Constructing Visual Perception of Body Movement with the Motor Cortex

Orgs, Guido; Dovern, Anna; Hagura, Nobuhiro; Haggard, Patrick; Fink, Gereon R and Weiss, Peter H. 2016. Constructing Visual Perception of Body Movement with the Motor Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 26(1), pp. 440-449. ISSN 1460-2199 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The human brain readily perceives fluent movement from static input. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated brain mechanisms that mediate fluent apparent biological motion (ABM) perception from sequences of body postures. We presented body and nonbody stimuli varying in objective sequence duration and fluency of apparent movement. Three body postures were ordered to produce a fluent (ABC) or a nonfluent (ACB) apparent movement. This enabled us to identify brain areas involved in the perceptual reconstruction of body movement from identical lower-level static input. Participants judged the duration of a rectangle containing body/nonbody sequences, as an implicit measure of movement fluency. For body stimuli, fluent apparent motion sequences produced subjectively longer durations than nonfluent sequences of the same objective duration. This difference was reduced for nonbody stimuli. This body-specific bias in duration perception was associated with increased blood oxygen level-dependent responses in the primary (M1) and supplementary motor areas. Moreover, fluent ABM was associated with increased functional connectivity between M1/SMA and right fusiform body area. We show that perceptual reconstruction of fluent movement from static body postures does not merely enlist areas traditionally associated with visual body processing, but involves cooperative recruitment of motor areas, consistent with a "motor way of seeing".

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This study was supported by a Leverhulme Trust research grant to P. Haggard. G. Orgs was supported by a research fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) transformative research grant (ES/M000680/1). P. Haggard was additionally supported by an Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellowship and by EU FP7 Project VERE (WP1). N.H. is supported by a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship, a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellowship for research abroad, and by a Kakenhi grant-in-aid for scientific research (25119001). G.R. Fink gratefully acknowledges support from the Marga- and Walter Boll-Stiftung. Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by a Research Council United Kingdom (RCUK) block grant to Goldsmiths, University of London.


biological motion, EBA, FBA, motor resonance, M1, visual body perception

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January 2016Published
2 November 2015Published Online

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Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2016 12:03

Last Modified:

12 Mar 2021 16:09

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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