Parts‐based representations of perceived face movements in the superior temporal sulcus

TitleParts‐based representations of perceived face movements in the superior temporal sulcus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDeen, B, Saxe, R
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Pagination2499 - 2510
Date Published02/2019

Facial motion is a primary source of social information about other humans. Prior fMRI studies have identified regions of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) that respond specifically to perceived face movements (termed fSTS), but little is known about the nature of motion representations in these regions. Here we use fMRI and multivoxel pattern analysis to characterize the representational content of the fSTS. Participants viewed a set of specific eye and mouth movements, as well as combined eye and mouth movements. Our results demonstrate that fSTS response patterns contain information about face movements, including subtle distinctions between types of eye and mouth movements. These representations generalize across the actor performing the movement, and across small differences in visual position. Critically, patterns of response to combined movements could be well predicted by linear combinations of responses to individual eye and mouth movements, pointing to a parts-based representation of complex face movements. These results indicate that the fSTS plays an intermediate role in the process of inferring social content from visually perceived face movements, containing a representation that is sufficiently abstract to generalize across low-level visual details, but still tied to the kinematics of face part movements.

Short TitleHum Brain Mapp

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