Social Interaction

The investigation of the neural bases of ‘interacting minds’ (Frith & Frith, 1999) has proved to be more difficult and could be seen to constitute the ‘dark matter’ (Schilbach et al. 2013) or ‘two-brain challenge’ (Konvalinka & Roepstorff, 2012) of the field. It has been shown that one particular limitation of current experimental paradigms is the examination of social phenomena in social isolation. This can be illustrated with the example of social emotions such as embarrassment or pride which require the representation of oneself in relation to others and primarily emerge through reciprocal interaction between two or more individuals. Recent interdisciplinary advances have thus developed procedures to overcome the limitations of the “observer perspective”.

In our lab we elaborate new perspectives and future directions in the social neuroscience. We combine essential methodological, technical and conceptual ideas to investigate the behavioral and neural correlates of direct social interaction. We thereby also make use of staged scenarios to induce genuine emotions that dynamically evolve in the course of social interactions. In a more technical approach we are interested in how humans behave and react to robotic and non-human agents. 

Publications on this topic

Damm O, Malchus K, Jaecks P, Krach S, Paulus F, Naber M, Jansen A, Kamp-Becker I, Einhaeuser-Treyer W, Stenneken P, Wrede B (2013): Different gaze behavior in human-robot interaction in Asperger’s syndrome: An eye-tracking study. RO-MAN, 2013 IEEE. 368–369.

Krach S, Müller-Pinzler L, Westermann S, Paulus FM (2013): Advancing the neuroscience of social emotions with social immersion. Behav Brain Sci. 36:427–428.