A1 Journal article (refereed)
The role of motor system in action-related language comprehension in L1 and L2 : An fMRI study (2020)

Tian, L., Chen, H., Zhao, W., Wu, J., Zhang, Q., De, A., Leppänen, P., Cong, F., & Parviainen, T. (2020). The role of motor system in action-related language comprehension in L1 and L2 : An fMRI study. Brain and Language, 201, Article 104714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2019.104714

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Tian, Lili; Chen, Hongjun; Zhao, Wei; Wu, Jianlin; Zhang, Qing; De, Ailing; Leppänen, Paavo; Cong, Fengyu; Parviainen, Tiina

Journal or series: Brain and Language

ISSN: 0093-934X

eISSN: 1090-2155

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 201

Article number: 104714

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2019.104714

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66869


The framework of embodied cognition has challenged the modular view of a language-cognition divide by suggesting that meaning-retrieval critically involves the sensory-motor system. Despite extensive research into the neural mechanisms underlying language-motor coupling, it remains unclear how the motor system might be differentially engaged by different levels of linguistic abstraction and language proficiency. To address this issue, we used fMRI to quantify neural activations in brain regions underlying motor and language processing in Chinese-English speakers’ processing of literal, metaphorical, and abstract language in their L1 and L2. Results overall revealed a response in motor ROIs gradually attenuating in intensity from literal to abstract via metaphorical language in both L1 and L2. Furthermore, contrast analyses between L1 and L2 showed overall greater activations of motor ROIs in the L2. We conclude that motor involvement in language processing is graded rather than all-or-none and that the motor system has a dual-functional role.

Keywords: cognitive processes; reading comprehension; text comprehension; mother tongue; second language; motor functions; functional magnetic resonance imaging

Free keywords: embodied cognition; gradation; linguistic abstraction; metaphorical language; first/second language; fMRI

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 11:55