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The neural basis of empathetic systems

開催日 2014/9/13
時間 17:10 - 19:10
会場 Room B(501)
Chairperson(s) 菊水 健史 / Takefumi Kikusui (麻布大学獣医学部 / School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, Japan)

Make Contact: The role of eye contact in spontaneous social cognition and its impairment in individuals with autism spectrum disorder

  • S3-B-3-4
  • Atsushi Senju:1 
  • 1:Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK 

Eye contact is one of the key social behaviour which signals the initiation of social interaction. Atypical mutual gaze behaviour is among the most significant clinical manifestation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In typical development, perceived eye contact is known to modulate concurrent and/or immediately following social information processing, the phenomenon which is called the 'eye contact effect'. In the first part of the presentation, I will highlight some of the recent studies which suggest that the model the this eye contact effect is supported by subcortical pathway, which is hypothesized to consist of superior colliculus, pulvinar and amygdala, and its interaction with cortical structures related to the processing of social information. In the second part of the talk, I will present how individuals with ASD perceives eye contact, and discuss the possible neural mechanisms underlying the manifestation of atypical eye contact effect in individuals with ASD. I will also present a few studies demonstrating that the atypical eye gaze to others could mediate part of the atypical social cognition in individuals with ASD, such as atypical attentional engagement toward others' faces and atypical empathetic response such as contagious yawning.

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