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  Leader emergence through interpersonal neural synchronization

Jiang, J., Chen, C., Dai, B., Shi, G., Liu, L., & Lu, C. (2015). Leader emergence through interpersonal neural synchronization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(14), 4274-4279. doi:10.1073/pnas.1422930112.

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Jiang, Jing1, 2, 3, 4, Author           
Chen, Chuansheng5, Author
Dai, Bohan1, 2, 6, 7, Author
Shi, Guang1, 2, Author
Liu, Li1, 2, Author
Lu, Chunming1, 2, Author
1State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, China, ou_persistent22              
2Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing Normal University, China, ou_persistent22              
3Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634556              
5Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
6Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
7International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Leader emergence; Neural synchronization; Babble hypothesis; Quality of communication; Communication skill
 Abstract: The neural mechanism of leader emergence is not well understood. This study investigated (i) whether interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) plays an important role in leader emergence, and (ii) whether INS and leader emergence are associated with the frequency or the quality of communications. Eleven three-member groups were asked to perform a leaderless group discussion (LGD) task, and their brain activities were recorded via functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Video recordings of the discussions were coded for leadership and communication. Results showed that the INS for the leader–follower (LF) pairs was higher than that for the follower–follower (FF) pairs in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), an area important for social mentalizing. Although communication frequency was higher for the LF pairs than for the FF pairs, the frequency of leader-initiated and follower-initiated communication did not differ significantly. Moreover, INS for the LF pairs was significantly higher during leader-initiated communication than during follower-initiated communications. In addition, INS for the LF pairs during leader-initiated communication was significantly correlated with the leaders’ communication skills and competence, but not their communication frequency. Finally, leadership could be successfully predicted based on INS as well as communication frequency early during the LGD (before half a minute into the task). In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2014-12-012015-03-022015-03-232015-04-07
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1422930112
PMID: 25831535
PMC: PMC4394311
Other: Epub 2015
 Degree: -



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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 112 (14) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 4274 - 4279 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230