Common and distinct brain activation to viewing dynamic sequences of face and hand movements

Department of Psychology and Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University, MSN 3F5, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 10/2007; 37(3):966-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.05.058
Source: PubMed


The superior temporal sulcus (STS) and surrounding lateral temporal and inferior parietal cortices are an important part of a network involved in the processing of biological movement. It is unclear whether the STS responds to the movement of different body parts uniformly, or if the response depends on the body part that is moving. Here we examined brain activity to recognizing sequences of face and hand movements as well as radial grating motion, controlling for differences in movement dynamics between stimuli. A region of the right posterior STS (pSTS) showed common activation to both face and hand motion, relative to radial grating motion, with no significant difference between responses to face and hand motion in this region. Distinct responses to face motion relative to hand motion were observed in the right mid-STS, while the right posterior inferior temporal sulcus (pITS) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) showed greater responses to hand motion relative to face motion. These findings indicate that while there may be distinct processing of different body part motion in lateral temporal and inferior parietal cortices, the response of the pSTS is not body part specific. This region may provide input to other parts of a network involved with processing human actions with a high-level visual description of biological motion.

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    • "In the sensory realm, additional studies have reported that nearby or overlapping cortical regions (including the medial temporal gyrus and the STS) are activated during face processing, especially during the encoding of eye gaze direction (Puce et al. 1998; Pelphrey et al. 2005; Engell and Haxby 2007; Ethofer et al. 2011) and facial expression (Haxby et al. 2000; Winston et al. 2004; Engell and Haxby 2007; Said et al. 2011), and also the visual interpretation of biological motion (Puce et al. 1996; Beauchamp et al. 2003; Thompson et al. 2007; Fox et al. 2009; Jastorff and Orban 2009; Pinsk et al. 2009; Furl et al. 2011; Julian et al. 2012; Avidan et al. 2014). Presumably, all these processes involve interpretations of actions in other people, based on comparison with internal representations of analogous experiences in the observer. "
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