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Slide Slam J6 Sandbox Series

Investigating the functional relevance of cortical key nodes for action picture naming

Slide Slam Session J, Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 5:30 - 7:30 pm PDT Log In to set Timezone

Emma Ward1, Sonia L. E. Brownsett2,3, Katie L. McMahon1,4,5, Gesa Hartwigsen6,7, Greig I. de Zubicaray1; 1Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 2School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 3NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 4School of Clinical Sciences and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 5Herston Imaging Research Facility, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 6Department of Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, 04103 Leipzig, Germany, 7Lise Meitner Research Group Cognition and Plasticity, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

Previous neuroimaging and neurostimulation work suggests that the left ventral premotor cortex (vPMC) and the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS) play key roles in action understanding, particularly in relation to tool and object use in action words. However, their roles in intransitive actions (i.e. actions that do not involve objects) are less clear. In an experiment employing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), we explore the involvement of two cortical regions in intransitive action picture naming. In this experiment, twenty participants named intransitive action pictures (e.g. LAUGH), accompanied by repetitive TMS to the left vPMC, left IPS, and right superior parietal lobe (SPL; acting as control site). TMS was applied at 10Hz for 400ms, starting simultaneously with picture presentation. Within each session, ten intransitive pictures were presented 40 times each (400 trials per session, 200 for active TMS and 200 for sham). Three sessions were conducted on separate days, one per targeted region (vPMC, IPS, SPL). We expected that TMS applied to the vPMC would lead to delayed naming times of intransitive action pictures, but IPS stimulation would produce no effect on naming latencies. This study is still undergoing data acquisition (currently 95% complete), but full results will be presented at the 2021 meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. This research is expected to further our understanding of whether these regions are involved in the production of action words and the organisation of action meaning, with potential suggestions for what mechanisms might be operating in these regions.

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