The present study aimed to further explore the mechanisms underlying the perception of human body shapes. Behavioral and electrophysiological inversion effects were studied for human bodies with and without heads and for animal bodies (cats, dogs, and birds). Recognition of human bodies (with heads) was adversely affected by stimulus inversion, and the N170 had longer latencies and higher amplitudes for inverted compared to upright human bodies. Human body shapes presented without heads yielded the opposite result pattern. The data for animal bodies did not yield consistent effects. Taken together, the present findings suggest that human bodies might be processed by specialized cortical mechanisms which are at least partly dissociable from mechanisms involved in object or face processing.

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