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J Neurosci. 2003 Jun 15;23(12):5258-63.

"Hey John": signals conveying communicative intention toward the self activate brain regions associated with "mentalizing," regardless of modality.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom.


Successful communication between two people depends first on the recognition of the intention to communicate. Such intentions may be conveyed by signals directed at the self, such as calling a person's name or making eye contact. In this study we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the perception of these two signals, which differ in modality and sensory channel, activate common brain regions: the paracingulate cortex and temporal poles bilaterally. These regions are part of a network that has been consistently activated when people are asked to think about the mental states of others. Activation of this network is independent of arousal as measured by changes in pupil diameter.

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