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    ABSTRACT: Within the last decade, the neurobiology of action processing has moved from an obscure topic of specialist interest to one of the most popular themes in modern neuroscience. However, the wealth of literature and the diversity of approaches and theoretical models can make the field complex and, at times, bewildering. This review presents the main currents of research, examining their theoretical underpinnings in an interdisciplinary context. The presence of specific deficits in verb and action processing has been documented in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, including parkinsonian syndromes and motor neuron disease. Interestingly, most of these disorders affect the motor system, suggesting a systematic relationship between motor functions and their cognitive and linguistic representations. Action processing has been explored with a whole spectrum of methodologies, from neuroimaging to transcranial and intracranial stimulation. The findings have been integrated with other influential concepts and theories, including mirror neurons and embodied cognition. Converging evidence from patient and imaging studies links the concepts of actions and their processing with the execution of actions through the motor system. The theory of embodied cognition remains influential as well as controversial. However, the points of criticism have changed, reflecting recent paradigm shifts.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Current opinion in neurology
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    ABSTRACT: Young children's speech is typically more linguistically sophisticated than their writing. However, there are grounds for asking whether production of cohesive devices, such as verb-phrase anaphora (VPA), might represent an exception to this developmental pattern, as cohesive devices are generally more important in writing than in speech and so might be expected to be more frequent in children's writing than in their speech. The study reported herein aims to compare the frequency of children's production of VPA constructions (e.g., Mary is eating an apple and so is John) between a written and a spoken task. Forty-eight children participated from each of two age groups: 7-year-olds and 10-year-olds. All the children received both a spoken and a written sentence completion task designed to elicit production of VPA. Task order was counterbalanced. VPA production was significantly more frequent in speech than in writing and when the spoken task was presented first. Surprisingly, the 7-year-olds produced VPA constructions more frequently than the 10-year-olds. Despite the greater importance of cohesion in writing than in speech, children's production of VPA is similar to their production of most other aspects of language in that more sophisticated constructions are used more frequently in speech than in writing. Children's written production of cohesive devices could probably be enhanced by presenting spoken tasks immediately before written tasks. The lower frequency of VPA production in the older children may reflect syntactic priming effects or a belief that they should produce sentences that are as fully specified as possible.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · British Journal of Educational Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: The target article sketched and explored a mechanism (action-oriented predictive processing) most plausibly associated with core forms of cortical processing. In assessing the attractions and pitfalls of the proposal we should keep that element distinct from larger, though interlocking, issues concerning the nature of adaptive organization in general.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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