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Movie sparks group brain responses

8:56pm, March 16, 2004

A crowd of moviegoers might each develop a unique opinion about the film they're all watching, but audience members exhibit a surprising amount of synchronized brain activity, a new study finds.

Brains "tick collectively" as a group of people watches an event such as a movie, propose Uri Hasson of New York University and his coworkers.

The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track locations of blood-flow increases in the brains of five volunteers as they watched a 30-minute segment of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood. Scientists use blood flow as a reflection of brain activity.

At any point during the movie, an average of 30 percent of the localized blood-flow increases in a given volunteer's brain corresponded to those of any other volunteer, the researchers report in the March 12 Science.

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