Dissociable intrinsic functional networks support noun-object and verb-action processing

Brain Lang. 2017 Dec:175:29-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2017.08.009. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


The processing mechanism of verbs-actions and nouns-objects is a central topic of language research, with robust evidence for behavioral dissociation. The neural basis for these two major word and/or conceptual classes, however, remains controversial. Two experiments were conducted to study this question from the network perspective. Experiment 1 found that nodes of the same class, obtained through task-evoked brain imaging meta-analyses, were more strongly connected with each other than nodes of different classes during resting-state, forming segregated network modules. Experiment 2 examined the behavioral relevance of these intrinsic networks using data from 88 brain-damaged patients, finding that across patients the relative strength of functional connectivity of the two networks significantly correlated with the noun-object vs. verb-action relative behavioral performances. In summary, we found that verbs-actions and nouns-objects are supported by separable intrinsic functional networks and that the integrity of such networks accounts for the relative noun-object- and verb-action-selective deficits.

Keywords: Actions; Functional connectivity; Module; Network; Nouns; Objects; Verbs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Young Adult