Patterns of fMRI activity dissociate overlapping functional brain areas that respond to biological motion

Neuron. 2006 Mar 16;49(6):815-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.02.004.


Accurate perception of the actions and intentions of other people is essential for successful interactions in a social environment. Several cortical areas that support this process respond selectively in fMRI to static and dynamic displays of human bodies and faces. Here we apply pattern-analysis techniques to arrive at a new understanding of the neural response to biological motion. Functionally defined body-, face-, and motion-selective visual areas all responded significantly to "point-light" human motion. Strikingly, however, only body selectivity was correlated, on a voxel-by-voxel basis, with biological motion selectivity. We conclude that (1) biological motion, through the process of structure-from-motion, engages areas involved in the analysis of the static human form; (2) body-selective regions in posterior fusiform gyrus and posterior inferior temporal sulcus overlap with, but are distinct from, face- and motion-selective regions; (3) the interpretation of region-of-interest findings may be substantially altered when multiple patterns of selectivity are considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Drug Combinations
  • Functional Laterality
  • Human Body
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Motion*
  • Peroxides / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Urea / analogs & derivatives
  • Urea / blood


  • Drug Combinations
  • Peroxides
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Urea