Carnegie Mellon University
January 12, 2015

People Watching: Brain Research Shows Different Pathways Are Responsible for Person and Movement Recognition

People Watching: Brain Research Shows Different Pathways Are Responsible for Person and Movement Recognition People Watching: Brain Research Shows Different Pathways Are Responsible for Person and Movement Recognition

Each time you see a person that you know, your brain seemingly effortlessly and immediately recognizes that person by his or her face and body. Just as easily, your brain understands a person's movements, allowing you to perform critical skills such as interpreting social cues, detecting threats and determining the difference between skipping and jumping.

Researchers, including Carnegie Mellon's Marlene Behrmann, have found that the ability to understand different movements, engages different brain mechanisms from those that recognize who is initiating the action. The study illustrates for the first time how individuals with prosopagnosia, or face blindness, are still able to recognize other people's movements.

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