Face-to-face spatial orientation fine-tunes the brain for neurocognitive processing in conversation
Drijvers, L., & Holler, J.
Face-to-face spatial orientation fine-tunes the brain for neurocognitive processing in conversation. iScience, 25
(11): 105413. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2022.105413.
We here demonstrate that face-to-face spatial orientation induces a special ‘social mode’ for neurocognitive processing during conversation, even in the absence of visibility. Participants conversed face-to-face, face-to-face but visually occluded, and back-to-back to tease apart effects caused by seeing visual communicative signals and by spatial orientation. Using dual-EEG, we found that 1) listeners’ brains engaged more strongly while conversing in face-to-face than back-to-back, irrespective of the visibility of communicative signals, 2) listeners attended to speech more strongly in a back-to-back compared to a face-to-face spatial orientation without visibility; visual signals further reduced the attention needed; 3) the brains of interlocutors were more in sync in a face-to-face compared to a back-to-back spatial orientation, even when they could not see each other; visual signals further enhanced this pattern. Communicating in face-to-face spatial orientation is thus sufficient to induce a special ‘social mode’ which fine-tunes the brain for neurocognitive processing in conversation.
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