Dissociation of extrastriate body and biological-motion selective areas by manipulation of visual-motor congruency

Neuropsychologia. 2009 Dec;47(14):3118-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.07.012. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


To date, several posterior brain regions have been identified that play a role in the visual perception of other people and their movements. The aim of the present study is to understand how these areas may be involved in relating body movements to their visual consequences. We used fMRI to examine the extrastriate body area (EBA), the fusiform body area (FBA), and an area in the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) that responds to patterns of human biological motion. Each area was localized in individual participants with independent scans. In the main experiment, participants performed and/or viewed simple, intransitive hand actions while in the scanner. An MR-compatible camera with a near-egocentric view of the participant's hand was used to manipulate the relationship between motor output and the visual stimulus. Participants' only view of their hands was via this camera. In the Compatible condition, participants viewed their own live hand movements projected onto the screen. In the Incompatible condition, participants viewed actions that were different from the actions they were executing. In pSTS, the BOLD response in the Incompatible condition was significantly higher than in the Compatible condition. Further, the response in the Compatible condition was below baseline, and no greater than that found in a control condition in which hand actions were performed without any visual input. This indicates a strong suppression in pSTS of the response to the visual stimulus that arises from one's own actions. In contrast, in EBA and FBA, we found a large but equivalent response to the Compatible and Incompatible conditions, and this response was the same as that elicited in a control condition in which hand actions were viewed passively, with no concurrent motor task. These findings indicate that, in contrast to pSTS, EBA and FBA are decoupled from motor systems. Instead we propose that their role is limited to perceptual analysis of body-related visual input.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Striatum / blood supply
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Motion*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Visual Pathways
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen