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 journalArticlepeer-review

59 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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