Defecting or not defecting: How to "read" human behavior during cooperative games by EEG measurements

Fabrizio De Vico Fallani, Vincenzo Nicosia, Roberta Sinatra, Laura Astolfi, Febo Cincotti, Donatella Mattia, Christopher Wilke, Alex Doud, Vito Latora, Bin He, Fabio Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the neural mechanisms responsible for human social interactions is difficult, since the brain activities of two or more individuals have to be examined simultaneously and correlated with the observed social patterns. We introduce the concept of hyper-brain network, a connectivity pattern representing at once the information flow among the cortical regions of a single brain as well as the relations among the areas of two distinct brains. Graph analysis of hyper-brain networks constructed from the EEG scanning of 26 couples of individuals playing the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma reveals the possibility to predict non-cooperative interactions during the decision-making phase. The hyper-brain networks of twodefector couples have significantly less inter-brain links and overall higher modularity-i.e., the tendency to form two separate subgraphs-than couples playing cooperative or tit-for-tat strategies. The decision to defect can be "read" in advance by evaluating the changes of connectivity pattern in the hyper-brain network.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14187
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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