Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Wholes and subparts in visual processing of human agency

By Peter Neri


The human visual system is remarkably sensitive to stimuli conveying actions, for example the fighting action between two agents. A central unresolved question is whether each agent is processed as a whole in one stage, or as subparts (e.g. limbs) that are assembled into an agent at a later stage. We measured the perceptual impact of perturbing an agent either by scrambling individual limbs while leaving the relationship between limbs unaffected or conversely by scrambling the relationship between limbs while leaving individual limbs unaffected. Our measurements differed for the two conditions, providing conclusive evidence against a one-stage model. The results were instead consistent with a two-stage processing pathway: an early bottom-up stage where local motion signals are integrated to reconstruct individual limbs (arms and legs), and a subsequent top-down stage where limbs are combined to represent whole agents

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    1. (2006). A model of biological motion perception from configural form cues.
    2. (2006). Adaptation: from single cells to BOLD signals.
    3. (2002). Are mechanisms for perception of biological motion different from mechanisms for perception of nonbiological motion?
    4. (2001). Brain activity evoked by inverted and imagined biological motion.
    5. (2002). Brain areas active during visual perception of biological motion.
    6. (1990). Converging operations revisited: assessing what infants perceive using discrimination measures.
    7. (1994). Functional and effective connectivity in neuroimaging: a synthesis.
    8. (1997). Perception of biological motion.
    9. (1971). Probit analysis.
    10. (1987). Recognition-by-components: a theory of human image understanding.
    11. (1998). Seeing biological motion. Nature 395, 894–896. (doi:10.1038/ 27661) Neri,P.,Luu,J.Y.&Levi,D.M.2006Meaningfulinteractions can enhance visual discrimination of human agents.
    12. (1982). Structure from motion of rigid and jointed objects.
    13. (2007). The neural basis of visual body perception.
    14. (1998). Top-down influences on stereoscopic depth-perception.
    15. (2007). Transcranialmagnetic stimulationrevealstwocortical pathways for visual body processing.
    16. (2006). Turning configural processing upside down: part and whole body postures.
    17. (2002). Visual feature of intermediate complexity and their use in classification.
    18. (1973). Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis.

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.