Models of human cortex propose the existence of neuroanatomical pathways specialized for different behavioral functions. These pathways include a ventral pathway for object recognition, a dorsal pathway for performing visually guided physical actions, and a recently proposed third pathway for social perception. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that different categories of moving stimuli are differentially processed across the dorsal and third pathways according to their behavioral implications. Human participants (n = 30) were scanned with fMRI while viewing moving and static stimuli from four categories (faces, bodies, scenes, and objects). A whole-brain group analysis showed that moving bodies and moving objects increased neural responses in the bilateral posterior parietal cortex, parts of the dorsal pathway. By contrast, moving faces and moving bodies increased neural responses, the superior temporal sulcus, part of the third pathway. This pattern of results was also supported by a separate ROI analysis showing that moving stimuli produced more robust neural responses for all visual object categories, particularly in lateral and dorsal brain areas. Our results suggest that dynamic naturalistic stimuli from different categories are routed in specific visual pathways that process dissociable behavioral functions.

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