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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 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)
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)
Direct gaze is a salient nonverbal signal for social interest and the intention to communicate. In particular, the duration of another's direct gaze can modulate our perception of the social meaning of gaze cues. However, both poor eye contact and deficits in social cognitive processing of gaze are specific diagnostic features of autism. Therefore,(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)
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)
Despite the fact that nonverbal dyadic social interactions are abundant in the environment, the neural mechanisms underlying their processing are not yet fully understood. Research in the field of social neuroscience has suggested that two neural networks appear to be involved in social understanding: (1) the action observation network (AON) and (2) the(More)