Grip Force Is Part of the Semantic Representation of Manual Action Verbs

Victor Frak, Tatjana Nazir, Michel Goyette, Henri Cohen, Marc Jeannerod, Paul L. Gribble
2010 PLoS ONE  
Motor actions and action verbs activate similar cortical brain regions. A functional interference can be taken as evidence that there is a parallel treatment of these two types of information and would argue for the biological grounding of language in action. A novel approach examining the relationship between language and grip force is presented. With eyes closed and arm extended, subjects listened to words relating (verbs) or not relating (nouns) to a manual action while holding a cylinder
more » ... h an integrated force sensor. There was a change in grip force when subjects heard verbs that related to manual action. Grip force increased from about 100 ms following the verb presentation, peaked at 380 ms and fell abruptly after 400 ms, signalling a possible inhibition of the motor simulation evoked by these words. These observations reveal the intimate relationship that exists between language and grasp and show that it is possible to elucidate online new aspects of sensorimotor interaction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009728 pmid:20300535 pmcid:PMC2838801 fatcat:zt4rjvuasrdttoxvwwt32v2oru