Perception of elliptic biological motion.

Developmental Cognitive and Social Neuroscience Unit, Department of Paedriatric Neurology and Child Development, Children's Hospital, University of Tübingen, Germany.
Perception (Impact Factor: 1.31). 02/2006; 35(8):1137-47. DOI: 10.1068/p5482
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We tested the ability of the mature visual system for discrimination between types of elliptic biological motion on the basis of event kinematics. Healthy adult volunteers were presented with point-light displays depicting elliptic motion when only a single dot, a moving point-light arm, or a whole point-light human figure was visible. The displays were created in accordance with the two-thirds power kinematic law (natural motion), whereas the control displays violated this principle (unnatural motion). On each trial, participants judged whether the display represented natural or unnatural motion. The findings indicate that adults are highly sensitive to violation of the two-thirds power kinematic law. Notably, participants can easily discriminate between natural and unnatural motions without recognising the stimuli, which suggests that people implicitly use kinematic information. Most intriguing, event recognition seems to diminish the capacity to judge whether event kinematics is unnatural. We discuss possible ways for a cross-talk between perception and production of biological movement, and the brain mechanisms involved in biological motion processing.

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