Literal, fictive and metaphorical motion sentences preserve the motion component of the verb: A TMS study

C. Cacciari, N. Bolognini, I. Senna, M. C. Pellicciari, C. Miniussi, C. Papagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to assess whether reading literal, non-literal (i.e., metaphorical, idiomatic) and fictive motion sentences modulates the activity of the motor system. Sentences were divided into three segments visually presented one at a time: the noun phrase, the verb and the final part of the sentence. Single pulse-TMS was delivered at the end of the sentence over the leg motor area in the left hemisphere and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the right gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior muscles. MEPs were larger when participants were presented with literal, fictive and metaphorical motion sentences than with idiomatic motion or mental sentences. These results suggest that the excitability of the motor system is modulated by the motor component of the verb, which is preserved in fictive and metaphorical motion sentences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Language
Volume119
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Fictive motion
  • Idiom
  • Metaphor
  • Motion verb
  • Motor evoked potentials
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics

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