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The signer and the sign: Cortical correlates of person identity and language processing from point-light displays

Campbell, R; Capek, CM; Gazarian, K; MacSweeney, M; Woll, B; David, AS; McGuire, PK; (2011) The signer and the sign: Cortical correlates of person identity and language processing from point-light displays. Neuropsychologia , 49 (11) 3018 - 3026. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.06.029. Green open access

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Abstract

In this study, the first to explore the cortical correlates of signed language (SL) processing under point-light display conditions, the observer identified either a signer or a lexical sign from a display in which different signers were seen producing a number of different individual signs. many of the regions activated by point-light under these conditions replicated those previously reported for full-image displays, including regions within the inferior temporal cortex that are specialised for face and body-part identification, although such body parts were invisible in the display. Right frontal regions were also recruited - a pattern not usually seen in full-image SL processing. This activation may reflect the recruitment of information about person identity from the reduced display. A direct comparison of identify-signer and identify-sign conditions showed these tasks relied to a different extent on the posterior inferior regions. Signer identification elicited greater activation than sign identification in (bilateral) inferior temporal gyri (BA 37/19), fusiform gyri (BA 37), middle and posterior portions of the middle temporal gyri (BAs 37 and 19), and superior temporal gyri (BA 22 and 42). Right inferior frontal cortex was a further focus of differential activation (signer > sign).These findings suggest that the neural systems supporting point-light displays for the processing of SL rely on a cortical network including areas of the inferior temporal cortex specialized for face and body identification. While this might be predicted from other studies of whole body point-light actions (Vaina, Solomon, Chowdhury, Sinha, & Belliveau, 2001) it is not predicted from the perspective of spoken language processing, where voice characteristics and speech content recruit distinct cortical regions (Stevens, 2004) in addition to a common network. In this respect, our findings contrast with studies of voice/speech recognition (Von Kriegstein, Kleinschmidt, Sterzer, & Giraud, 2005). Inferior temporal regions associated with the visual recognition of a person appear to be required during SL processing, for both carrier and content information. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: The signer and the sign: Cortical correlates of person identity and language processing from point-light displays
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.06.029
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011....
Language: English
Additional information: This work is made available under a Creative Commons license.
Keywords: Sign language, Biological motion perception, fMRI, Point-light, BIOLOGICAL MOTION PERCEPTION, MIRROR NEURON SYSTEM, BRAIN-AREAS, INTRAPARIETAL SULCUS, RECOGNIZING FRIENDS, VISUAL-PERCEPTION, VISIBLE SPEECH, DEAF SUBJECTS, RECOGNITION, FMRI
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1319006
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