I am happy to share the visual stimuli described below for use in scientific research. If you would like to do so, then please contact me by email with your request: a.p.atkinson at

Body Movement Stimuli

Emotional Expressions

In one line of research, we are investigating the ability of neurologically intact and brain-damaged participants to perceive and recognize basic emotions from body movements and postures, in both full-light and point-light (or patch-light) conditions. The development of a large set of stimuli, as well as the initial recognition and intensity rating data for these stimuli, were reported in the following article:

Atkinson, A.P., Dittrich, W.H., Gemmell, A.J., & Young, A.W. (2004). Emotion perception from dynamic and static body expressions in point-light and full-light displays. Perception, 33, 717-746.

Here’s an example patch-light body expression of emotion used in this study.

For a subsequent study that employed slightly modified versions of these stimuli, see:

Atkinson, A.P., Tunstall, M.L., & Dittrich, W.H. (2007). Evidence for distinct contributions of form and motion information to the recognition of emotions from body gestures. Cognition, 104, 59-72.

This latter study examined the effects on emotion recognition of inverting the whole-body emotional gestures and/ or reversing the direction of their motion. See below for example stimuli used in this study.

More recently, we have developed point-light versions of these stimuli, which we have used in several studies. To create these latest stimuli, we tracked from frame to frame the x-y coordinates of the centre of the patches in the patch-light displays, and then created images consisting of small dots at each recorded x-y coordinate. Thanks to Dr. Hannah Smithson and Craig Douglas. The development of these versions of the stimuli and their use in a fMRI study were reported in:

Atkinson, A. P., Vuong, Q. C., & Smithson, H. E. (2012). Modulation of the face- and body-selective visual regions by the motion and emotion of point-light face and body stimuli. Neuroimage, 59(2), 1700-1712.

Here are some example movie clips:

The Perception of Personality Traits from Gait

We have also developed a set of point-light stimuli that we used to assess the perception of personality traits from the way people walk. See

Thoresen, J. C., Vuong, Q. C., & Atkinson, A. P. (2012). First impressions: Gait cues drive reliable trait judgements. Cognition, 124(3), 261-271.

Here are some example movie clips: