Poster C129, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Communicability of cerebral activities: shaping similar percepts across individuals
Shahin Tavakol; 1
We assume that how we perceive the world is similar across individuals, which could be true if our cerebral activities somehow affected those of others and vice-versa. Looking for such brain-to-brain influences, we performed two experiments in which we recorded the event-related potentials (ERPs) of two types of participant duos (e.g., partner-partner and stranger-stranger). The two participants performed an image memorization task side by side in front of the same computer screen without being able to see the image that was simultaneously presented to the other person. Across the four stimulus blocs used, the sameness of the two images, as well as the participants’ belief in this sameness, were manipulated. Thus, their beliefs were either consistent or inconsistent with reality. ERPs were more positive within the N400 and the late posterior positivity (LPP) time windows for inconsistent trials as compared to consistent ones. These effects were observed in pairs of partners only and not in strangers. In an ongoing study, we are currently isolating each participant, visually and acoustically, to make sure that the ERP differences are not caused by some detection of subliminal cues (e.g., postural reactions & breathing variations). This time, we are using a single bloc in which both participants believe they are seeing the same image simultaneously, which is, again, either consistent or inconsistent with reality. Thus far, our pilot results replicate the aforementioned ERP effects. As participants cannot see nor hear each other, our data strongly point to covert brain-to-brain influences between pairs of partners.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Vision