Conceptual knowledge accessed by language may involve the reactivation of the associated primary sensory-motor processes. Whether these embodied representations are indeed constitutive to conceptual knowledge is hotly debated, particularly since direct evidence that sensory-motor expertise can improve conceptual processing is scarce. In this study, we sought for this crucial piece of evidence, by training naive healthy subjects to perform complex manual actions and by measuring, before and after training, their performance in a semantic language task. Nineteen participants engaged in 3weeks of motor training. Each participant was trained in three complex manual actions (e.g., origami). Before and after the training period, each subject underwent a series of manual dexterity tests and a semantic language task.The latter consisted of a sentence-picture semantic congruency judgment task, with 6 target congruent sentence-picture pairs (semantically related to the trained manual actions), 6 non-target congruent pairs (semantically unrelated), and 12 ﬁller incongruent pairs. Manual action training induced a signiﬁcant improvement in all manual dexterity tests, demonstrating the successful acquisition of sensory-motor expertise. In the semantic language task, the reaction times (RTs) to both target and non-target congruent sentence-picture pairs decreased after action training, indicating a more efﬁcient conceptual-semantic processing. Noteworthy, the RTs for target pairs decreased more than those for non-target pairs, as indicated by the 2×2 interaction.These results were conﬁrmed when controlling for the potential bias of increased frequency of use of target lexicalitemsduringmanualtraining.Theresultsofthepresentstudysuggestthatsensorymotor expertise gained by training of speciﬁc manual actions can lead to an improvement of cognitive-linguistic skills related to the speciﬁc conceptual-semantic domain associated to the trained actions.
|Titolo:||Training of manual actions improves language understanding of semantically related actions sentences|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|