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Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2006 Jun;15(3):136-140.

Brain Mechanisms for Interpreting the Actions of Others From Biological-Motion Cues.

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Duke University.


Humans are an intensely social species. Our social abilities depend upon specialized brain systems for rapidly recognizing the faces of others, for interpreting the actions of others through an analysis of biological-motion cues, and for determining the emotional states of others via inspection of facial expression. Recent work has implicated the superior temporal sulcus (STS) region as an important component of the social brain. Functional neuroimaging studies have provided clues about how this region is involved in the visual analysis and interpretation of other people's actions. STS activity is modulated by the context within which the actions of biological entities are observed. Such a contextual influence is consistent with a broader tradition within social psychology emphasizing the powerful influences of situational and contextual factors on behavior and perception. The STS region also shows promise as a region of importance in the investigation of both typical and impaired social-cognitive development. Future work should aim to inform us better of the development of interrelationships between the STS region and other regions of the social brain, including the amygdala and the fusiform gyrus.

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