Perception of biological motions plays a major adaptive role in identifying, interpreting, and predicting the actions of others. It may therefore be hypothesized that the perception of biological motions is subserved by a specific neural network. Here we used fMRI to verify this hypothesis. In a group of 10 healthy volunteers, we explored the hemodynamic responses to seven types of visual motion displays: drifting random dots, random dot cube, random dot cube with masking elements, upright point-light walker, inverted point-light walker, upright point-light walker display with masking elements, and inverted point-light walker display with masking elements. A gradient in activation was observed in the occipitotemporal junction. The responses to rigid motion were localized posteriorly to those responses elicited by nonrigid motions. Our results demonstrate that in addition to the posterior portion of superior temporal sulcus, the left intraparietal cortex is involved in the perception of nonrigid biological motions.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.