Among different social cues from the environment, the eyes constitute a very salient source
for initiating social interaction or communication. Interestingly, previous work from our
(Prinsen et al., 2016) and other labs demonstrated that direct eye contact between two
individuals can readily evoke an increased propensity to 'mirror' other peoples' actions.
Particularly, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the investigators showed that
mirror-motor mapping at the level of the primary motor cortex (M1), also known as
"interpersonal motor resonance" (IMR), is significantly increased upon the observation of
actions accompanied by direct eye contact, compared to the observation of actions accompanied
by averted eye gaze.
With the present study, the investigators aim to investigate the role of eye contact on IMR
further, and in particular, explore whether administration of the 'prosocial' neuropeptide
oxytocin (OT) can influence eye-contact induced IMR. In general, OT is known to play an
important role in promoting prosocial behavior and the perception of socially-relevant
stimuli, such as eye gaze. To date however, the link between OT and IMR is less clear.