How do conceptual representations interact with processing demands: An fMRI study on action- and abstract-related words

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This fMRI study investigated the functional mechanisms related to mental simulation of abstract- and action-related words and measured the effect of the type of stimulus (Abstract vs. action verbs) and the type of task (imagery vs. control task) to explore how conceptual representations interact with processing demands. A significant task by stimuli interaction showed that action-related words activated the left sensorimotor cortex during explicit imagery (as compared to the control task), whereas abstract-related verbs did not automatically activate this area. Rather, as we made sure that Abstract verbs were not associated with motor states (as tested in a rating study of our stimulus list), imagery elicited by abstract verb processing (as compared to Action verbs, and controlled for letter detection) differentially activated a right hemisphere neural network including the right supramarginal (SMG) gyrus and the precuneus which might be related to mental imagery of emotion-related scenes and not to the semantics of the stimuli per se. Our results confirmed the view that the activation of the sensorimotor cortex during language processing of abstract- and action-related words is strategy-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Research
Volume1591
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Cognitive strategies
  • Mental imagery
  • Word representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

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