Claudia Scorolli

The Role of Primary Motor Cortex During Abstract and Concrete Sentences Processing

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To explore the role of primary motor cortex during abstract(A) and concrete(C) sentences comprehension we conducted a transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Participants had to judge the sensibility of quadruples obtained combining a C verb with a C noun and with an A noun, and an A verb with the nouns previously used. The pulse was delivered 250 ms after the verb or noun appearance. Congruent combinations were processed faster than the mixed ones, in line with the idea that C and A words are processed in parallel systems. Besides with sentences containing C verbs participants were faster when the pulse was on the verb than on the noun; with sentences containing A verbs we did not find any modulation. An amodal theory does not predict a specific modulation of the kind of verb; a strictly modal theory predicts a modulation but regardless of the kind of verb. Both the predictions are not supported by the data, which are in favour of theories based on multiple types of representations.

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