Natural killer T (NKT) cells are innate-like T cells that recognize specific microbial antigens and also display autoreactivity to self-antigens. The nature of NKT-cell autoreactive activation remains poorly understood. We show here that the mitogenactivated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is operative during human NKT-cell autoreactive activation, but calcium signaling is severely impaired. This results in a response that is biased toward granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) secretion because this cytokine requires extracellular signalregulated kinase (ERK) signaling but is not highly calcium dependent, whereas interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-2 production are minimal. Autoreactive activation was associated with reduced migration velocity but did not induce arrest; thus, NKT cells retained the ability to survey antigen presenting cells (APCs). IL-12 and IL-18 stimulated autoreactively activated NKT cells to secrete IFN-γ, and this was mediated by Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT)-dependent signaling without induction of calcium flux. This pathway did not require concurrent contact with CD1d + APCs but was strictly dependent on preceding autoreactive stimulation that induced ERK activation. In contrast, NKT-cell responses to the glycolipid antigen α-galactosyl ceramide (α-GalCer) were dampened by prior autoreactive activation. These results show that NKT-cell autoreactivity induces restricted cytokine secretion and leads to altered basal activation that potentiates innate responsiveness to costimulatory cytokines while modulating sensitivity to foreign antigens.