A team of neuroscientists conducted a classroom study involving a group of pupils wearing EEG headsets. What has it revealed? The synchronisation of those pupils’ brain waves shows how much they like the subject and how much they like each other. Suzanne Dikker, affiliated with Utrecht University and New York University, is part of the team. ‘How well our brainwaves sync up with those of another person appears to be a good predictor of how well we get along.’ Dikker is the lead author of the article in Current Biology which contains the results of the study.
The scientists used a new method to measure brain activity. Brain studies are typically conducted in a laboratory, usually involving one person, or no more than two simultaneously. This team carried out group measurements in a natural environment: a high school class. Over the course of one semester, the brain activity of a group of twelve pupils and their teacher was measured in eleven sessions. The activity was measured during biology classes during which the pupils wore EEG headsets.
The researchers compared the pupils’ EEG measurements and then examined the factors which might help to explain the synchronised brain activity. In addition to the EEG measurement, the pupils were given questionnaires asking them, among other things, to rate the different teaching styles and to describe their day-to-day concentration levels.