Interpersonal Synchrony: a Framework for Understanding Communication, Learning, and Creativity in Real Life

This virtual talk is a featured presentation of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) on Computational Methods for Understanding Music, Media, and Minds. The talk is free and open to all faculty, staff, students and community members.

Abstract: Communication is inherently social and requires an efficient exchange of complex cues between individuals. What are the behavioral and neural processes that allow listeners to understand, couple to, and learn from speakers in complex, everyday interactions? My research examines natural human communication from the perspectives of both the producer and the perceiver, using behavioral, computational, and dual-brain neuroimaging techniques in real-life environments. In this talk, I’ll describe several recent findings using neural (brain-to-brain) coupling as a measure of interpersonal alignment to predict communicative success and learning. I will also discuss ongoing work investigating coupling during creative and improvised interactions, such as conversation, joint storytelling, and music.

Bio: Elise is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She completed her B.A. at Williams College, her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and her postdoctoral training as a C. V. Starr Fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Her research focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms of human auditory perception and communication across the lifespan, including how musicians coordinate during performance, how musical training impacts the hierarchical organization of sounds in the brain, and how listeners compute statistical summary (or “gist”) representations of complex sounds.

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