Distinct Neural Response to Visual Perspective and Body Size in the Extrastriate Body Area

Mark Andrew Carey, Ruth Elizabeth Knight, Catherine Elizabeth Jane Preston

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Neuroimaging research has independently implicated the extrastriate body area (EBA) in distinguishing between different visual perspectives and morphologies of bodies within visual processing. However, the combined processing of these physical attributes towards neural EBA response remains unclear, and may be crucial in influencing higher-order, aesthetic evaluation of bodies. Indeed, EBA alterations amongst eating disorder patients have been associated with disturbances in body image, and disruption to EBA activity amongst healthy individuals shown to influence aesthetic evaluations made towards bodies. Therefore, the present study used images of slim and large female bodies viewed from egocentric and allocentric perspectives, to investigate neural EBA response in healthy females (N=30). In addition, participants provided behavioural aesthetic and weight evaluations of all model stimuli. Results revealed an interaction, bilaterally, between visual perspective and body size in EBA activity, with multi-voxel pattern analysis revealing distinct neural patterns between the four conditions. However, EBA activity did not relate to non-clinical eating disorder psychopathology. No direct relationship was found between EBA activity and behavioural evaluations of model stimuli; however, a whole brain analysis revealed that higher-order, prefrontal regions were associated with cognitive evaluations of large bodies. Taken together, our results suggest that the EBA is an integral core region in discriminating between multiple physical attributes of the body, which is likely to provide important information to higher-order brain regions which make aesthetic evaluations towards bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112063
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Early online date27 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

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