The organization of the conceptual system: the case of the "object versus action" dimension.

Abstract:

:There are very numerous reports in the neuropsychological literature of patients showing, in naming and/or comprehension tasks, a disproportionate deficit for nouns in comparison with verbs or a disproportionate deficit for verbs in comparison with nouns. A number of authors advanced that, in at least some or even in every of these reported cases, the noun/verb dissociation in fact reflected an underlying conceptual deficit disproportionately affecting either object or action concepts. These patterns thus would put an additional constraint on theories of conceptual knowledge organization, which should be able to explain how brain damage could selectively disrupt the concepts of objects or the concepts of actions. We have reviewed 69 papers (published from 1984 to 2009) that reported a pattern of a noun or a verb disproportionate deficit in a single-case, multiple-case, or group study of brain-damaged patients with various aetiologies. From this review, we concluded that none of these studies provided compelling evidence in favour of the interpretation that the observed noun or verb disproportionate deficit arose at the conceptual processing level and, accordingly, that this level may be organized according to the "object/action" dimension. Furthermore, we argue that investigating conceptual impairments in brain-damaged patients according to the "object/action" dichotomy is not empirically fruitful if the purpose is to inform theories of conceptual knowledge organization. In order to provide evidence relevant to these theories, one needs to consider finer grained distinctions within both the object and the action category when investigating the scope of the patients' conceptual impairment.

journal_name

Cogn Neuropsychol

authors

Pillon A,d'Honincthun P

doi

10.1080/02643294.2011.609652

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-10-01 00:00:00

pages

587-613

issue

7

eissn

0264-3294

issn

1464-0627

journal_volume

27

pub_type

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