Towards a multi-brain perspective on communication in dialogue

Anna K. Kuhlen, Carsten Allefeld, Silke Anders, John Dylan Haynes

5 Citations (Scopus)


In conversation, speakers and listeners coordinate both their behavior and their mental states. Multi-brain studies, which record and relate to each other the neural activity of two or more brains, can provide insights into a coordination of neural states between communicating individuals. In this chapter we review recent multi-brain studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate verbal and non-verbal communication. We summarize common findings with respect to spatial and temporal aspects of inter-brain coordination. We then critically discuss challenges arising from studying dialogue in ecologically valid, yet experimentally controlled neuroscientific settings. We conclude by providing an outlook of how technical and methodological advances may enable future multibrain studies to better address these challenges. Introduction Dialogue is a joint activity. Like other types of social interaction it requires coordination between two (or more) people. Being in dialogue is therefore not only an individual process: Conversational partners create meaning together (e.g., Clark, 1992, 1996, 1997; Goodwin, 1981; Krauss, 1987; Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974; Schober & Brennan, 2003). In the ensuing process of interpersonal communication, conversational partners coordinate and shape each other's behavior and mental states (e.g., Clark, 1996; Tanenhaus & Brown-Schmidt, 2008; Schober & Brennan, 2003).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Neuroscience of Natural Language Use
Number of pages19
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date01.01.2015
ISBN (Print)9781107042018
ISBN (Electronic)9781107323667
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2015

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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