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How watching movies synchronises viewers' brains

Posted on Apr 08 2014 | IANS

London, April 8 : Do you know that while watching a movie, your brain reacts to it immediately in a way similar to other people's brains?

Researchers have succeeded in developing a method fast enough to observe immediate changes in the function of the brain even when watching a movie.

By employing movies, it was possible to investigate the function of the human brain in experimental conditions that are close to natural.

"Viewing a movie creates multilevel changes in the brain function. Despite the complexity of the stimulus, the elicited brain activity patterns show remarkable similarities across different people - even at the time scale of fractions of seconds," explained Kaisu Lankinen from Aalto University in Finland.

The analysis revealed important similarities between brain signals of different people during movie viewing.

These similar kinds or synchronised signals were found in brain areas that are connected with the early-stage processing of visual stimuli, detection of movement and persons, motor coordination and cognitive functions.

"The results imply that the contents of the movie affected certain brain functions of the subjects in a similar manner," Lankinen added.

So far, studies in this field have mainly been based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

However, given the superior temporal resolution, within milliseconds, magnetoencephalography (MEG) is able to provide more complete picture of the fast brain processes.

In the novel analysis, brain imaging was combined with machine-learning methodology, with which signals of a similar form were mined from the brain data.

The research was published in the NeuroImage journal.

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