Body selectivity in occipitotemporal cortex: Causal evidence

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Perception of others' bodies provides information that is useful for a number of important social-cognitive processes. Evidence from neuroimaging methods has identified focal cortical regions that are highly selective for perceiving bodies and body parts, including the extrastriate body area (EBA) and fusiform body area (FBA). Our understanding of the functional properties of these regions, and their causal contributions to behavior, has benefitted from the study of neuropsychological patients and particularly from investigations using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We review this evidence, focusing on TMS studies that are revealing of how (and when) activity in EBA contributes to detecting people in natural scenes; to resolving their body shape, movements, actions, individual parts, and identities; and to guiding goal-directed behavior. These findings are considered in reference to a framework for body perception in which the patterns of neural activity in EBA and FBA jointly serve to make explicit the elements of the visual scene that correspond to the body and its parts. These representations are modulated by other sources of information such as prior knowledge, and are shared with wider brain networks involved in many aspects of social cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-148
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
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