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<p>A big part of human social interaction is the process of sharing emotional states with others, which helps us understand their intentions and guides our responses to them. There is a growing body of research that shows how networks of brain areas synchronize across participants when they are shown the same emotional stimuli (e.g. movie scenes), which suggests more convergent information processing and understanding of those stimuli. Now, we hope to ask: what modulates that convergent understanding? This study focuses on identifying a potential increase in neural synchrony among participants who share a common identity with each other. Participants’ neural activity was measured with functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) while they watched videos of a person recounting various experiences. This stimuli closely mimics the emotional information we would receive during natural social interaction. We hypothesize that there would be increased synchronization in neural activity among listeners if they share a common identity. By analyzing the collected data, we hope to demonstrate the experience of maintaining a shared identity in relation to others facilitates more convergent interpersonal understanding. </p>
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