Core neural substrates of joint attention using hyperscanning functional MRI

[Speaker] Tanabe, Hiroki C:1
[Co-author] Yoshioka, Ayumi:1, Koike, Takahiko:2, Okazaki, Shuntaro:2, Sadato, Norihiro:2
1:Nagoya University (Japan), 2:National Institute for Physiological Sciences (Japan)

Joint attention (JA) is an ability to coordinate attention between interactive two persons regarding objects or events, and has a key function in the early human development. To elucidate core neural substrates of JA, we conducted the experiments using different cues (gaze vs. oral) and domains of attention (spatial vs. feature) employing a hyperscanning functional MRI. To realize the reciprocal face-to-face interaction, the two MRI scanners (Siemens Verio 3T) were combined with online video cameras and voice exchange system. Thirty-eight (19 pairs) and 44 volunteers (22 pairs) were participated in the functional MRI experiment, respectively. The subjects performed eye gaze-cued and oral-cued JA tasks in the first experiment, while they did oral-cued spatial-based and feature-based JA tasks in the second experiment. The results showed that the inferior frontal gyrus and the anterior insula are the core portion of JA, and seem to play a crucial role in the JA paradigm.
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