Biological motion task performance predicts superior temporal sulcus activity.

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TitleBiological motion task performance predicts superior temporal sulcus activity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHerrington, JD, Nymberg, C, Schultz, RT
JournalBrain Cogn
Date Published2011 Dec
KeywordsAdult, Amygdala, Brain Mapping, Comprehension, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Motion Perception, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Temporal Lobe

Numerous studies implicate superior temporal sulcus (STS) in the perception of human movement. More recent theories hold that STS is also involved in the understanding of human movement. However, almost no studies to date have associated STS function with observable variability in action understanding. The present study directly associated STS activity with performance on a challenging task requiring the interpretation of human movement. During functional MRI scanning, fourteen adults were asked to identify the direction (left or right) in which either a point-light walking figure or spinning wheel were moving. The task was made challenging by perturbing the dot trajectories to a level (determined via pretesting) where each participant achieved 72% accuracy. The walking figure condition was associated with increased activity in a constellation of social information processing and biological motion areas, including STS, MT+/V5, right pars opercularis (inferior frontal gyrus), fusiform gyrus, and amygdala. Correctly answered walking figure trials were uniquely associated with increased activity in two right hemisphere STS clusters and right amygdala. Present findings provide some of the strongest evidence to date that STS plays a critical role in the successful interpretation of human movement.

Alternate JournalBrain Cogn
PubMed ID22024246
Grant ListT32 MH18268 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
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