Neural dynamics underlying emotional transmissions between individuals

Yulia Golland*, Nava Levit-Binnun, Talma Hendler, Yulia Lerner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emotional experiences are frequently shaped by the emotional responses of co-present others. Research has shown that people constantly monitor and adapt to the incoming social-emotional signals, even without face-to-face interaction. And yet, the neural processes underlying such emotional transmissions have not been directly studied. Here, we investigated how the human brain processes emotional cues which arrive from another, co-attending individual. We presented continuous emotional feedback to participants who viewed a movie in the scanner. Participants in the social group (but not in the control group) believed that the feedback was coming from another person who was co-viewing the same movie. We found that social-emotional feedback significantly affected the neural dynamics both in the core affect and in the medial prefrontal regions. Specifically, the response time-courses in those regions exhibited increased similarity across recipients and increased neural alignment with the timeline of the feedback in the social compared with control group. Taken in conjunction with previous research, this study suggests that emotional cues from others shape the neural dynamics across the whole neural continuum of emotional processing in the brain. Moreover, it demonstrates that interpersonal neural alignment can serve as a neural mechanism through which affective information is conveyed between individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1260
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Emotional transmissions
  • Inter-subject correlation
  • Neural alignment
  • Neural dynamics


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