Mind & Brain See Inside Subtle Multisensory Clues Reveal Other People's Emotions Good social skills depend on picking up on other people's moods--a feat the brain performs by combining numerous sensory clues By Janina Seubert and Christina Regenbogen Hugh Kretschmer/Getty Images When someone approaches you to ask, “What’s wrong?” you know that you are broadcasting unhappiness, whether or not you said a word. Perhaps it was a grimace or your sluggish gait that conveyed the message. You cannot help but communicate your mood to colleagues, neighbors and fellow commuters through numerous subtle cues. Sensing the emotional states of others is an important part of social interaction. If you could not do this well, you might end up incongruously slapping the back of a person who is teary or stopping an anxious co-worker on his way to a meeting. People with autism and schizophrenia find it virtually impossible to detect other people’s feelings and as a result have extreme difficulty relating to others. This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2015 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.