Perception of elliptic biological motion

Universität Ulm, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Perception (Impact Factor: 0.91). 02/2006; 35(8):1137-47. DOI: 10.1068/p5482
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Christel Bidet-Ildei, Sep 15, 2014
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    • "Almost 4 decades ago, Gunnar Johansson, a prominent researcher at the Uppsala University in Sweden, introduced point-light displays depicting different types of human activities (Johansson 1973). Since that time, one of the most robust and replicable findings is that the visual system is exquisitely tuned to point-light BM, and in a number of studies, attempts have been made to clarify possible accounts for this extraordinary tuning (e.g., Proffitt et al. 1984; Cutting et al. 1988; Neri et al. 1998; Pavlova and Sokolov 2000; Jacobs et al. 2004; Bidet-Ildei et al. 2006; Thurman et al. 2010; Christensen et al. 2011). The main advantage of this methodology is that it helps to minimize availability of structural cues and thereby to separate information revealed by motion from other sources (e.g., shape, color). "
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    ABSTRACT: Visual processing of biological motion (BM) produced by living organisms is of immense value for successful daily-life activities and, in particular, for adaptive social behavior and nonverbal communication. Investigation of BM perception in neurodevelopmental disorders related to autism, preterm birth, and genetic conditions substantially contributes to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underpinning the extraordinary tuning to BM. The most prominent research outcome is that patients with daily-life deficits in social cognition are also compromised on visual body motion processing. This raises the question of whether performance on body motion perception tasks may serve a hallmark of social cognition. Overall, the findings highlight the role of structural and functional brain connectivity for proper functioning of the neural circuitry involved in BM processing and visual social cognition that share topographically and dynamically overlapping neural networks.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Cerebral Cortex
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    • "Moreover, this theory could explain the reason why humans tend to prefer stimuli that share common kinematics properties with their own motor productions, i.e., those which conform to motor rules (Fitt's law, isochrony principle, two-third power law) [4] [22] [35] [36]. However, the idea that the motor system is systematically involved in the visual perception of human movements was recently challenged by results obtained in infants and in patients with impaired motor functions. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this experiment was to show that the visual preference for isochronic movements does not necessarily imply a motor simulation and therefore, does not depend on the kinematics of the perceived movement. To demonstrate this point, the participants' task was to adjust the velocity (the period) of a dot that depicted an elliptic motion with different perimeters (from 3 to 60 cm). The velocity profile of the movement conformed ("natural motions") or not ("unnatural motions") to the law of co-variation velocity-curvature (two-thirds power law), which is usually observed in the production of elliptic movements. For each condition, we evaluated the isochrony principle, i.e., the tendency to prefer constant durations of movement irrespective to changes in the trajectory perimeter. Our findings indicate that isochrony principle was observed whatever the kinematics of the movement (natural or unnatural). Therefore, they suggest that the perceptive preference for isochronic movements does not systematically imply a motor simulation.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Neuroscience Letters
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