Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A number of researchers have proposed that the premotor and motor areas are critical for the representation of words that refer to actions, but not objects. Recent evidence against this hypothesis indicates that the left premotor cortex is more sensitive to grammatical differences than to conceptual differences between words. However, it may still be the case that other anterior motor regions are engaged in processing a word's sensorimotor features. In the present study, we used singleand paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation to test the hypothesis that left primary motor cortex is activated during the retrieval of words (nouns and verbs) associated with specific actions. We found that activation in the motor cortex increased for action words compared with non-action words, but was not sensitive to the grammatical category of the word being produced. These results complement previous findings and support the notion that producing a word activates some brain regions relevant to the sensorimotor properties associated with that word regardless of its grammatical category.