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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Jul;6(7):576-82.

Brain mechanisms linking language and action.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge CB2 2EF, UK.


For a long time the cortical systems for language and actions were believed to be independent modules. However, as these systems are reciprocally connected with each other, information about language and actions might interact in distributed neuronal assemblies. A critical case is that of action words that are semantically related to different parts of the body (for example, 'lick', 'pick' and 'kick'): does the comprehension of these words specifically, rapidly and automatically activate the motor system in a somatotopic manner, and does their comprehension rely on activity in the action system?

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