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Johan D. Carlin, Russell Thompson, Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, James Rowe, Andrew J. Calder; Response patterns in human Superior Temporal Sulcus discriminate the direction of observed head turns. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):681. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.7.681.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Humans and monkeys alike are sensitive to where other individuals are looking, an ability that is fundamental to social cognition. In monkeys, neurons in anterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) are selective for the direction of others' head turns and eye gaze, but it is not currently known whether human STS codes head turns in a similar manner. We used multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of functional MRI data to investigate whether human STS codes the direction of head motion. Using dynamic video stimuli, we found that voxel response patterns in anterior but not posterior STS discriminate left and right head turns. Neither anterior nor posterior STS discriminated between left and right rotation of ellipsoid control stimuli, even though these were matched in spatial frequency and motion dynamics. These results suggest that head turn direction is coded in homologous locations in human and monkey anterior STS, and highlight the potential of MVPA for better understanding of the neural coding of social attention.
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