Poster B6, Thursday, August 16, 3:05 – 4:50 pm, Room 2000AB

Planning to manipulate virtual objects elicits activation of motor-related brain activity: evidence from ERPs in a CAVE automatic virtual environment

Cheryl Frenck-Mestre1,2, Ana Zappa1, Dierdre Bolger1, Jean Marie Pergandi1, Pierre Mallet1,2, Anne-Sophie Dubarry1,2, Daniel Mestre1,2;1Aix-Marseille Univ, 2Centre National de Recherche Scientifique

Numerous studies have shown that processing auditory or written verbs that denote an action elicit activation in the motor cortices responsible for the planning and execution of said movement. The question remains as to the timing of activation, however; does motor activation occur in parallel with lexical access or only as a subsequent by-product? To investigate this question, we recorded EEG from 20 participants in a GO/NOGO paradigm in a CAVE automatic virtual environment (CAVE). Participants listened to auditory verbs and either performed the action on subsequently presented virtual objects or not. We measured motor-related cortical activity, as reflected by desynchronization in the µ frequency bands (8-12 Hz), and ERP language related components during the auditory processing of the verb at frontal, central and centro-parietal electrodes. We compared activity elicited during GO trials (prior to actual movement) to that elicited by NOGO trials. For all trials, a clear pattern of language related ERPs was obtained (an N1/P2 complex followed by an N400). This first result provides proof of concept that recording EEG in a CAVE, under well controlled conditions, is feasible and can produce clear linguistic processing components. We are currently investigating whether our results also provide evidence of action-related µ suppression at centro-parietal sites during the processing of the linguistic stimuli, and whether it varied as a function of trial type (GO/NOGO). Greater action-related µ suppression during verb processing for GO trials, but prior to movement proper, would bolster the claim that sensory-motor processing is part and parcel of the conceptual representation of linguistic information.

Topic Area: Speech Motor Control and Sensorimotor Integration