12 September 2011

Eye Contact Promotes Imitation

Scientists from the University of Nottingham's School of Psychology conducted a study by using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI, imaging that measures blood flow to functioning areas of the brain) to scan the brains of volunteers while they viewed videos of an actress making casual eye contact while opening or closing her hand, and the participants were told her mimic her behaviour.
Essentially this study shows that eye contact promotes imitation by exercising the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for planning cognitive behaviours, expressing personality, decision making, and responding to social situations.

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