Impairments of social interaction and communication are an important if not essential component of many psychiatric disorders. In the context of psychopathology, one tends to think predominantly of autism spectrum disorders. However, many psychopathologies are to some degree characterized by alterations or impairments of interpersonal functioning in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), for instance schizophrenia [even auditory hallucinations have been linked to social cognition; (Bell, 2013)], or personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (Wright et al., 2013). For different pathologies, the difficulties in social interaction may originate in different impairments; for instance in schizophrenia they may be related to a deficit in context processing (Cohen et al., 1999). Still, irrespective of the specific place that social interaction impairments take within different etiologies, it is clear that the systematic study of interaction patterns could teach us a lot about how they manifest themselves in patients, how healthy people with whom the patients interact engage with these patterns, and how they relate to underlying neurobiology. Here, we argue why this should and how this could be accomplished.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
- eye tracking
- social interaction
- anthropometric avatars