The beneficial effect of a speaker's gestures on the listener's memory for action phrases: The pivotal role of the listener's premotor cortex

Francesco Ianì, Dalila Burin, Adriana Salatino, Lorenzo Pia, Raffaella Ricci, Monica Bucciarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Memory for action phrases improves in the listeners when the speaker accompanies them with gestures compared to when the speaker stays still. Since behavioral studies revealed a pivotal role of the listeners’ motor system, we aimed to disentangle the role of primary motor and premotor cortices. Participants had to recall phrases uttered by a speaker in two conditions: in the gesture condition, the speaker performed gestures congruent with the action; in the no-gesture condition, the speaker stayed still. In Experiment 1, half of the participants underwent inhibitory rTMS over the hand/arm region of the left premotor cortex (PMC) and the other half over the hand/arm region of the left primary motor cortex (M1). The enactment effect disappeared only following rTMS over PMC. In Experiment 2, we detected the usual enactment effect after rTMS over vertex, thereby excluding possible nonspecific rTMS effects. These findings suggest that the information encoded in the premotor cortex is a crucial part of the memory trace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Language
Volume180-182
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1

Keywords

  • Enactment
  • Gesture observation
  • Memory for actions
  • Motor system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

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