling the story (see below).We started by comparing the similarity of neural responses across different listeners in their auditory cortices — the part of the brain that processes the sounds coming from the ear.When we looked at responses before the experiment started while our five listeners were at rest and waiting for the storyteller to begin, we saw the responses were very different from each other and not in sync (see the inset bubble at right).We saw the words begin to induce alignment in the early language areas of our subjects’ brains, but not beyond that.Then, we took the words and built sentences from them. ’” When we played this version, we saw neural entrainment extend to all language areas that process grammatically coherent sentences.

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