The Neuroscience of Taking Turns in a Conversation

The Neuroscience of Taking Turns in a Conversation

A fundamental feature of vocal communication is taking turns: when one person says something, the other person listens and then responds. How do the brains of two individuals synchronize their activity patterns for rapid turn-taking during vocal communication? With inhibition blocked, hearing the partner’s syllables produced an increase in the number of action potentials in HVC. HVC activity then rebounds, and HVC is very active, producing the male syllable, which in turn is perceived by the female and inhibits her brain. This disrupts our speech pattern and makes taking turns more difficult.

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