Neural and behavioral signature of human social perception.

Saitovitch A, Lemaitre H, Rechtman E, Vinçon-Leite A, Calmon R, Grévent D, Dangouloff-Ros V, Brunelle F, Boddaert N, Zilbovicius M.

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Sci Rep

2019 Jun 25

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Social behavior is extremely variable among individuals, and the neural basis of this variability is still poorly understood. In this study, we aimed to investigate the neural basis of interindividual variability in the first step of social behavior, that is, social perception. For that purpose, we first used eye-tracking to measure social perception during the passive visualization of socially relevant movie clips. Second, we correlated eye-tracking data with measures of rest cerebral blood flow (CBF) obtained using arterial spin-labeling (ASL) MRI, an index of local rest brain function. The results showed a large interindividual variability in the number of fixations to the eyes of characters during passive visualization of movie clips displaying social interactions. Moreover, individual patterns remained stable across time, suggesting an individual signature of social behavior. Whole-brain analyses showed significant positive correlation between the number of fixations to the eyes and rest CBF: individuals who looked more to the eyes were those with higher rest CBF levels within the right superior temporal regions. Our results indicate the existence of a neural and behavioral signature associated with the interindividual variability in social perception.

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