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Emotional group think


Researchers from Aalto University and Turku PET Centre have revealed how experiencing strong emotions synchronized brain activity among individual people.

We all know emotion is infectious. Anyone with children knows how, from one extreme to the other, they can affect your emotions. Emotional expression can be compared to seeing someone smile. It triggers a smile in the person who sees it. You don’t even have to know why they are smiling. These emotional synchronizations could actually be beneficial for social interactions. If everyone in a group is emotionally synchronized, they will experience a set of stimuli similarly. A group of researchers has figured out that strong emotions can literally synchronize different peoples’ brain activities.

The researchers measured the volunteers’ brain activity by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they were viewing pleasing, neutral and unpleasant short movies. The data revealed that strong, unpleasant emotions synchronized the frontal and midline regions of the brain’s emotional processing network. While viewing highly stimulating events, networks in the brain synchronized which were involved in attention, vision and sense of touch.

When people observe others’ emotional state, they actually become part of a somatosensory and neural framework. Doing so enables people to understand the intentions of others and allows them to reasonable anticipate certain actions. Adjunct Professor Lauri Nemmenmaa from Aalto University explained that this ability to automatically tune in to another emotional state enables social interaction and group processes. This has key implications for current neural models of human emotions and group behavior.

Source: MedicalNewsToday. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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