The role of the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex in action verb comprehension

Evidence from Granger causality analysis

Jie Yang*, Hua Shu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although numerous studies find the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex are involved in action language comprehension, so far the nature of these motor effects is still in controversy. Some researchers suggest that the motor effects reflect that the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex make functional contributions to the semantic access of action verbs, while other authors argue that the motor effects are caused by comprehension. In the current study, we used Granger causality analysis to investigate the roles of the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex in processing of manual-action verbs. Regions of interest were selected in the primary motor cortex (M1) and the premotor cortex based on a hand motion task, and in the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (lexical semantic area) based on the reading task effect. We found that (1) the left posterior middle temporal gyrus had a causal influence on the left M1; and (2) the left posterior middle temporal gyrus and the left premotor cortex had bidirectional causal relations. These results suggest that the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex play different roles in manual verb comprehension. The premotor cortex may be involved in motor simulation that contributes to action language processing, while the primary motor cortex may be engaged in a processing stage influenced by the meaning access of manual-action verbs. Further investigation combining effective connectivity analysis and technique with high temporal resolution is necessary for better clarification of the roles of the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortex in action language comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Volume88
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

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