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Dr. Johannes Schultz

E-Mail: johannes.schultz

 

Picture of Schultz, Johannes, Dr.

Johannes Schultz

Position: Guest Scientist  Unit: Alumni Bülthoff

 


I study the neural basis of visual perception and cognition, using psychophysics and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) in humans. My main research interest can be described as "social vision", that is, visual processes involved in social interactions. I am particularly interested in the motion of objects and faces, as motion contains important information about the nature and the actions of the moving entity. For an example of a study on the effect of motion on object shape perception and processing, see here. My main projects at the moment are: 1) how simple shapes appear animate (i.e. alive) through their motion (example publications here and here), and 2) how the brain processes moving or dynamic faces (example here).

 

As of September 2012, I am a lecturer (assistant professor) at the Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK (see my new webpage here). Together with Isabelle Bülthoff, I used to lead the Recognition and Categorisation group of the department Human Perception, Cognition and Action. I sill collaborate with members of the group on several projects:


A less active interest of mine is the influence of experience on attentional bias (example here).

 

For citation information please click here.

 

Processing of biological movements by the human brain

 

Introduction

For human beings, the movements of living creatures are an important and at times vital source of information. Biological movements can be used to identify moving things as alive, can tell us about what goals they are pursuing or what they feel and thus help us decide how to interact with them. However, between simply detecting “aliveness” or animacy in a moving object and processing and categorizing subtle facial movements, there is a whole range of processing at work and little is known about the brain mechanisms involved, and even less is known about their dysfunctions.

 

Goals

Our goal is to understand how the human visual system processes biological movements, in their simplest to most complex manifestations. Specific goals include finding which brain regions are involved in general and which are specific to particular kinds of biological motion, how the different kinds of information conveyed by face motion are processed by the face processing network, and how subtle but behaviorally relevant differences in facial motion are differentiated and represented.

 

Methods

We take great care to use highly controlled, parametric stimuli in all our experiments. For example, we have created movement algorithms that make a single dot appear animate or not with minimal context information, while keeping low-level motion characteristics almost identical [Figure 1A]. Regarding facial motion, we parametrically varied frame rate and frame order to separate static information from meaningful, fluid motion [Figure 1B]. These stimuli are used in classical psychophysical and functional brain imaging experiments. Representations of biological movements with a high variability are studied using multivariate analysis methods applied to both psychophysical and brain imaging data. While we mostly study the healthy population, we start looking at deficits in detection of animacy and social interactions from biological movements in Autism. Students and researchers at the MPI and in several other institutions collaborate in these projects.


Figure 1

Figure 1 A) Animacy judgments about a single moving dot as a function of the motion parameter controlling the dots movement equation. Black lines show mean ratings over all subjects and fitted cumulative gaussian, grey lines show ratings of each subject (N=20). B) Perceived fluidity of the facial motion in movies presented at different frame rates, with frames either in correct or in scrambled order (mean over 10 subjects). The latter stimuli are controls with the same amount of static information but no fluid motion.

 

Initial results and conclusions

Our results indicate that the superior temporal sulcus (STS) plays a central role in processing most kinds of biological motion as expected from previous work [Figure 2A], with the notable exception of animate-looking single moving objects. We found that facial motion boosts the response of face-selective regions involved in processing face identity [1,2] [Figure 2B], prompting a follow-up study asking whether idiosyncratic facial motion carrying identity information is directly analysed in these regions. Another new finding is that frontal regions show a stronger categorical response than STS to animate-looking moving objects [3] [Figure 2C], disproving the hypothesis that STS is a universal life-detector. Lastly, results from our Autism study reveal dysfunctions in identification of interacting moving objects, but not in processing isolated, animate-looking objects [4]. We are currently working on confirming and following up on these results and are working on updates of current theories to fit our findings.


Figure 1

Figure 2 A) Brain regions with BOLD response increasing with fluidity of facial motion are shown in red. Strongest and widest response is observed in STS. B) BOLD response in the fusiform face area of the right hemisphere to facial motion stimuli with different frame rates and frame orders. Results show a stronger response to stimuli with multiple frames (5, 12.5 and 25 Hz) than to a single frame (1 Hz), with a stronger response to ordered than to scrambled frames at higher frame rates. C) Cluster of voxels showing a categorical response to animacy stimuli.

