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Neuron. 2006 Mar 16;49(6):815-22.

Patterns of fMRI activity dissociate overlapping functional brain areas that respond to biological motion.

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School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2AS, United Kingdom.


Accurate perception of the actions and intentions of other people is essential for successful interactions in a social environment. Several cortical areas that support this process respond selectively in fMRI to static and dynamic displays of human bodies and faces. Here we apply pattern-analysis techniques to arrive at a new understanding of the neural response to biological motion. Functionally defined body-, face-, and motion-selective visual areas all responded significantly to "point-light" human motion. Strikingly, however, only body selectivity was correlated, on a voxel-by-voxel basis, with biological motion selectivity. We conclude that (1) biological motion, through the process of structure-from-motion, engages areas involved in the analysis of the static human form; (2) body-selective regions in posterior fusiform gyrus and posterior inferior temporal sulcus overlap with, but are distinct from, face- and motion-selective regions; (3) the interpretation of region-of-interest findings may be substantially altered when multiple patterns of selectivity are considered.

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