What makes new acquaintances or employees ‘click’ with each other? What does it mean to have ‘merged minds’ with a close partner or a coworker?

My research investigates the experience of exchanging knowing glances, finishing each other’s sentences, and thinking in synchrony. Specifically, I examine Generalized Shared Reality (SR-G): the perception of sharing inner states (e.g., thoughts, feelings, beliefs) with an interaction partner about the world. I have developed a self-report measure of SR-G and behavioral coding scheme for use between new acquaintances or close partners.

My work has shown that SR-G contributes to the experience of clicking and closeness between strangers, and the experience of having “merged minds” between romantic partners. SR-G also shapes how people make sense of the world and feel certain their perceptions and trusting one’s interaction partner as a source of truth. You can read a short conceptual piece on these ideas here. This work was recently covered by the BBC.

In my current work, I examine the role of SR-G in improving organizational outcomes, like work meaningfulness, organizational commitment, and job performance. I also investigate the role of SR-G in provoking neural and behavioral synchrony in interpersonal interactions.