Differential contribution of between and within-brain coupling to movement synchronization

Inbar Z. Marton-Alper, Andrey Markus, Michael Nevat, Rotem Bennet, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fundamental characteristic of the human brain that supports behavior is its capacity to create connections between brain regions. A promising approach holds that during social behavior, brain regions not only create connections with other brain regions within a brain, but also coordinate their activity with other brain regions of an interaction partner. Here we ask whether between-brain and within-brain coupling contribute differentially to movement synchronization. We focused on coupling between the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), a brain region associated with the observation-execution system, and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), a region associated with error-monitoring and prediction. Participants, randomly divided into dyads, were simultaneously scanned with functional near infra-red spectroscopy (fNIRS) while performing an open-ended 3D hand movement task consisting of three conditions: back-to-back movement, free movement, or intentional synchronization. Results show that behavioral synchrony was higher in the intentional synchrony compared with the back-to-back and free movement conditions. Between-brain coupling in the IFG and dmPFC was evident in the free movement and intentional synchrony conditions but not in the back-to-back condition. Importantly, between-brain coupling was found to positively predict intentional synchrony, while within-brain coupling was found to predict synchronization during free movement. These results indicate that during intentional synchronization, brain organization changes such that between-brain networks, but not within-brain connections, contribute to successful communication, pointing to shift from a within-brain feedback loop to a two-brains feedback loop.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Completion of the manuscript was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 959/18).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • hyperscanning
  • interbrain coupling
  • movement synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential contribution of between and within-brain coupling to movement synchronization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this