Poster Session A, Saturday, March 23, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Comparing embodiment of action verbs in first and second language: a chronometric TMS study
Elisa Monaco1, Monica Lancheros Pompeyo1, Sylvain Harquel2,3, Eric Schmidlin4, Jean-Marie Annoni1,5; 1Laboratory for Cognitive and Neurological Sciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 2Laboratory of Psychology and NeuroCognition, National Center for Scientific Research, University of Grenoble Alpes, France, 3IRMAGE Neuroimaging facility, National Center for Scientific Research, University of Grenoble Alpes, France, 4Laboratory Of Neurophysiology Of Action And Hearing, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 5Neurological Unit, Fribourg cantonal Hospital, Switzerland
According to embodied theories of cognition, understanding sensorimotor related words entails activating the corresponding sensorimotor brain areas. While many studies investigated such a sensorimotor involvement in the first language (L1), only few studies did it in a second language (L2), showing either that L2 is as embodied as L1 or that L2 is embodied to a lesser extent than L1. Our aim was to directly compare the embodiment of semantic representations between a L2 acquired late and L1, both in terms of magnitude and timing. To this end, we investigated the effect of single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on the excitability of the motor cortex for L1 and L2 motor-related (e.g., “grasp”) and non-motor related action verbs (e.g., “believe”) presented to 32 late bilinguals (L1=French, L2=English) while performing a semantic task. We applied the TMS at four different latencies known to encompass early and late word lexico-semantic processing (from 125 to 500 ms post word onset) and recorded the TMS-induced motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitudes. Results revealed a smaller amplitude of the MEPs for motor as compared to non-motor verbs in L1 when stimulating at 350 ms post word onset. Furthermore, independently of the type of verbs, L1 and L2 showed different motor cortex excitability depending on the timing of the stimulation. These findings provide further evidence that L1 and L2 are differently embodied, and open to the possibility that this difference is explained in terms of different timing of the motor involvement.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other