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Author Notes:

Gregory McCarthy P: 203-432-7435 Gregory.mccarthy@yale.edu Department of Psychology Yale University 2 Hillhouse Ave New Haven, CT 06520-8205.

We thank William Walker for assistance in data collection.

Subjects:

Research Funding:

This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH-05286 (GM); the Yale University FAS Imaging Fund; and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (SS).

Keywords:

  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Neurosciences
  • Psychology, Experimental
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Psychology
  • Animacy detection
  • Face processing
  • Goal-directed actions
  • Fusiform
  • Posterior superior temporal sulcus
  • fMRI
  • HUMAN EXTRASTRIATE CORTEX
  • SUPERIOR TEMPORAL SULCUS
  • FACE AREA
  • PERCEPTION
  • INFANTS
  • NETWORK
  • BRAIN
  • CUES
  • MIND

Perceived animacy influences the processing of human-like surface features in the fusiform gyrus

Tools:

Journal Title:

Neuropsychologia

Volume:

Volume 60, Number 1

Publisher:

, Pages 115-120

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review

Abstract:

While decades of research have demonstrated that a region of the right fusiform gyrus (FG) responds selectively to faces, a second line of research suggests that the FG responds to a range of animacy cues, including biological motion and goal-directed actions, even in the absence of faces or other human-like surface features. These findings raise the question of whether the FG is indeed sensitive to faces or to the more abstract category of animate agents. The current study uses fMRI to examine whether the FG responds to all faces in a category-specific way or whether the FG is especially sensitive to the faces of animate agents. Animate agents are defined here as intentional agents with the capacity for rational goal-directed actions. Specifically, we examine how the FG responds to an entity that looks like an animate agent but that lacks the capacity for goal-directed rational action. Region-of-interest analyses reveal that the FG activates more strongly to the animate compared with the inanimate entity, even though the surface features of both animate and inanimate entities were identical. These results suggest that the FG does not respond to all faces in a category-specific way, and is instead especially sensitive to whether an entity is animate.

Copyright information:

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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