Seeking a bridge between language and motor cortices: A PPI study

Marta Maieron, Dario Marin, Franco Fabbro, Miran Skrap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relation between the sensorimotor cortex and the language network has been widely discussed but still remains controversial. Two independent theories compete to explain how this area is involved during action-related verbs processing. The embodied view assumes that action word representations activate sensorimotor representations which are accessed when an action word is processed or when an action is observed. The abstract hypothesis states that the mental representations of words are abstract and independent of the objects, sensorimotor properties they refer to. We combined neuropsychological and fMRI-PPI connectivity data, to address action- related verbs processing in neurosurgical patients with lesions involving (N=5) or sparing (N=5) the primary motor cortex and healthy controls (N=12). A lack of significant changes in the functional coupling between the left M1 cortex and functional nodes of the linguistic network during the verb generation task was found for all the groups. In addition, we found that the ability to perform an action verb naming task was not related to a damaged M1. These data showed that there was not a task-specific functional interaction active between M1 and the inferior frontal gyrus. We will discuss how these findings indicate that action words do not automatically activate the M1 cortex; we suggest rather that its enrolment could be related to other not strictly linguistic processing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2013


  • Connectivity
  • Healthy controls
  • Language network
  • PPI
  • Sensorimotor cortex
  • Tumor patiens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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