UCI News

Study reveals neural science behind great leaders

March 24, 2015

chen_2_0Great leaders are often great communicators. However, little is known about the neural basis of leader-follower communication. Chuansheng Chen (pictured), UCI Chancellor’s Professor of psychology & social behavior and education, is co-author of a new study exploring interpersonal neural synchronization between leaders and followers during social interactions. Chen and his colleagues found that INS was significantly higher between leaders and followers than between followers and followers, suggesting that leaders emerge by synchronizing their brain activity with that of followers. The quality of communication, rather than the frequency, makes a significant contribution to the increase of INS. Researchers found that high-quality communication tends to involve the ability to read social situations and alter one’s behavior to fit in and act appropriately. It’s likely that people with the ability to say the right things at the right time emerge as leaders. The study appears in the early online¬†edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.