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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934

Resumen

LIMONGI TIRADO, Roberto. The periphrastic anticipatory effect: An fMRI study of the linguistic-driven anticipatory activity of posterior brain areas in causal representation. Rev. signos [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.78, pp. 60-69. ISSN 0718-0934.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-09342012000100004.

Causal relationships can be either direct (e.g., when one ball strikes another) or indirect (e.g., when one ball strikes an intermediary object that then strikes a second ball). Whereas it has been hypothesized that direct causal relationships are detected automatically by visual brain regions, semantic representations have been shown to mediate the perception of indirect causal relationships. Experimental psycholinguistic research has shown that lexical sentences such as ‘the orange ball moves the purple ball’ tend to describe direct causal events exclusively whereas periphrastic sentences such as ‘the orange ball causes the purple ball to move’ describe either direct or indirect causal events. Thus, the periphrastic structure might confer a semantic advantage in the representation of complex causal relationships. This advantage might be instantiated by top-down influences from frontal brain regions on parietal and posterior visual areas. With functional magnetic resonance imaging, we aimed to identify the neural substrates underlying the hypothetical semantic advantage of the periphrastic causative representation in causal perception while participants read periphrastic and lexical instructions. Greater activity in the frontal cortex, precuneus, and the secondary visual area was observed when the participants read the periphrastic instruction compared to the lexical instruction. These findings are interpreted as reflecting anticipatory activity of visual areas modulated by frontal top-down influences of the semantic representation elicited by the periphrastic causative structure.

Palabras clave : Causal representation; neurolinguistics; periphrastic causatives; lexical causatives.

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