Visual Perception of Incomplete Human-Like Body Postures: A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study


Previous studies have reported that the mirror neuron system plays a crucial role in social cognition. We examined whether the higher-order cognitive functions are involved in the activations in the mirror neuron area when we perceive simplified pseudo-postures. We measured 14 participants’ brain activation during the posture-recognition task using near-infrared spectroscopy. The participants’ task was to observe five sequentially presented target pseudo-postures and judge whether a test pseudo-posture was identical to one of the preceding five target pseudo-postures. The results in the majority of participants (n = 10/14) revealed that the activity in the inferior frontal mirror neuron area is modulated by perception of human-likeness, but not in the remaining four participants (n = 4/14). These results suggest that the degree of the activation of higher-order cognitive functions, which may be engaged in the inhibitory and/or facilitative processing of human body or bodily movement, leads to the distinctive activities in the inferior frontal mirror neuron area.

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Ito, H. , Saito, H. , Oi, M. , Shiraishi, T. , Meng, S. and Palacios, V. (2014) Visual Perception of Incomplete Human-Like Body Postures: A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 4, 544-558. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.412053.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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