Perception and production of biological movement in patients with early periventricular brain lesions

Marina Pavlova, Martin Staudt, Alexander Sokolov, Niels Birbaumer, Ingeborg Krägeloh-Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent neuroimaging and psychophysical findings suggest that perception and production of human body motion share a common representational network. In the present study, we address the issue of whether early disorders in production of biological movement correspond to impairment in biological motion perception. By using the simultaneous masking paradigm, we examined visual sensitivity to biological motion in adolescents (aged 13-16 years) who were born very preterm (at 27-33 gestational weeks). In a confidence rating procedure, the presence of a point-light walking figure embedded in a moving mask was judged. The participants differed in their locomotion ability, ranging from normal to a complete walking disability exhibiting signs of leg-dominated bilateral spastic cerebral palsy (BS-CP) caused by periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). Irrespective of an ability to produce movement, patients with a similar extent of PVL in the parieto-occipital complex exhibit nearly the same sensitivity to biological motion. Sensitivity correlates negatively with the extent of PVL over the parieto-occipital complex, whereas neither the severity of motor disorder nor the severity of pyramidal tract affection relate significantly to the sensitivity index. The data suggest that perception of biological motion is not substantially affected by an observer's early restrictions in body movement. Instead, the findings favour the assumption that the common network for perception and production of biological motion might be inherent for the brain. Motor experience per se does not appear to be necessary for the visual analysis of human movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-701
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Biological motion
  • Brain structures
  • Periventricular lesions
  • Spastic motor disorders
  • Visual psychophysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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