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The sensory-motor specificity of taxonomic and thematic conceptual relations: a behavioral and fMRI study.

Abstract : Previous behavioral data suggest that the salience of taxonomic (e.g., hammer-saw) and thematic (e.g., hammer-nail) conceptual relations depends on object categories. Furthermore, taxonomic and thematic relations would be differentially grounded in the sensory-motor system. Using a picture matching task, we asked adult participants to identify taxonomic and thematic relations for non-manipulable and manipulable natural and artifact targets (e.g., animals, fruit, tools and vehicles, respectively) inside and outside a 3 T MR scanner. Behavioral data indicated that taxonomic relations are identified faster in natural objects while thematic relations are processed faster in artifacts, particularly manipulable ones (e.g., tools). Neuroimaging findings revealed that taxonomic processing specifically activates the bilateral visual areas (cuneus, BA 18), particularly for non-manipulable natural objects (e.g., animals). On the contrary, thematic processing specifically recruited a bilateral temporo-parietal network including the inferior parietal lobules (IPL, BA 40) and middle temporal gyri (MTG, BA 39/21/22). Left IPL and MTG activation was stronger for manipulable than for non-manipulable artifacts (e.g., tools vs. vehicles) during thematic processing. Right IPL and MTG activation was greater for both artifacts compared to natural objects during thematic processing (manipulable and non-manipulable ones, e.g., tools and vehicles). While taxonomic relations would selectively rely on perceptual similarity processing, thematic relations would specifically activate visuo-motor regions involved in action and space processing. In line with embodied views of concepts, our findings show that taxonomic and thematic conceptual relations are based on different sensory-motor processes. It suggests that they may have different roles in concept formation and processing depending on object categories.
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Contributor : Michel Dojat Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 6:48:34 PM
Last modification on : Monday, April 11, 2022 - 1:16:03 PM




Solène Kalénine, Carole Peyrin, Cédric Pichat, Christoph Segebarth, Françoise Bonthoux, et al.. The sensory-motor specificity of taxonomic and thematic conceptual relations: a behavioral and fMRI study.. NeuroImage, Elsevier, 2009, 44 (3), pp.1152-62. ⟨10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.09.043⟩. ⟨inserm-00398789⟩



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