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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    • "Studies on the neural underpinnings of face processing have revealed a wide-spread face processing network across the brain, in which the right hemisphere plays a relatively greater role than the left (Cattaneo et al., 2014; Kanwisher & Yovel, 2006). This has not only been shown for static, but also for dynamic facial displays (Thompson et al., 2007; Wheaton et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) affects patients beyond the motor domain. According to previous evidence, one mechanism that may be impaired in the disease is face processing. However, few studies have investigated this process at the neural level in PD. Moreover, research using dynamic facial displays rather than static pictures is scarce, but highly warranted due to the higher ecological validity of dynamic stimuli. In the present study we aimed to investigate how PD patients process emotional and non-emotional dynamic face stimuli at the neural level using event-related potentials. Since the literature has revealed a predominantly right-lateralized network for dynamic face processing, we divided the group into patients with left (LPD) and right (RPD) motor symptom onset (right versus left cerebral hemisphere predominantly affected, respectively). Participants watched short video clips of happy, angry, and neutral expressions and engaged in a shallow gender decision task in order to avoid confounds of task difficulty in the data. In line with our expectations, the LPD group showed significant face processing deficits compared to controls. While there were no group differences in early, sensory-driven processing (fronto-central N1 and posterior P1), the vertex positive potential, which is considered the fronto-central counterpart of the face-specific posterior N170 component, had a reduced amplitude and delayed latency in the LPD group. This may indicate disturbances of structural face processing in LPD. Furthermore, the effect was independent of the emotional content of the videos. In contrast, static facial identity recognition performance in LPD was not significantly different from controls, and comprehensive testing of cognitive functions did not reveal any deficits in this group. We therefore conclude that PD, and more specifically the predominant right-hemispheric affection in left-onset PD, is associated with impaired processing of dynamic facial expressions, which could be one of the mechanisms behind the often reported problems of PD patients in their social lives.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Neuropsychologia
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    • "For example, the amygdala (AMG) responds to faces, especially to facial expressions of fear (Adolphs and Spezio, 2006). Face selective regions along the superior temporal sulcus (STS) are involved in detecting facial movements associated with eye gaze, speech, and expression of emotions and intentions (Puce et al., 1998; Allison et al., 2000; Thompson et al., 2007; Cohen Kadosh et al., 2010; Esterman and Yantis, 2010). And faceselective regions along the fusiform gyrus (FG), collectively known as the fusiform face area (FFA) are implicated in face detection and identity recognition (Kanwisher et al., 1998; Golby et al., 2001; Grill-Spector et al., 2004; Kanwisher and Yovel, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Several regions of the human brain respond more strongly to faces than to other visual stimuli, such as regions in the amygdala (AMG), superior temporal sulcus (STS), and the fusiform face area (FFA). It is unclear if these brain regions are similar in representing the configuration or natural appearance of face parts. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging of healthy adults who viewed natural or schematic faces with internal parts that were either normally configured or randomly rearranged. Response amplitudes were reduced in the AMG and STS when subjects viewed stimuli whose configuration of parts were digitally rearranged, suggesting that these regions represent the 1st order configuration of face parts. In contrast, response amplitudes in the FFA showed little modulation whether face parts were rearranged or if the natural face parts were replaced with lines. Instead, FFA responses were reduced only when both configural and part information were reduced, revealing an interaction between these factors, suggesting distinct representation of 1st order face configuration and parts in the AMG and STS vs. the FFA.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
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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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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Cerebral Cortex
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