The mental simulation of state/psychological verbs in the adolescent brain: An fMRI study

Barbara Tomasino, Maria Nobile, Marta Re, Monica Bellina, Marco Garzitto, Filippo Arrigoni, Massimo Molteni, Franco Fabbro, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This fMRI study investigated mental simulation of state/psychological and action verbs during adolescence. Sixteen healthy subjects silently read verbs describing a motor scene or not (STIMULUS: motor, state/psychological verbs) and they were explicitly asked to imagine the situation or they performed letter detection preventing them from using simulation (TASK: imagery vs. letter detection). A significant task by stimuli interaction showed that imagery of state/psychological verbs, as compared to action stimuli (controlled by the letter detection) selectively increased activation in the right supramarginal gyrus/rolandic operculum and in the right insula, and decreased activation in the right intraparietal sulcus. We compared these data to those from a group of older participants (Tomasino et al. 2014a). Activation in the left supramarginal gyrus decreased for the latter group (as compared to the present group) for imagery of state/psychological verbs. By contrast, activation in the right superior frontal gyrus decreased for the former group (as compared to the older group) for imagery of state/psychological verbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Action, letter detection
  • Adolescence
  • Imagery
  • Insula
  • Neuroimaging
  • Operculum
  • Parietal lobe
  • Word representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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