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Description: We measured brain activity in healthy participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they performed an auditory lexical decision paradigm involving monosyllabic action words associated with specific effectors (face, arm and leg). We show that a parametrically modulated regressor of the action words’ phonological typicality values, a measure of the extent to which a word’s phonology is typical of other words in the lexical category to which it belongs, is responsible for their activating a large portion of primary and premotor cortices. In addition, we show that nonwords matched to the action words in terms of their phonotactic probability elicit identical patterns of activation. These results indicate motor cortex engagement during action word comprehension is more likely to reflect processing of statistical regularities in sound-to-meaning correspondences.

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Results from whole brain analyses

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