Document Detail

Attributing intentions to random motion engages the posterior superior temporal sulcus.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22983598     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) is a neural region involved in assessing the goals and intentions underlying the motion of social agents. Recent research has identified visual cues, such as chasing, that trigger animacy detection and intention attribution. When readily available in a visual display, these cues reliably activate the pSTS. Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined if attributing intentions to random motion would likewise engage the pSTS. Participants viewed displays of four moving circles and were instructed to search for chasing or mirror-correlated motion. On chasing trials, one circle chased another circle, invoking the percept of an intentional agent; while on correlated motion trials, one circle's motion was mirror reflected by another. On the remaining trials, all circles moved randomly. As expected, pSTS activation was greater when participants searched for chasing versus correlated motion when these cues were present in the displays. Of critical importance, pSTS activation was also greater when participants searched for chasing compared to mirror-correlated motion when the displays in both search conditions were statistically identical random motion. We conclude that pSTS activity associated with intention attribution can be invoked by top-down processes in the absence of reliable visual cues for intentionality.
Su Mei Lee; Tao Gao; Gregory McCarthy
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-9-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social cognitive and affective neuroscience     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1749-5024     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-9-17     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101288795     Medline TA:  Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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