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Malyutina, Svetlana; Dragoy, Olga; Ivanova, Maria; Laurinavichyute, Anna; Petrushevsky, Alexey; Meindl, Thomas; Pöppel, Ernst; Gutyrchik, Evgeny (2016): Fishing is not wrestling: Neural underpinnings of the verb instrumentality effect. In: Journal of Neurolinguistics, Vol. 40: pp. 37-54
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Abstract

Previous clinical research has shown a positive effect of instrumentality on verb retrieval in individuals with aphasia. Performance on instrumental verbs incorporating an obligatory tool into their conceptual representation (e.g., to cut) is more accurate compared to non instrumental verbs (e.g., to tear), possibly due to more specific conceptual representations of instrumental verbs. Seeking the neural correlates of the differences between instrumental and non-instrumental verbs, we conducted an fMRI study with 16 German speakers who performed a verb-object matching task with instrumental and non instrumental verbs. We found that an extensive neural network. including but not limited to frontal and temporal language-related areas was more involved in the semantic processing of non-instrumental compared to instrumental verbs. We argue that this reflects a greater load associated with the processing of less semantically structured/restricted representations of non-instrumental verbs. The unavailability of additional neural resources needed for the processing of non-instrumental verbs in individuals with aphasia may lead to better behavioral performance on instrumental than non instrumental verbs. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.