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The ability and motivation to share attention is a unique aspect of human cognition. Despite its significance, the neural basis remains elusive. To investigate the neural correlates of joint attention, we developed a novel, interactive research paradigm in which participants' gaze behavior--as measured by an eye tracking device--was used to contingently(More)
In spite of the remarkable progress made in the burgeoning field of social neuroscience, the neural mechanisms that underlie social encounters are only beginning to be studied and could - paradoxically - be seen as representing the "dark matter" of social neuroscience. Recent conceptual and empirical developments consistently indicate the need for(More)
The interpretation of interpersonal gaze behavior requires the use of complex cognitive processes and guides social interactions. Among a variety of different gaze characteristics, gaze direction and gaze duration modulate crucially the meaning of the "social gaze". Nevertheless, prior neuroimaging studies disregarded the relevance of gaze duration by(More)
The field of social neuroscience has made remarkable progress in elucidating the neural mechanisms of social cognition. More recently, the need for new experimental approaches has been highlighted that allow studying social encounters in a truly interactive manner by establishing 'online' reciprocity in social interaction. In this article, we present a(More)
We investigated the influence of control over a social stimulus on the ability to detect direct gaze in high-functioning autism (HFA). In a pilot study, 19 participants with and 19 without HFA were compared on a gaze detection and a gaze setting task. Participants with HFA were less accurate in detecting direct gaze in the detection task, but did not differ(More)
Previous research used animated geometric figures to investigate social cognitive processes involved in ascribing mental states to others (e.g. mentalizing). The relationship between animacy perception and brain areas commonly involved in social cognition, as well as the influence of particular motion patterns on animacy experience, however, remains to be(More)
There is ample evidence that human primates strive for social contact and experience interactions with conspecifics as intrinsically rewarding. Focusing on gaze behavior as a crucial means of human interaction, this study employed a unique combination of neuroimaging, eye-tracking, and computer-animated virtual agents to assess the neural mechanisms(More)
Graphical displays of simple moving geometrical figures have been repeatedly used to study the attribution of animacy in human observers. Yet little is known about the relevant movement characteristics responsible for this experience. The present study introduces a novel parametric research paradigm, which allows for the experimental control of specific(More)