Ventral aspect of the visual form pathway is not critical for the perception of biological motion

Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Ayse Pinar Saygin, Lauren J. Lorenzi, Geraint Rees, Marlene Behrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identifying the movements of those around us is fundamental for many daily activities, such as recognizing actions, detecting predators, and interacting with others socially. A key question concerns the neurobiological substrates underlying biological motion perception. Although the ventral "form" visual cortex is standardly activated by biologically moving stimuli, whether these activations are functionally critical for biological motion perception or are epiphenomenal remains unknown. To address this question, we examined whether focal damage to regions of the ventral visual cortex, resulting in significant deficits in form perception, adversely affects biological motion perception. Six patients with damage to the ventral cortex were tested with sensitive point-light display paradigms. All patients were able to recognize unmasked point-light displays and their perceptual thresholds were not significantly different from those of three different control groups, one of which comprised brain-damaged patients with spared ventral cortex (n > 50). Importantly, these six patients performed significantly better than patients with damage to regions critical for biological motion perception. To assess the necessary contribution of different regions in the ventral pathway to biological motion perception, we complement the behavioral findings with a fine-grained comparison between the lesion location and extent, and the cortical regions standardly implicated in biological motion processing. This analysis revealed that the ventral aspects of the form pathway (e.g., fusiform regions, ventral extrastriate body area) are not critical for biological motion perception. We hypothesize that the role of these ventral regions is to provide enhanced multiview/posture representations of the moving person rather than to represent biological motion perception per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E361-E370
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Action perception
  • EBA
  • Point-light displays
  • Ventral stream
  • Visual form agnosia

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ventral aspect of the visual form pathway is not critical for the perception of biological motion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this