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Body language in the brain: constructing meaning from expressive movement.

Tipper CM, Signorini G, Grafton ST - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: A repetition suppression (RS) procedure was used to identify brain regions that decoded the meaningful affective state of a performer, as evidenced by decreased activity when emotive themes were repeated in successive performances.RS was observed bilaterally, extending anteriorly along middle and superior temporal gyri into temporal pole, medially into insula, rostrally into inferior orbitofrontal cortex, and caudally into hippocampus and amygdala.There was greater RS in left hemisphere, suggesting that the more abstract metaphors used to express themes in dance compared to pantomime posed a greater challenge to brain substrates directly involved in decoding those themes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada ; Mental Health and Integrated Neurobehavioral Development Research Core, Child and Family Research Institute Vancouver, BC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
This fMRI study investigated neural systems that interpret body language-the meaningful emotive expressions conveyed by body movement. Participants watched videos of performers engaged in modern dance or pantomime that conveyed specific themes such as hope, agony, lust, or exhaustion. We tested whether the meaning of an affectively laden performance was decoded in localized brain substrates as a distinct property of action separable from other superficial features, such as choreography, kinematics, performer, and low-level visual stimuli. A repetition suppression (RS) procedure was used to identify brain regions that decoded the meaningful affective state of a performer, as evidenced by decreased activity when emotive themes were repeated in successive performances. Because the theme was the only feature repeated across video clips that were otherwise entirely different, the occurrence of RS identified brain substrates that differentially coded the specific meaning of expressive performances. RS was observed bilaterally, extending anteriorly along middle and superior temporal gyri into temporal pole, medially into insula, rostrally into inferior orbitofrontal cortex, and caudally into hippocampus and amygdala. Behavioral data on a separate task indicated that interpreting themes from modern dance was more difficult than interpreting pantomime; a result that was also reflected in the fMRI data. There was greater RS in left hemisphere, suggesting that the more abstract metaphors used to express themes in dance compared to pantomime posed a greater challenge to brain substrates directly involved in decoding those themes. We propose that the meaning-sensitive temporal-orbitofrontal regions observed here comprise a superordinate functional module of a known hierarchical action observation network (AON), which is critical to the construction of meaning from expressive movement. The findings are discussed with respect to a predictive coding model of action understanding.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experimental testing procedure. Participants completed a thematic interpretation task outside the scanner, either before or after the imaging session. Performance on this task allowed us to test whether there was a difference in how readily observers interpreted the intended meaning conveyed through dance or pantomime. Any performance differences on this explicit theme judgment task could help interpret the functional significance of observed differences in brain activity associated with passively viewing the two types of movement in the scanner.
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Figure 2: Experimental testing procedure. Participants completed a thematic interpretation task outside the scanner, either before or after the imaging session. Performance on this task allowed us to test whether there was a difference in how readily observers interpreted the intended meaning conveyed through dance or pantomime. Any performance differences on this explicit theme judgment task could help interpret the functional significance of observed differences in brain activity associated with passively viewing the two types of movement in the scanner.

Mentions: In a separate session outside the scanner either before or after fMRI data collection, an interpretation task measured observers' ability to discern the intended meaning of a performance (Figure 2). The interpretation task was carried out in a separate session to avoid confounding movement observation in the scanner with explicit decision-making and overt motor responses. Participants were asked to view each video clip and choose from a list of four options the theme that best corresponded with the movement sequence they had just watched. Responses were made by pressing one of four corresponding buttons on a keyboard. Two behavioral measures were collected to assess how well participants interpreted the intended meaning of expressive performances. Consistency scores reflected the proportion of observers' interpretations that matched the performer's intended expression. Response times indicated the time taken to make interpretive judgments. In order to encourage subjects to use their initial impressions and to avoid over-deliberating, the four response options were previewed briefly immediately prior to video presentation.


Body language in the brain: constructing meaning from expressive movement.

Tipper CM, Signorini G, Grafton ST - Front Hum Neurosci (2015)

Experimental testing procedure. Participants completed a thematic interpretation task outside the scanner, either before or after the imaging session. Performance on this task allowed us to test whether there was a difference in how readily observers interpreted the intended meaning conveyed through dance or pantomime. Any performance differences on this explicit theme judgment task could help interpret the functional significance of observed differences in brain activity associated with passively viewing the two types of movement in the scanner.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4543892&req=5

Figure 2: Experimental testing procedure. Participants completed a thematic interpretation task outside the scanner, either before or after the imaging session. Performance on this task allowed us to test whether there was a difference in how readily observers interpreted the intended meaning conveyed through dance or pantomime. Any performance differences on this explicit theme judgment task could help interpret the functional significance of observed differences in brain activity associated with passively viewing the two types of movement in the scanner.
Mentions: In a separate session outside the scanner either before or after fMRI data collection, an interpretation task measured observers' ability to discern the intended meaning of a performance (Figure 2). The interpretation task was carried out in a separate session to avoid confounding movement observation in the scanner with explicit decision-making and overt motor responses. Participants were asked to view each video clip and choose from a list of four options the theme that best corresponded with the movement sequence they had just watched. Responses were made by pressing one of four corresponding buttons on a keyboard. Two behavioral measures were collected to assess how well participants interpreted the intended meaning of expressive performances. Consistency scores reflected the proportion of observers' interpretations that matched the performer's intended expression. Response times indicated the time taken to make interpretive judgments. In order to encourage subjects to use their initial impressions and to avoid over-deliberating, the four response options were previewed briefly immediately prior to video presentation.

Bottom Line: A repetition suppression (RS) procedure was used to identify brain regions that decoded the meaningful affective state of a performer, as evidenced by decreased activity when emotive themes were repeated in successive performances.RS was observed bilaterally, extending anteriorly along middle and superior temporal gyri into temporal pole, medially into insula, rostrally into inferior orbitofrontal cortex, and caudally into hippocampus and amygdala.There was greater RS in left hemisphere, suggesting that the more abstract metaphors used to express themes in dance compared to pantomime posed a greater challenge to brain substrates directly involved in decoding those themes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada ; Mental Health and Integrated Neurobehavioral Development Research Core, Child and Family Research Institute Vancouver, BC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
This fMRI study investigated neural systems that interpret body language-the meaningful emotive expressions conveyed by body movement. Participants watched videos of performers engaged in modern dance or pantomime that conveyed specific themes such as hope, agony, lust, or exhaustion. We tested whether the meaning of an affectively laden performance was decoded in localized brain substrates as a distinct property of action separable from other superficial features, such as choreography, kinematics, performer, and low-level visual stimuli. A repetition suppression (RS) procedure was used to identify brain regions that decoded the meaningful affective state of a performer, as evidenced by decreased activity when emotive themes were repeated in successive performances. Because the theme was the only feature repeated across video clips that were otherwise entirely different, the occurrence of RS identified brain substrates that differentially coded the specific meaning of expressive performances. RS was observed bilaterally, extending anteriorly along middle and superior temporal gyri into temporal pole, medially into insula, rostrally into inferior orbitofrontal cortex, and caudally into hippocampus and amygdala. Behavioral data on a separate task indicated that interpreting themes from modern dance was more difficult than interpreting pantomime; a result that was also reflected in the fMRI data. There was greater RS in left hemisphere, suggesting that the more abstract metaphors used to express themes in dance compared to pantomime posed a greater challenge to brain substrates directly involved in decoding those themes. We propose that the meaning-sensitive temporal-orbitofrontal regions observed here comprise a superordinate functional module of a known hierarchical action observation network (AON), which is critical to the construction of meaning from expressive movement. The findings are discussed with respect to a predictive coding model of action understanding.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus