Great minds think alike, so goes the saying. Greatness notwithstanding, a study in PNAS finds that the minds of friends do appear to share patterns of activity. “A lot of us have the intuition that our friends are kind of similar to us,” says senior author Carolyn Parkinson, a social neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. The new work suggests that there’s some neurological basis behind that suspicion.
Parkinson and colleagues focused on a rural village in South Korea. Co-corresponding author Yoosik Youm, a sociologist at Yonsei University in Seoul, had been following the villagers as part of a larger project studying the social lives and health of aging individuals. He was intrigued by Parkinson’s 2018 report that the brain activity of graduate students viewing video clips was more similar between friends than between more distantly linked peers in the same training program.