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Team flow is a unique brain state associated with enhanced information integration and neural synchrony

Shehata, Mohammad and Cheng, Miao and Leung, Angus and Tsuchiya, Naotsugu and Wu, Daw-An and Tseng, Chia-huei and Nakauchi, Shigeki and Shimojo, Shinsuke (2020) Team flow is a unique brain state associated with enhanced information integration and neural synchrony. . (Unpublished)

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Team flow occurs when a group of people reaches high task engagement while sharing a common goal as in sports teams and music bands. While team flow is a superior enjoyable experience to individuals experiencing flow or regular socialization, the neural basis for such superiority is still unclear. Here, we addressed this question utilizing a music rhythm task and electroencephalogram hyper-scanning. Experimental manipulations held the motor task constant while disrupted the hedonic musical correspondence to blocking flow or occluded the partner’s body and task feedback to block social interaction. The manipulations’ effectiveness was confirmed using psychometric ratings and an objective measure for the depth of flow experience through the inhibition of the auditory-evoked potential to a task-irrelevant stimulus. Spectral power analysis revealed higher beta/gamma power specific to team flow at the left temporal cortex. Causal interaction analysis revealed that the left temporal cortex receives information from areas encoding individual flow or socialization. The left temporal cortex was also significantly involved in integrated information at both the intra- and inter-brains levels. Moreover, team flow resulted in enhanced global inter-brain integrated information and neural synchrony. Thus, our report presents neural evidence that team flow results in a distinct brain state and suggests a neurocognitive mechanism by which the brain creates this unique experience.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemData/Code
Shehata, Mohammad0000-0003-1710-3009
Cheng, Miao0000-0003-0611-6170
Leung, Angus0000-0003-0926-5534
Tsuchiya, Naotsugu0000-0003-4216-8701
Wu, Daw-An0000-0003-4296-3369
Tseng, Chia-huei0000-0002-6385-5669
Nakauchi, Shigeki0000-0002-4954-6915
Shimojo, Shinsuke0000-0002-1290-5232
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. We thank Dr. Chalres Yokoyama (University of Tokyo, Japan), Dr. Simone Shamay-Tsoory (University of Haifa, Israel), Dr. Katsumi Watanabe (Waseda University, Japan), and Dr. Makio Kashino (NTT communications, Japan) for their comprehensive comments on the manuscript. We thank Naomi Shroff-Mehta (Scripps College, CA), Salma Elnagar (University of Cambridge, UK), and Shota Yasunaga (Pitzer College, CA) for help with data collection and analysis. We thank Wenqi Yan (Monash University, Australia) for preliminary data analysis with integrated information. This work is supported by the program for promoting the enhancement of research universities funded to Toyohashi University of Technology to M.S. and S.N.; and the Japan Science and Technology (JST)-CREST Grant Number JPMJCR14E4 to S.S. M.C. is supported by the University of Hong Kong postgraduate scholarship program. C.T. is supported by the University of Hong Kong General Research Fund. N.T. is supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Projects (DP180104128 and DP180100396). A.L. is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. Author Contributions: M.S., M.C., and S.S. designed the experiments. M.S., M.C., and D.W. performed the experiments. M.S., M.C., S.S., A.L. and N.T. analyzed the data. M.S., S.S., M.C., N.T., D.W., S.N., and C.T. wrote the manuscript. Data Availability: All data and analysis codes used in the preparation of this article are available at The authors have declared no competing interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Toyohashi University of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Japan Science and Technology AgencyJPMJCR14E4
University of Hong KongUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilDP180104128
Australian Research CouncilDP180100396
Department of Education, Skills and Employment (Australia) UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200626-103613193
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Team flow is a unique brain state associated with enhanced information integration and neural synchrony Mohammad Shehata, Miao Cheng, Angus Leung, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Daw-An Wu, Chia-huei Tseng, Shigeki Nakauchi, Shinsuke Shimojo bioRxiv 2020.06.17.157990; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104079
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Jun 2020 19:59
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:28

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