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The MMN to action words: a step towards a neurophysiology of word meaning?
In: MMN03, Third International Workshop on Mismatch Negativity and Auditory Functions and Dysfunctions, Lyon, France, p. 29
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The processing of action words recruits prefrontal, pre-motor and central motor areas related to action planning and execution. Recent evidence from multimodal neuroimaging indicates that this activation depends on semantic features of action words. We have used the MMN and its magnetic equivalent, MMNm, to investigate the time course of fronto-central activation elicited by action words presented acoustically. MMN(m) topographies differed between action words referring to actions carried out with different body parts. Minimum-Norm Current Estimates revealed that specific fronto-central action-related areas became active 150-200 ms after word recognition. We ask whether the word-specific fronto-central activation to action words may reflect the processing of word meaning (reference) and may provide clues about the cortical distribution of the neuronal assemblies, or memory traces, processing words. We further discuss our results in the light of language-related MMN research in order to draw conclusions on the time course of lexical, semantic and syntactic activation in the human brain.