SATO Wataru Laboratory

Structural neural substrates of reading the mind in the eyes

(Sato, Kochiyama, Uono, Sawada, Kubota, Yoshimura, & Toichi: Front Hum Neurosci)

The ability to read the minds of others in their eyes plays an important role in human adaptation to social environments.
Behavioral studies have resulted in the development of a test to measure this ability (Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, revised version; Eyes Test), and have demonstrated that this ability is consistent over time.
Although functional neuroimaging studies revealed brain activation while performing the Eyes Test, the structural neural substrates supporting consistent performance on the Eyes Test remain unclear.

In this study we assessed the Eyes Test and analyzed structural magnetic resonance images using voxel-based morphometry in healthy participants.

Test performance was positively associated with the gray matter volumes of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal lobule (temporoparietal junction), and precuneus in the left hemisphere.

These results suggest that the fronto-temporoparietal network structures support the consistent ability to read the mind in the eyes.

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