How eyes and touch turn I into we

Obviously hearing plays a crucial role in connecting people. But its easy to forget that contact — whether mediated through eyes or skin — plays a vital role in synchronizing people’s thoughts and actions.

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Physiological Science found that eye contact allowed two individuals synchronize both physical gestures and brain activity, in effect functioning as a singular connected system:

the researchers detected synchronization of eye-blinks, together with enhanced inter-brain synchronization in the IFG, in the pairs when eye contact was established. Compared with findings from previous studies, these outcomes show that synchronization of eye-blinks is not attributable to a common activity, but rather to mutual gaze. This indicates that mutual eye contact might be a crucial component for human face-to-face social interactions, given its potential to bind two individuals into a singular connected system.

More on eye contact here.

And here’s some interesting evidence that touching is key to synchronization for NBA players and teams. 

The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats…. To correct for the possibility that the better teams touch more often simply because they are winning, the researchers rated performance based not on points or victories but on a sophisticated measure of how efficiently players and teams managed the ball — their ratio of assists to giveaways, for example. And even after the high expectations surrounding the more talented teams were taken into account, the correlation persisted. Players who made contact with teammates most consistently and longest tended to rate highest on measures of performance, and the teams with those players seemed to get the most out of their talent.