Perception Journal Club

Visual perception and neural correlates of novel 'biological motion'

Studies of biological motion have identified specialized neural machinery for the perception of human actions. Our experiments examine behavioral and neural responses to novel, articulating and non-human ‘biological motion’. We find that non-human actions are seen as animate, but do not convey body structure when viewed as point-lights. Non-human animations fail to engage the human STSp, and neural responses in pITG, ITS and FFA/FBA are reduced only for the point-light versions. Our results suggest that STSp is specialized for human motion and ventral temporal regions support general, dynamic shape perception. We also identify a region in ventral temporal cortex ‘selective’ for non-human animations, which we suggest processes novel, dynamic objects.