Ishihara, T., Hashimoto, S., Tamba, N., Hyodo, K., Matsuda, T., & Takagishi, H.（高岸治人） (2024). The links between physical activity and prosocial behavior: an fNIRS hyperscanning study. 身体活動と向社会的行動の関連：fNIRSハイパースキャンニング研究 Cerebral Cortex, bhad509. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhad509
The prevalence of physically inactive lifestyles in modern society raises concerns about the potential association with poor brain health, particularly in the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is crucial for human prosocial behavior. Here, we explored the relationship between physical activity and prosocial behavior, focusing on potential neural markers, including intra-brain functional connectivity and inter-brain synchrony in the lateral prefrontal cortex. Forty participants, each paired with a stranger, completed two experimental conditions in a randomized order: (i) face-to-face and (ii) face stimulus (eye-to-eye contact with a face stimulus of a fictitious person displayed on the screen). Following each condition, participants played economic games with either their partner or an assumed person displayed on the screen. Neural activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex was recorded by functional near-infrared spectroscopy hyperscanning. Sparse multiset canonical correlation analysis showed that a physically inactive lifestyle was covaried with poorer reciprocity, greater trust, shorter decision-making time, and weaker intra-brain connectivity in the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and poorer inter-brain synchrony in the ventral lateral prefrontal cortex. These associations were observed exclusively in the face-to-face condition. Our findings suggest that a physically inactive lifestyle may alter human prosocial behavior by impairing adaptable prosocial decision-making in response to social factors through altered intra-brain functional connectivity and inter-brain synchrony.