 

References

1.  Schultz J and Pilz KS (2009) Natural facial motion enhances cortical responses to faces. Experimental Brain Research 194(3) 465-475.

2.  Schultz J, Brockhaus M, Bülthoff HH and Pilz KS (2011) What the human brain likes about facial motion. Submitted.

3.  Schultz J and Bülthoff, HH (2011) Brain regions involved in detection of animacy from a single moving object. In preparation.

4.  David N, Schultz J, Milne E, Schunke O, Schöttle D, Münchau A, Vogeley K, Siegel M, Engel AK (2011) Selective alteration of social-interactive motion signal detection in autism spectrum disorders. In preparation.

Since Sept 2012: Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK.

Oct 2010 - Sept 2012: co-project leader of the recognition and Categorisation group in Prof. Buelthoff's department.

Oct 2004 - Sept 2012: post-doctoral Research Scientist in Prof. Bülthoff's department at the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. Funding: Max-Planck Society.

2004: Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience at University College London, UK. Topic: perception of complex movements in humans investigated using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and psychophysics. Supervisors: Chris D. Frith and Daniel M. Wolpert.

2000: Diploma in Medicine at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Additional courses and training in Experimental Psychology, Neuropsychology and Molecular Biology.

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Articles (14):

Esins J Person, Schultz J Person, Bülthoff I Person and Kennerknecht I (September-2014) Galactose uncovers face recognition and mental images in congenital prosopagnosia: The first case report Nutritional Neuroscience 17(5) 239-240.
Dobs K Person, Bülthoff I Person, Breidt M Person, Vuong QC Person, Curio C Person and Schultz J Person (July-2014) Quantifying human sensitivity to spatio-temporal information in dynamic faces Vision Research 100 78–87.
David N , Schultz J Person, Milne E , Schunke O , Schöttle D , Münchau A , Siegel M , Vogeley K and Engel AK (June-2014) Right Temporoparietal Gray Matter Predicts Accuracy of Social Perception in the Autism Spectrum Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44(6) 1433-1446.
Schultz J Person, Brockhaus M Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Pilz K Person (May-2013) What the Human Brain Likes About Facial Motion Cerebral Cortex 23(5) 1167-1178.
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Schultz J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (March-2013) Parametric animacy percept evoked by a single moving dot mimicking natural stimuli Journal of Vision 13(4:15) 1-19.
Helbig HB Person, Ernst MO Person, Ricciardi E Person, Pietrini P , Thielscher A Person, Mayer KM Person, Schultz J Person and Noppeney U Person (April-2012) The neural mechanisms of reliability weighted integration of shape information from vision and touch NeuroImage 60(2) 1063–1072.
Schultz J Person (March-2010) Brain Imaging: Decoding Your Memories Current Biology 20(6) R269-R271.
Schultz J Person and Lennert T Person (May-2009) BOLD signal in intraparietal sulcus covaries with magnitude of implicitly driven attention shifts NeuroImage 45(4) 1314-1328.
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Schultz J Person and Pilz KS Person (April-2009) Natural facial motion enhances cortical responses to faces Experimental Brain Research 194(3) 465-475.
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Schultz J Person, Chuang L Person and Vuong QC Person (June-2008) A dynamic object-processing network: Metric shape discrimination of dynamic objects by activation of occipito-temporal, parietal and frontal cortex Cerebral Cortex 18(6) 1302-1313.
Schultz J Person, Friston K , Wolpert D and Frith C (February-2005) Activation in posterior superior temporal sulcus parallels parameter inducing the percept of animacy Neuron 45(4) 625-635.
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Schultz J Person, Imamizu H , Kawato M and Frith C (December-2004) Activation of the human superior temporal gyrus during observation of goal attribution by intentional objects Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16(10) 1695-1705.
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Schultz J Person, Sebanz N and Frith C (October-2004) Conscious will in the absence of ghosts, hypnotists, and other people Behavioural and Brain Sciences 27(5) 674-675.
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O'Doherty J , Dayan P , Schultz J Person, Deichmann R , Friston K and Dolan RJ (April-2004) Dissociable roles of ventral and dorsal striatum in instrumental conditioning Science 304(5669) 452-454.

