Georgescu, Alexandra Livia (2013). Investigating the Dynamics of Nonverbal Communication: Evidence from Neuroimaging in High-Functioning Autism and Typical Development. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Being able to accurately decode nonverbal behaviors is essential for human communication. However, meaningful information is not only conveyed by static cues, which have already been extensively investigated in the past, but also by subtle movement dynamics. Investigating such subtle movement dynamics opens up new avenues for the investigation of social cognition in healthy and psychopathological contexts. Thus, this thesis investigated the correlates of perceiving and processing dynamic nonverbal social cues in the human brain using fMRI along with behavioral methods. First, we demonstrate the utility and validity of several digital simulation paradigms for nonverbal behavior research in a neuroimaging context. Further, we show for the first time that the observation of nonverbal communicative interactions is modulated by different spatiotemporal factors of perceived movement and that this is associated with both the AON and the SNN. In addition, we contribute to an ongoing debate by showing that in the context of the observation of complex human interactions, there is no biological bias of the AON. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time the domain-specificity of the two neural networks AON and SNN in the context of observing complex human interactions. Finally, we demonstrate that HFA is associated with deficits in social processing more so than social perception, but that social perception may rely on other cognitive strategies compared to typically developing individuals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Georgescu, Alexandra Liviaalexandra.georgescu@uk-koeln.deUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-54822
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
fMRI, high-functioning autism, virtual characters, nonverbal behavior, kinesics, eye gaze, animacy, social interactionEnglish
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Language: English
Date: 11 November 2013
Date of oral exam: 19 December 2013
NameAcademic Title
Bente, GaryProf. Dr.
Vogeley, KaiProf. Dr. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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