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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 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)
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)
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)
A new approach for the use of computer animation in experimental nonverbal research is introduced. The method was evaluated in a pilot study comparing video recordings of movement in dyadic interactions with computer animations based on transcripts of the behavior, to determine whether similar impression effects could be obtained. At the core of our(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)
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)
In social interaction, gaze behavior provides important signals that have a significant impact on our perception of others. Previous investigations, however, have relied on paradigms in which participants are passive observers of other persons' gazes and do not adjust their gaze behavior as is the case in real-life social encounters. We used an interactive(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)