Action word meaning representations in cytoarchitectonically defined primary and premotor cortices

Postle, N., McMahon, K. L., Ashton, R., Meredith, M., & de Zubicaray, G. I. (2008) Action word meaning representations in cytoarchitectonically defined primary and premotor cortices. NeuroImage, 43(3), pp. 634-644.

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Recent models of language comprehension have assumed a tight coupling between the semantic representations of action words and cortical motor areas. We combined functional MRI with cytoarchitectonically defined probabilistic maps of left hemisphere primary and premotor cortices to analyse responses of functionally delineated execution- and observation-related regions during comprehension of action word meanings associated with specific effectors (e.g., punch, bite or stomp) and processing of items with various levels of lexical information (non body part-related meanings, nonwords, and visual character strings). The comprehension of effector specific action word meanings did not elicit preferential activity corresponding to the somatotopic organisation of effectors in either primary or premotor cortex. However, generic action word meanings did show increased BOLD signal responses compared to all other classes of lexical stimuli in the pre-SMA. As expected, the majority of the BOLD responses elicited by the lexical stimuli were in association cortex adjacent to the motor areas. We contrast our results with those of previous studies reporting significant effects for only 1 or 2 effectors outside cytoarchitectonically defined motor regions and discuss the importance of controlling for potentially confounding lexical variables such as imageability. We conclude that there is no strong evidence for a somatotopic organisation of action word meaning representations and argue the pre-SMA might have a role in maintaining abstract representations of action words as instructional cues.

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ID Code: 85819
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Cited By :86
Export Date: 17 July 2015
Keywords: Language comprehension, Mirror neurons, Motor function, Semantic memory, Somatotopy, Verbs
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.08.006
ISSN: 1095-9572
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 31 Jul 2015 02:55
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 01:40

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