The Activity Of Frontal Motor Regions ( Primary Motor And Premotor Cortices )

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The current experiment investigated different contexts in which the activity of frontal motor regions (primary motor and premotor cortices) could be associated to the action component of words. Unlike previous studies, we did not dichotomize words into action and non-action categories. Instead, we created 4 levels of action ranging from very low action (level1) to very high action (level4) using behavioral data provided by our fMRI participants, with the intention of taking their experiences with words’ referents into account. Additionally, the creation of several action levels allowed us to evaluate, for the first time, whether the activity of the frontal motor system was linearly connected to the action component of words or not.
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That is, the reduction in complexity resulting from the transformation of a more continuous distribution of word meaning40,41 into a dichotomous variable of action vs. non-action could have become into fertile ground for miscategorized stimuli to drive the observed results. Second, given a nonlinear association, it is plausible for statistical analyses based on univariate linear models and dichotomous categories of action vs. non-action to misrepresent the role of the frontal motor system in word meaning processing. That is, linear models could provide a poor fit to the data and therefore affect the reported results. One solution for this problem involves fitting nonlinear models at the univariate level, though this alternative could provide results that are difficult to interpret. A more promising alternative involves the use of multivariate like Multivariate Pattern Analysis42 or Representational Similarity Analysis43, as these techniques could provide valuable insights into existing and novel data by looking at the joint information present across groups of voxels.
Although the specific properties and consequences of this nonlinear association must be addressed by future studies, our results shed some light on the connection between frontal motor activity and the action

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