Enhanced activation in the extrastriate body area by goal-directed actions


*Hidehiko Takahashi, MD, PhD, Molecular Imaging Center, Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, National Institute of Radiological Sciences 9-1, 4-chome, Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan. Email: hidehiko@nirs.go.jp


Aim:  Neuroimaging studies on biological motion have established the view that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) is involved in detecting intention of others. Those studies have consistently reported other regions such as body-selective extrastriate body area (EBA) and motion-sensitive middle temporal, in close proximity to pSTS. Whether EBA responds only to static body parts or has a more extended role as part of a system for inferring intention of others has remained an elusive issue. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of EBA in processing goal-directed actions.

Methods:  Twelve healthy volunteers participated in the present study. Using sports-related motions as visual stimuli, brain activations were examined during observation of goal-directed actions and non-goal-directed actions on functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Results:  Compared to non-goal-directed actions, goal-directed actions produced greater activations in EBA along with the mirror neuron system.

Conclusions:  EBA might contribute to understanding others' actions by representing the dynamic aspects of human motions.