Electrophysiology and brain imaging of biological motion

Aina Puce*, David Perrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The movements of the faces and bodies of other conspecifics provide stimuli of considerable interest to the social primate. Studies of single cells, field potential recordings and functional neuroimaging data indicate that specialized visual mechanisms exist in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) of both human and non-human primates that produce selective neural responses to moving natural images of faces and bodies. STS mechanisms also process simplified displays of biological motion involving point lights marking the limb articulations of animate bodies and geometrical shapes whose motion simulates purposeful behaviour. Facial movements such as deviations in eye gaze, important for gauging an individual's social attention, and mouth movements, indicative of potential utterances, generate particularly robust neural responses that differentiate between movement types. Collectively such visual processing can enable the decoding of complex social signals and through its outputs to limbic, frontal and parietal systems the STS may play a part in enabling appropriate affective responses and social behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Neuroscience
Subtitle of host publicationKey Readings
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780203496190
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Animals
  • Biological motion
  • Event related potentials
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Humans
  • Single-unit electrophysiology


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