EEG frequency tagging dissociates between neural processing of motion synchrony and human quality of multiple point-light dancers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Do we perceive a group of dancers moving in synchrony differently from a group of drones flying in-sync? The brain has dedicated networks for perception of coherent motion and interacting human bodies. However, it is unclear to what extent the underlying neural mechanisms overlap. Here we delineate these mechanisms by independently manipulating the degree of motion synchrony and the humanoid quality of multiple point-light displays (PLDs). Four PLDs moving within a group were changing contrast in cycles of fixed frequencies, which permits the identification of the neural processes that are tagged by these frequencies. In the frequency spectrum of the steady-state EEG we found two emergent frequency components, which signified distinct levels of interactions between PLDs. The first component was associated with motion synchrony, the second with the human quality of the moving items. These findings indicate that visual processing of synchronously moving dancers involves two distinct neural mechanisms: one for the perception of a group of items moving in synchrony and one for the perception of a group of moving items with human quality. We propose that these mechanisms underlie high-level perception of social interactions.


External organisations
  • Catholic University of Leuven
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Brain/physiology, Brain Waves, Electroencephalography/methods, Female, Humans, Male, Motion Perception/physiology, Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology, Photic Stimulation, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44012
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 8
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes