Brain Areas Active during Visual Perception of Biological Motion

Neuron. 2002 Sep 12;35(6):1167-75. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)00897-8.


Theories of vision posit that form and motion are represented by neural mechanisms segregated into functionally and anatomically distinct pathways. Using point-light animations of biological motion, we examine the extent to which form and motion pathways are mutually involved in perceiving figures depicted by the spatio-temporal integration of local motion components. Previous work discloses that viewing biological motion selectively activates a region on the posterior superior temporal sulcus (STSp). Here we report that the occipital and fusiform face areas (OFA and FFA) also contain neural signals capable of differentiating biological from nonbiological motion. EBA and LOC, although involved in perception of human form, do not contain neural signals selective for biological motion. Our results suggest that a network of distributed neural areas in the form and motion pathways underlie the perception of biological motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*