Posters (46):

Esins J Person, Bülthoff I Person and Schultz J Person (May-21-2014): Facial motion does not help face recognition in congenital prosopagnosics, 14th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2014), St. Pete Beach, FL, USA.
Dobs K Person, Schultz J Person, Bülthoff I Person and Gardner JL (November-10-2013): Attending to expression or identity of dynamic faces engages different cortical areas, 43rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2013), San Diego, CA, USA.
Kaulard K Person, Schultz JW Person, Bülthoff H Person and de la Rosa S Person (August-2013): How we evaluate what we see - the interplay between the perceptual and conceptual structure of facial expressions, 36th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2013), Bremen, Germany, Perception, 42(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 192.
Dobs K Person, Bülthoff I Person, Breidt M Person, Vuong QC Person, Curio C Person and Schultz JW Person (August-2013): Quantifying Human Sensitivity to Spatio-Temporal Information in Dynamic Faces, 36th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2013), Bremen. Germany, Perception, 42(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 197.
Schultz JW Person, Bülthoff H Person and Kaulard K Person (August-2013): Signs of predictive coding in dynamic facial expression processing, 36th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2013), Bremen, Germany, Perception, 42(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 55.
Esins J Person, Schultz J Person, Kim BR , Wallraven C Person and Bülthoff I Person (November-2012): Comparing the other race effect and congenital prosopagnosia using a three-experiment test battery, 13th Conference of the Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNA 2012), Schramberg, Germany.
Esins J Person, Bülthoff I Person, Kennerknecht I and Schultz J Person (September-2012): Can a test battery reveal subgroups in congenital prosopagnosia?, 35th European Conference on Visual Perception, Alghero, Italy, Perception, 41(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 113.
Kaulard K Person, Schultz J Person, Wallraven C Person, Bülthoff HH Person and de la Rosa S Person (September-2012): Inverting natural facial expressions puzzles you, 35th European Conference on Visual Perception, Alghero, Italy, Perception, 41(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 103.
Dobs K Person, Bülthoff I Person, Curio C Person and Schultz J Person (August-2012): Investigating factors influencing the perception of identity from facial motion, 12th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2012), Naples, FL, USA, Journal of Vision, 12(9) 35.
Esins J Person, Schultz J Person, Kim BR , Wallraven C Person and Bülthoff I Person (July-2012): Comparing the other-race-effect and congenital Prosopagnosia using a three-experiment test battery, 8th Asia-Pacific Conference on Vision (APCV 2012), Incheon, South Korea, i-Perception, 3(9) 688.
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Pape A-A Person, Wolbers T , Schultz J Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (November-2011): Grid cell remapping in humans, 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2011), Washington, DC, USA.
Pape A-A Person, Wolbers T , Schultz J Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (October-2011): Grid cell remapping in humans, 12th Conference of Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNA 2011), Heiligkreuztal, Germany.
Schultz J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (September-2011): How does the brain identify living things based on their motion?, 11th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2011), Naples, FL, USA, Journal of Vision, 11(11) 682.
Dobs K Person, Kleiner M Person, Bülthoff I Person, Schultz J Person and Curio C Person (September-2011): Investigating idiosyncratic facial dynamics with motion retargeting, 34th European Conference on Visual Perception, Toulouse, France, Perception, 40(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 115.
Esins J Person, Bülthoff I Person and Schultz J Person (September-2011): The role of featural and configural information for perceived similarity between faces, 11th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2011), Naples, FL, USA, Journal of Vision, 11(11) 673.
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Kaulard K Person, Fernandez Cruz AL Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Schultz J Person (September-2011): Uncovering the principles that allow a distinction of conversational facial expressions, 11th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2011), Naples, FL, USA, Journal of Vision, 11(11) 605.
Kaulard K Person, de la Rosa S Person, Schultz J Person, Fernandez Cruz AL Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Wallraven C Person (September-2011): What are the properties underlying similarity judgments of facial expressions?, 34th European Conference on Visual Perception, Toulouse, France, Perception, 40(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 115.
