Inter-brain functional connectivity between player and observer facilitated by cheering: NIRS hyperscanning study

[Speaker] Shimada, Sotaro:1
[Co-author] Koide, Tadayoshi:1
1:Meiji University (Japan)

Cheering a favorite player or team during observing a professional sports game is one of the most pervasive entertainment. It is likely that cheering facilitates the observer's subjective unity with that player and hence the synchronized activity between the two brains. In this study, we measured the mirror neuron system (MNS) activities of the player and the observer simultaneously by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The player performed the Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) game against an experimenter while the observer cheered for that player. To investigate the functional connectivity between the player's and the observer's brains, we employed psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis. As a result, the observer's MNS activity was enhanced by the player's positive outcome and functionally connected with the player's motor area activity. Our results suggest that cheering enhances the assimilation of the observer's internal state to that of the player during observation of a competitive game.
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