No specific role for the manual motor system in processing the meanings of words related to the hand

Postle, N., Ashton, R., McFarland, K., & de Zubicaray, G. I. (2013) No specific role for the manual motor system in processing the meanings of words related to the hand. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(11), pp. 1-17.

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The present study explored whether semantic and motor systems are functionally interwoven via the use of a dual-task paradigm. According to embodied language accounts that propose an automatic and necessary involvement of the motor system in conceptual processing, concurrent processing of hand-related information should interfere more with hand movements than processing of unrelated body-part (i.e., foot, mouth) information. Across three experiments, 100 right-handed participants performed left- or right-hand tapping movements while repeatedly reading action words related to different body-parts, or different body-part names, in both aloud and silent conditions. Concurrent reading of single words related to specific body-parts, or the same words embedded in sentences differing in syntactic and phonological complexity (to manipulate context-relevant processing), and reading while viewing videos of the actions and body-parts described by the target words (to elicit visuomotor associations) all interfered with right-hand but not left-hand tapping rate. However, this motor interference was not affected differentially by hand-related stimuli. Thus, the results provide no support for proposals that body-part specific resources in cortical motor systems are shared between overt manual movements and meaning-related processing of words related to the hand.

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ID Code: 85818
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Action representations, Embodied language, Motor system, Word meaning
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00011
ISSN: 1662-5161
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Postle, Ashton, Mcfarland and de Zubicaray.
Copyright Statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
Deposited On: 28 Sep 2015 06:44
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2015 05:48

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