Online lecture 6 – Flexible brains in social contexts

Lecturer: Suzanne Dikker
Fields: neuroscience, social psychology



When we feel like we’re ‘on the same wavelength’ with another person, are our brainwaves literally ‘in sync’? Methodological innovations now make it possible to study the human brain during naturalistic social events. We will discuss examples from both within and outside the laboratory to explore how our brains and bodies adapt to others and to our environment during dynamic face-to-face social interactions, and how such flexibility may help facilitate successful communication and increase social connectedness.


  • Hoehl, S., Fairhurst, M., & Schirmer, A. (2021). Interactional synchrony: signals, mechanisms and benefits. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 16(1-2), 5-18.
  • Hasson, U., Ghazanfar, A. A., Galantucci, B., Garrod, S., & Keysers, C. (2012). Brain-to-brain coupling: a mechanism for creating and sharing a social world. Trends in cognitive sciences, 16(2), 114-121.
  • Koole, S. L., & Tschacher, W. (2016). Synchrony in psychotherapy: A review and an integrative framework for the therapeutic alliance. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 862.
  • Dikker, S., Wan, L., Davidesco, I., Kaggen, L., Oostrik, M., McClintock, J., Rowland, J., Michalareas, G., Van Bavel, J.J., Ding, M. and Poeppel, D., 2017. Brain-to-brain synchrony tracks real-world dynamic group interactions in the classroom. Current biology, 27(9), 375-1380.


Dr. Suzanne Dikker

Suzanne Dikker’s work merges cognitive neuroscience, performance art and education. She uses a ‘crowdsourcing’ neuroscience approach to bring human brain and behavior research out of the lab, into real-world, everyday situations, with the goal to characterize the brain basis of dynamic human social communication. As a senior research scientist at the Max Planck — NYU Center for Language, Music and Emotion (CLaME), affiliate research scientist at the Department of Clinical Psychology at VU Amsterdam, and member of the art/science collective OOSTRIK + DIKKER, Suzanne leads various research projects, including MindHive, a citizen science platform that supports community-based initiatives and student-teacher-scientist partnerships for human brain and behavior research.

Affiliation: NYU-Max Planck Center for Language, Music and Emotion