This article is part of the Research Topic Towards a neuroscience of social interaction

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 29 November 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00312

Intra- and interbrain synchronization and network properties when playing guitar in duets

  • Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

To further test and explore the hypothesis that synchronous oscillatory brain activity supports interpersonally coordinated behavior during dyadic music performance, we simultaneously recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) from the brains of each of 12 guitar duets repeatedly playing a modified Rondo in two voices by C.G. Scheidler. Indicators of phase locking and of within-brain and between-brain phase coherence were obtained from complex time-frequency signals based on the Gabor transform. Analyses were restricted to the delta (1–4 Hz) and theta (4–8 Hz) frequency bands. We found that phase locking as well as within-brain and between-brain phase-coherence connection strengths were enhanced at frontal and central electrodes during periods that put particularly high demands on musical coordination. Phase locking was modulated in relation to the experimentally assigned musical roles of leader and follower, corroborating the functional significance of synchronous oscillations in dyadic music performance. Graph theory analyses revealed within-brain and hyperbrain networks with small-worldness properties that were enhanced during musical coordination periods, and community structures encompassing electrodes from both brains (hyperbrain modules). We conclude that brain mechanisms indexed by phase locking, phase coherence, and structural properties of within-brain and hyperbrain networks support interpersonal action coordination (IAC).

Keywords: functional connectivity, graph theory, EEG hyperscanning, joint action, cortical phase synchronization, social interaction, music

Citation: Sänger J, Müller V and Lindenberger U (2012) Intra- and interbrain synchronization and network properties when playing guitar in duets. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 6:312. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00312

Received: 15 March 2012; Paper pending published: 06 July 2012;
Accepted: 31 October 2012; Published online: 29 November 2012.

Edited by:

Kai Vogeley, University Hospital Cologne, Germany

Reviewed by:

Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory, University of Haifa, Israel
Henrik Walter, Charite Universitätsmedizin, Germany

Copyright © 2012 Sänger, Müller and Lindenberger. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Johanna Sänger, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany. e-mail: saenger@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

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