Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Is eye contact the key to the social brain?

Atsushi Senjua1 and Mark H. Johnsona1

a1 Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, University of London, London WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom.


Eye contact plays a critical role in many aspects of face processing, including the processing of smiles. We propose that this is achieved by a subcortical route, which is activated by eye contact and modulates the cortical areas involve in social cognition, including the processing of facial expression. This mechanism could be impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

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