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Samhita Dasgupta, Sarah Tyler, Ramesh Srinivasan, Emily Grossman; Functional Connectivity of Co-localized Brain Regions during Biological Motion, Face and Social Perception using Partial Correlation Analysis. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1011. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.1011.
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Background: Perception and recognition of actions and intentions of others requires the successful coordination of brain systems supporting visual recognition, attention and cognitive control. Previous work has focused on the role of single brain regions in social cognitive tasks (e.g. the pSTS). Our current study aims to identify the functional connections within a shared large-scale cortical network, and how that pattern of connectivity supports the analysis of socially relevant information processing. Method: Subjects participated in three localizer tasks from socially relevant representative domains: 1) biological motion recognition: point-light biological motion versus motion-matched scrambled controls (Grossman and Blake 2001), 2) perceived animacy: social vignettes depicting geometric shapes engaged in social or mechanical actions (Martin and Weisberg, 2003), and 3) face perception: stationary faces versus pixel-scrambled faces (Hoffman and Haxby, 2000). We identified ROIs shared by the three tasks using a conjunction analysis across the localizers. We then subjected the timeseries from these regions to a partial correlation analyses that revealed unique functional connections between the ROIs. Results: Partial correlation analyses revealed large-scale patterns of unique connectivity across our conjunction ROIs, with hubs in the right hemisphere pSTS and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). These hubs were uniquely connected to regions in premotor, lateral parietal and the posterior fusiform during all three tasks. Short-range functional connections emerged within lateral occipito-temporal cortex during the biological motion and perceived animacy tasks. Similarly, during the face perception and perceived animacy conditions, short-range connections emerged within prefrontal, parietal and ventral temporal connections. Conclusions: Our multivariate approach reveals the existence of a distributed network of brain regions with a core pattern of connectivity that is shared by biological motion, face perception and perceived animacy. We conclude this pattern of connectivity reflects the successful coordination of large-scale brain systems during social cognition.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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