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Social in, social out: How the brain responds to social language with more social language.

  • Author(s): O'Donnell, Matthew Brook
  • Falk, Emily B
  • Lieberman, Matthew D
  • et al.
Abstract

Social connection is a fundamental human need. As such, people's brains are sensitized to social cues, such as those carried by language, and to promoting social communication. The neural mechanisms of certain key building blocks in this process, such as receptivity to and reproduction of social language, however, are not known. We combined quantitative linguistic analysis and neuroimaging to connect neural activity in brain regions used to simulate the mental states of others with exposure to, and re-transmission of, social language. Our results link findings on successful idea transmission from communication science, sociolinguistics and cognitive neuroscience to prospectively predict the degree of social language that participants utilize when re-transmitting ideas as a function of 1) initial language inputs and 2) neural activity during idea exposure.

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