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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 3104564, 9 pages
Research Article

Affective Synchrony and Autonomic Coupling during Cooperation: A Hyperscanning Study

1Research Unit in Affective and Social Neuroscience, Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy
2Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan, Milan, Italy
3Department of Philosophy, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Maria Elide Vanutelli; ti.ttacinu@illetunav.edileairam

Received 10 June 2017; Accepted 6 November 2017; Published 27 November 2017

Academic Editor: Margaret A. Niznikiewicz

Copyright © 2017 Maria Elide Vanutelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous research highlighted that during social interactions people shape each other’s emotional states by resonance mechanisms and synchronized autonomic patterns. Starting from the idea that joint actions create shared emotional experiences, in the present study a social bond was experimentally induced by making subjects cooperate with each other. Participants’ autonomic system activity (electrodermal: skin conductance level and response: SCL, SCR; cardiovascular indices: heart rate: HR) was continuously monitored during an attentional couple game. The cooperative motivation was induced by presenting feedback which reinforced the positive outcomes of the intersubjective exchange. 24 participants coupled in 12 dyads were recruited. Intrasubject analyses revealed higher HR in the first part of the task, connoted by increased cognitive demand and arousing social dynamic, while intersubject analysis showed increased synchrony in electrodermal activity after the feedback. Such results encourage the use of hyperscanning techniques to assess emotional coupling in ecological and real-time paradigms.