Natural facial motion enhances cortical responses to faces

Johannes Schultz, Karin S Pilz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to perceive facial motion is important to successfully interact in social environments. Previously, imaging studies have investigated neural correlates of facial motion primarily using abstract motion stimuli. Here, we studied how the brain processes natural non-rigid facial motion in direct comparison to static stimuli and matched phase-scrambled controls. As predicted from previous studies, dynamic faces elicit higher responses than static faces in lateral temporal areas corresponding to hMT+/V5 and STS. Interestingly, individually defined, static-face-sensitive regions in bilateral fusiform gyrus and left inferior occipital gyrus also respond more to dynamic than static faces. These results suggest integration of form and motion information during the processing of dynamic faces even in ventral temporal and inferior lateral occipital areas. In addition, our results show that dynamic stimuli are a robust tool to localize areas related to the processing of static and dynamic face information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • facial motion
  • face localizer
  • STS
  • biological motion
  • FFA
  • OFA
  • fMRI


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural facial motion enhances cortical responses to faces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this