Communicative and noncommunicative point-light actions featuring high-resolution representation of the hands and fingers

Behav Res Methods. 2013 Jun;45(2):319-28. doi: 10.3758/s13428-012-0273-2.


We describe the creation of a set of point-light movies depicting 43 communicative gestures and 43 noncommunicative, pantomimed actions. These actions were recorded using a motion capture system that is worn on the body and provides accurate capture of the positions and movements of individual fingers. The movies created thus include point-lights on the fingers, allowing for representation of actions and gestures that would not be possible with a conventional, line-of-sight-based motion capture system. These videos would be suitable for use in cognitive and cognitive neuroscientific studies of biological motion and gesture perception. Each video is described, along with an H statistic indicating the consistency of the descriptive labels that 20 observers gave to the actions. We also produced a scrambled version of each movie, in which the starting position of each point was randomized but its local motion vector was preserved. These scrambled movies would be suitable for use as control stimuli in experimental studies. As supplementary materials, we provide QuickTime movie files of each action, along with text files specifying the three-dimensional coordinates of each point-light in each frame of each movie.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fingers
  • Gestures*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Movement
  • Posture
  • Videotape Recording
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult