Recognition of point-light biological motion displays by young children

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested the ability of children 3-5 years of age to recognise biological motion displays. Children and adults were presented with moving point-light configurations depicting a walking person, four-legged animals (dogs), and a bird. Participants were able to reliably recognise displays with biological motion, but failed in the identification of a static (four consecutive frames taken from each sequence) version. The results indicate that, irrespective of the highly reduced and unusual structural information available in point-light displays, biological motion is sufficient for reliable recognition of human and non-human forms at an age as early as 3 years. Moreover, 5-year-olds exhibit the ceiling level of recognition. The findings are discussed in the context of the neuropsychological and brain mechanisms involved in biological motion perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-933
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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