The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Inhibiting responses under the watch of a recently synchronized peer increases self-monitoring: evidence from functional near-infrared spectroscopy"

Posted on 2024-02-08 - 15:04
Developing motor synchrony with a peer (through interventions such as the mirror game) can yield collaborative, cognitive and social benefits. However, it is also well established that observation by an audience can improve cognition. The combined and relative advantages offered by motor synchronization and audience effects are not yet understood. It is important to address this gap to determine the extent to which synchronizing activities might interact with the positive effects of an audience. In this preregistered study, we investigate the extent to which response inhibition may be improved when observed by a peer after motor synchronization with this peer. We compare behavioural and cortical (functional near-infrared spectroscopy; fNIRS) measures of inhibition between synchronized and non-synchronized dyads and find that the presence of a synchronized peer-audience introduces a speed-accuracy trade-off, consisting of slower reaction times and improved accuracy. This co-occurs with cortical activation in bilateral inferior-frontal and middle prefrontal cortices, which are implicated in monitoring and maintenance of social alignment. Our findings have implications for carers or support people, who may benefit from synchronizing activities for rehabilitating inhibition and social skills in clinical settings.


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