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Mental Health - Radiology and Medical Imaging - Neuroscience

Effect of Intentional Bias on Agency Attribution of Animated Motion: An Event-Related fMRI Study
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Author: Naoyuki Osaka et al.

by Naoyuki Osaka, Takashi Ikeda, Mariko Osaka

Animated movements of simple geometric shapes can readily be interpreted as depicting social events in which animate agents are engaged in intentional activity. However, the brain regions associated with such intention have not been clearly elucidated. In this study, intentional bias was manipulated using shape and pattern animations while measuring associated brain activity using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-five higher-intention involved and twenty-five lower-intention involved animations were presented to participants. Behavioral results showed that the degree of agency attribution of the mental state increased as intentional involvement increased. fMRI results revealed that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS), inferior temporal gyrus (ITG), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), premotor, temporal pole, supramarginal gyrus, and superior parietal lobule (SPL) were activated while participants viewed the high-intention animations. In contrast, occipital, lingual, and middle frontal gyri were activated while the participants viewed the low-intention animations. These findings suggest that as agent attribution increases, the visual brain changes its functional role to the intentional brain and becomes a flexible network for processing information about social interaction.