Poster A130, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Lateralization in Superior Temporal Sulcus Animal Representations: Motion and Social-Interactive Roles
nadeem dabbakeh1, Tyler Davis1; 1Texas Tech University
Superior temporal sulcus (STS) represents aspects of biological categories and is involved with processing biological motion and social perception. Although a number of fMRI studies have found evidence that animal categories are represented in the STS, which aspects of animal categories this region is sensitive to has not been firmly established. In the current study, we sought to test how different aspects of animal categories are represented in STS using multivoxel pattern analysis. We scanned participants while they viewed animals and rated their size, swimming ability, potential as a pet, and predacity. Searchlight representational similarity analysis (RSA) revealed possible laterality in terms of which aspects of animals the STS represents. The similarity space in the left STS tracked differences between animals on the swimming ratings, whereas both left and right STS tracked differences in pet ratings. Inconsistent with other recent results, we did not find significant associations between STS activation patterns and ratings of predacity. Altogether, these results suggest that the left STS may be involved in representing biological categories associated with motion, whereas the right STS may represent more social-relational properties of animals. These results are consistent with social neuroscience studies suggesting right lateralization of STS activation in theory of mind tasks and further suggest that judging social-relational aspects of animals, such as their worthiness as pets, may tap the same mechanisms used for human theory of mind judgments.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Semantic