Sparing of sensitivity to biological motion but not of global motion after early visual deprivation


Bat-Sheva Hadad, Department of Psychology, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, POB 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel; e-mail:


Patients deprived of visual experience during infancy by dense bilateral congenital cataracts later show marked deficits in the perception of global motion (dorsal visual stream) and global form (ventral visual stream). We expected that they would also show marked deficits in sensitivity to biological motion, which is normally processed in the superior temporal sulcus via input from both the dorsal and ventral streams. When tested on the same day for sensitivity to biological motion and to global motion at two speeds (4 and 18° s−1), patients, as expected, displayed a large deficit in processing global motion at both speeds. Surprisingly, they performed normally in discriminating biological motion from scrambled displays, tolerating as much noise as their age-matched controls. Networks bypassing damaged portions of the dorsal and the ventral streams must mediate the spared sensitivity to biological motion after early visual deprivation.