When nominal features are marked on verbs: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study

Giuseppe Giglia, Brigida Fierro, Filippo Brighina, Chiara Finocchiaro, Alfonso Caramazza

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1 Citation (Scopus)


It has been claimed that verb processing (as opposed to noun processing) is subserved by specific neural circuits in the left prefrontal cortex. In this study, we took advantage of the unusual grammatical characteristics of clitic pronouns in Italian (e.g., lo and la in portalo and portala 'bring it [masculine]/[feminine]', respectively)-the fact that clitics have both nominal and verbal characteristics, to explore the neural correlates of verb and clitic processing. We used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to suppress the excitability of the left prefrontal cortex and to assess its role in producing verb+det+noun and verb+clitic phrases. Results showed an interference effect for both kinds of phrases when stimulation was applied to the left but not to the right prefrontal cortex. However, the interference effect was significantly greater for the verb+clitic than for the verb+det+noun phrases. These findings support the view that clitics increase the morphosyntactic complexity of verbs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Language
Publication statusPublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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