The Neurocomplimenter is a new project designed to counter gratuitous anti-neuroscience sentiment. It’s part of my campaign to combat pop neurobashing profiteers.
After seven years of critical neuroblogging, it’s time to highlight the positives:
The project started with two inaugural posts hosted at a different locale:
I'd like to briefly highlight the Language Embodiment post, which drew a nice comment from one of the authors:
Motor Cortex and Monkeys are Responsive to Statistical Regularities of Letter Strings
A cool new study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience questions the notion that the premotor cortex response to action words is due to implicit motor simulation (de Zubicaray et al., 2013). Previously, the conceptual representation and/or simulation of action words in motor regions of the brain has been taken as evidence for embodied theories of language comprehension (Glenberg & Kaschak, 2002). These theories have been based on fMRI and EEG experiments showing that reading or listening to verbs that depict actions of the face, arm or leg activate somatotopically-specific regions of motor cortex (Hauk et al., 2004).
Their novel fMRI study showed that the motor cortex response to action verbs was actually due to ortho-phonologic probabilistic cues to grammatical class (de Zubicaray et al., 2013). In other words, the spelling and pronunciation of word endings influenced activity in motor regions of the brain. This does present a problem for grounded theories of language comprehension...
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