People commonly use bluffing as a strategy to manipulate other people's beliefs about them for gain. Although bluffing is an important part of successful strategic thinking, the inter-brain mechanisms underlying bluffing remain unclear. Here, we employed a functional near-infrared spectroscopy hyperscanning technique to simultaneously record the brain activity in the right temporal-parietal junction in 32 pairs of participants when they played a bluffing game against each other or with computer opponents separately. We also manipulated the penalty for bluffing (high vs low). Under the condition of high relative to low penalty, results showed a higher bluffing rate and a higher calling rate in human-to-human as compared to human-to-computer pairing. At the neural level, high relative to low penalty condition increased the interpersonal brain synchronization (IBS) in the right angular gyrus (rAG) during human-to-human as compared to human-to-computer interaction. Importantly, bluffing relative to non-bluffing, under the high penalty and human-to-human condition, resulted in an increase in response time and enhanced IBS in the rAG. Participants who bluffed more frequently also elicited stronger IBS. Our findings support the view that regions associated with mentalizing become synchronized during bluffing games, especially under the high penalty and human-to-human condition.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- FNIRS hyperscanning