How the motor system handles nouns: A behavioral study

Barbara F M Marino, Patricia M. Gough, Vittorio Gallese, Lucia Riggio, Giovanni Buccino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is an open question whether the motor system is involved during understanding of concrete nouns, as it is for concrete verbs. To clarify this issue, we carried out a behavioral experiment using a go-no go paradigm with an early and delayed go-signal delivery. Italian nouns referring to concrete objects (hand-related or foot-related) and abstract entities served as stimuli. Right-handed participants read the stimuli and responded when the presented word was concrete using the left or right hand. At the early go-signal, slower right-hand responses were found for hand-related nouns compared to foot-related nouns. The opposite pattern was found for the left hand. These findings demonstrate an early lateralized modulation of the motor system during noun processing, most likely crucial for noun comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-73
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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