Biological movement and the encoding of its motion and orientation

Benton, Christopher P.; Thirkettle, Martin and Scott-Samuel, Nicholas E. (2016). Biological movement and the encoding of its motion and orientation. Scientific reports, 6 p. 22393.




Are you walking at me? Biological movement and the encoding of its motion and orientation. A person’s motion conveys a wealth of information that ranges from the complex, such as intention or emotional state, to the simple, such as direction of locomotion. How we recognise and recover people’s motion is addressed by models of biological motion processing. Single channel models propose that this occurs through the operation of form template neurons which respond to viewpoint dependent snapshots of posture. More controversially, a dual channel approach proposes a second stream containing motion template neurons sensitive to view dependent snapshots of biological movement’s characteristic local velocity field. We used behavioural adaptation to look for the co-encoding of viewpoint and walker motion, a hallmark of motion template analysis. We show that opposite viewpoint aftereffects can simultaneously be induced for forwards and reversed walkers. This demonstrates that distinct populations of neurons encode forwards and reversed walking. To account for such aftereffects, these units must either be able to inhibit viewpoint-encoding neurons, or they must encode viewpoint directly. Whereas current single channel models would need extending to incorporate these characteristics, the idea that walker motion is encoded directly, such that viewpoint and motion are intrinsically interlinked, is a fundamental component of the dual channel model.

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