Schultz J Person, Brockhaus M Person and Pilz K Person (September-2011): What human brain regions like about moving faces?, 34th European Conference on Visual Perception, Toulouse, France, Perception, 40(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 116.
David N , Schultz J Person, Vogeley K and Engel A (April-2011): Individuals with autism are impaired in social animacy perception but not in lower-level animacy or coherent motion perception, The Social Brain Workshop 2011, Cambridge, UK.
David N , Schultz J Person, Vogeley K and Engel A (March-2011): Individuals with Autism Show a Selective Deficit for the Understanding of Interacting Animated Objects, 18th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS 2011), San Francisco, CA, USA, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(Supplement) 64.
Sigala Alanis GR Person, Schultz J Person, Logothetis NK Person and Rainer G Person (November-2010): "Own-species" bias in the categorical representation of a human/monkey continuum in the human and non-human primate temporal lobe, 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2010), San Diego, CA, USA.
Schultz J Person, Brockhaus M Person and Pilz K Person (November-2010): What human brain regions like about moving faces, 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2010), San Diego, CA, USA.
Schultz J Person (August-2010): On the role of attention and eye movements for the perception of animacy from a single moving object, 33rd European Conference on Visual Perception, Lausanne, Switzerland, Perception, 39(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 19.
Schillinger F Person, de la Rosa S Person, Schultz J Person and Uludag K (August-2010): Whole-brain fMRI using repetition suppression between action and perception reveals cortical areas with mirror neuron properties, 33rd European Conference on Visual Perception, Lausanne, Switzerland, Perception, 39(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 54.
Sigala R Person, Schultz J Person, Logothetis NK Person and Rainer G Person (June-2010): Categorical Representation of a Human/Monkey Face Continum in the Human and Non-Human Primate Temporal Lobe, AREADNE 2010: Research in Encoding And Decoding of Neural Ensembles, Santorini, Greece.
Schultz J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (June-2010): How does the brain identify living things based on their motion?, 16th Annual Meeting of the Organisation for Human Brain Mapping (HBM 2010), Barcelona, Spain.
Schultz J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (October-2009): How does the brain identify living things based on their motion?, 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2009), Chicago, IL, USA.
Schultz J Person and Lennert T Person (August-2009): BOLD signal in intraparietal sulcus covaries with magnitude of implicitly driven attention shifts, 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception, Regensburg, Germany, Perception, 38(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 137.
Schultz J Person and Dopjans L Person (August-2008): Perception of animacy from a single moving object, 31st European Conference on Visual Perception, Utrecht, Netherlands, Perception, 37(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 154.
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Schultz J Person, Cohen MX , Haupt S , Bülthoff HH Person and Elger C (November-2007): Intracranial electrophysiological correlates in humans during observation of animate-looking moving objects, 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2007), San Diego, CA, USA.
Schultz J Person, Lennert T Person and Bülthoff HH Person (July-2007): Updating of Attention Allocation in Parietal Cortex, 10th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2007), Tübingen, Germany.
Schultz J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (October-2006): Neural correlates of attentional modulation induced by trial history, 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2006), Atlanta, GA, USA.
Conrad V Person, McDonald JS Person and Schultz J Person (August-2006): Breaking the stability of perceptual instability: Temporal dynamics of ambiguous figure reversal and interference from distractor patterns, 29th European Conference on Visual Perception, St. Petersburg, Perception, 35(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 101-102.
Vuong QC Person, Schultz J Person and Chuang L Person (August-2006): Human perception and recognition of metric changes of part-based dynamic novel objects, 29th European Conference on Visual Perception, St. Petersburg, Russia, Perception, 35(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 99.
Schultz J Person and de Vignemont F (March-2006): A Model of Theory-Of-Mind Based on Action Prediction, 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006), Tübingen, Germany.
McDonald JS Person and Schultz J Person (March-2006): The Visual System's Representation of Natural Images, 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006), Tübingen, Germany.
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Last updated: Friday, 17.01.2014