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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

Behavioral performance on the theme judgment task. Participants more readily interpreted pantomime than dance. This was evidenced by both greater consistency between the meaningful theme intended to be expressed by the performer and the interpretive judgments made by the observer (left), and faster response times (right). This pattern of results suggests that dance was more difficult to interpret than pantomime, perhaps owing to the use of more abstract metaphors to link movement with meaning. Pantomime, on the other hand, relied on more concrete, mundane sorts of movements that were more likely to carry meaningful associations based on observers' prior everyday experience. SEM, standard error of the mean.
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Figure 3: Behavioral performance on the theme judgment task. Participants more readily interpreted pantomime than dance. This was evidenced by both greater consistency between the meaningful theme intended to be expressed by the performer and the interpretive judgments made by the observer (left), and faster response times (right). This pattern of results suggests that dance was more difficult to interpret than pantomime, perhaps owing to the use of more abstract metaphors to link movement with meaning. Pantomime, on the other hand, relied on more concrete, mundane sorts of movements that were more likely to carry meaningful associations based on observers' prior everyday experience. SEM, standard error of the mean.

Mentions: Figure 3 illustrates the behavioral results of the interpretation task completed outside the scanner. Participants had higher consistency scores for pantomimed movements than danced movements [F(1, 42) = 42.06, p < 0.0001], indicating better transmission of the intended expressive meaning from performer to viewer. Pantomimed sequences were also interpreted more quickly than danced sequences [F(1, 42) = 27.28, p < 0.0001], suggesting an overall performance advantage for pantomimed sequences.


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

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

Behavioral performance on the theme judgment task. Participants more readily interpreted pantomime than dance. This was evidenced by both greater consistency between the meaningful theme intended to be expressed by the performer and the interpretive judgments made by the observer (left), and faster response times (right). This pattern of results suggests that dance was more difficult to interpret than pantomime, perhaps owing to the use of more abstract metaphors to link movement with meaning. Pantomime, on the other hand, relied on more concrete, mundane sorts of movements that were more likely to carry meaningful associations based on observers' prior everyday experience. SEM, standard error of the mean.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Behavioral performance on the theme judgment task. Participants more readily interpreted pantomime than dance. This was evidenced by both greater consistency between the meaningful theme intended to be expressed by the performer and the interpretive judgments made by the observer (left), and faster response times (right). This pattern of results suggests that dance was more difficult to interpret than pantomime, perhaps owing to the use of more abstract metaphors to link movement with meaning. Pantomime, on the other hand, relied on more concrete, mundane sorts of movements that were more likely to carry meaningful associations based on observers' prior everyday experience. SEM, standard error of the mean.
Mentions: Figure 3 illustrates the behavioral results of the interpretation task completed outside the scanner. Participants had higher consistency scores for pantomimed movements than danced movements [F(1, 42) = 42.06, p < 0.0001], indicating better transmission of the intended expressive meaning from performer to viewer. Pantomimed sequences were also interpreted more quickly than danced sequences [F(1, 42) = 27.28, p < 0.0001], suggesting an overall performance advantage for pantomimed sequences.

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