Extrastriate body area in human occipital cortex responds to the performance of motor actions

Nat Neurosci. 2004 May;7(5):542-8. doi: 10.1038/nn1241. Epub 2004 Apr 25.


A region in human lateral occipital cortex (the 'extrastriate body area' or EBA) has been implicated in the perception of body parts. Here we report functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence that the EBA is strongly modulated by limb (arm, foot) movements to a visual target stimulus, even in the absence of visual feedback from the movement. Therefore, the EBA responds not only during the perception of other people's body parts, but also during goal-directed movements of the observer's body parts. In addition, both limb movements and saccades to a detected stimulus produced stronger signals than stimulus detection without motor movements ('covert detection') in the calcarine sulcus and lingual gyrus. These motor-related modulations cannot be explained by simple visual or attentional factors related to the target stimulus, and suggest a potentially widespread influence of actions on visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Extremities / physiology
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imagination
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Occipital Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*