Effect of motion smoothness on brain activity while observing a dance: An fmri study using a humanoid robot

Naoki Miura, Motoaki Sugiura, Makoto Takahashi, Yuko Sassa, Atsushi Miyamoto, Shigeru Sato, Kaoru Horie, Katsuki Nakamura, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Motion smoothness is critical in transmitting implicit information of body action, such as aesthetic qualities in dance performances. We expected that the perception of motion smoothness would be characterized by great intersubject variability deriving from differences in personal backgrounds and attitudes toward expressive body actions. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a humanoid robot to investigate the effects of the motion smoothness of expressive body actions and the intersubject variability due to personal attitudes on perceptions during dance observation. The effect of motion smoothness was analyzed by both conventional subtraction analysis and functional connectivity analyses that detect cortical networks reflecting intersubject variability. The results showed that the cortical networks of motion- and body-sensitive visual areas showed increases in activity in areas corresponding with motion smoothness, but the intersubject variability of personal attitudes toward art did not influence these active areas. In contrast, activation of cortical networks, including the parietofrontal network, has large intersubject variability, and this variability is associated with personal attitudes about the consciousness of art. Thus, our results suggest that activity in the cortical network involved in understanding action is influenced by personal attitudes about the consciousness of art during observations of expressive body actions

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-58
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb


  • Dance
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Intersubject variability
  • Motion smoothness
  • Parieto-frontal network


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