A variety of cell types exist in the temporal cortex providing high-level visual descriptions of bodies and their movements. We have investigated the sensitivity of such cells to different viewing conditions to determine the frame(s) of reference utilized in processing. The responses of the majority of cells in the upper bank of the superior temporal sulcus (areas TPO and PGa) found to be sensitive to static and dynamic information about the body were selective for one perspective view (e.g. right profile, reaching right or walking left). These cells can be considered to provide viewer-centred descriptions because they depend on the observer's vantage point. Viewer-centred descriptions could be used in guiding behaviour. They could also be used as an intermediate step for establishing view-independent responses of other cell types which responded to many or all perspective views selectively of the same object (e.g. head) or movement. These cells have the properties of object-centred descriptions, where the object viewed provides the frame of reference for describing the disposition of object parts and movements (e.g. head on top of shoulders, reaching across the body, walking forward ‘following the nose’). For some cells in the lower bank of the superior temporal sulcus (area TEa) the responses to body movements were related to the object or goal of the movements (e.g. reaching for or walking towards a specific place). This goal-centred sensitivity to interaction allowed the cells to be selectively activated in situations where human subjects would attribute causal and intentional relationships.
- © 1989 by Company of Biologists