The sensitivity of primate STS neurons to walking sequences and to the degree of articulation in static images

Prog Brain Res. 2006;154:135-48. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(06)54007-5.

Abstract

We readily use the form of human figures to determine if they are moving. Human figures that have arms and legs outstretched (articulated) appear to be moving more than figures where the arms and legs are near the body (standing). We tested whether neurons in the macaque monkey superior temporal sulcus (STS), a region known to be involved in processing social stimuli, were sensitive to the degree of articulation of a static human figure. Additionally, we tested sensitivity to the same stimuli within forward and backward walking sequences. We found that 57% of cells that responded to the static image of a human figure was also sensitive to the degree of articulation of the figure. Some cells displayed selective responses for articulated postures, while others (in equal numbers) displayed selective responses for standing postures. Cells selective for static images of articulated figures were more likely to respond to movies of walking forwards than walking backwards. Cells selective for static images of standing figures were more likely to respond to movies of walking backwards than forwards. An association between form sensitivity and walking sensitivity could be consistent with an interpretation that cell responses to articulated figures act as an implied motion signal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Functional Laterality
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Motion*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*