Action and object processing in aphasia: From nouns and verbs to the effect of manipulability

A. Arévalo, D. Perani, S. F. Cappa, A. Butler, E. Bates, Nina Dronkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


The processing of words and pictures representing actions and objects was tested in 21 aphasic patients and 20 healthy controls across three word production tasks: picture-naming (PN), single word reading (WR) and word repetition (WRP). Analysis 1 targeted task and lexical category (noun-verb), revealing worse performance on PN and verb items for both patients and control participants. For Analysis 2 we used data collected in a concurrent gesture norming study to re-categorize the noun-verb items along hand imagery parameters (i.e., objects that can/cannot be manipulated and actions which do/do not involve fine hand movements). Here, patients displayed relative difficulty with the 'manipulable' items, while controls displayed the opposite pattern. Therefore, whereas the noun-verb distinction resulted simply in lower verb accuracy across groups, the 'manipulability' distinction revealed a 'double-dissociation' between patients and control participants. These results carry implications for theories of embodiment, lexico-semantic dissociations, and the organization of meaning in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Aphasia
  • Double-dissociation
  • Embodiment
  • Manipulability
  • Noun-verb processing
  • Picture-naming
  • Word-reading
  • Word-repetition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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