The neural substrates of biological motion perception: An fMRI study

Philip Servos*, Rieko Osu, Andrea Santi, Mitsuo Kawato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


We used fMRI to identify the brain areas related to the perception of biological motion (4 T EPI; whole brain). In experiment 1, 10 subjects viewed biological motion (a human figure jumping up and down, composed of 21 dots), alternating with a control stimulus created by applying autoregressive models to the biological motion stimulus (such that the dots' speeds and amplitudes were preserved whereas their linking structure was not). The lengths of the stimulus bouts varied, and therefore the transitions between biological motion and control stimuli were unpredictable. Subjects had to indicate with a button press when each transition occurred. In a related biological motion task, subjects detected short (1 s) disturbances within these displays. We also examined the neural substrates of motion and shape perception, as well as motor imagery, to determine whether or not the cortical regions involved in these processes are also recruited during biological motion perception. Subjects viewed linear motion displays alternating with static dots and a series of common objects alternating with band-limited white noise patterns. Subjects also generated imagery of their own arm movements alternating with visual imagery of common objects. Biological motion specific BOLD signal was found within regions of the lingual gyrus at the cuneus border, showing little overlap with object recognition, linear motion or motion imagery areas. The lingual gyrus activation was replicated in a second experiment that also mapped retinotopic visual areas in three subjects. The results suggest that a region of the lingual gyrus within VP is involved in higher-order processing of motion information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-782
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The neural substrates of biological motion perception: An fMRI study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this