Published Papers

How to become twice more precise in detecting neuropsychological impairments

Journal: 

Frontiers in Psychology, n. 65

Date: 

October, 2014

Although it was a giant leap forward when it was introduced, the classic approach to the norming of neuropsychological tests (Capitani, 1987) has two main limitations: (i) it doesn’t consider possible interactions between covariates (e.g., age and education); (ii) working on by–subject percentages of correct responses, it cannot consider item covariates (e.g., frequency, length, imageability) that are known to affect performance substantially. Here we show how to overcome these limitations, and how this improves our diagnosis.

Morphological processing of printed nouns and verbs: Cross-class priming effects

Journal: 

Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26, 433-460

Date: 

March, 2014

Despite grammatical class being a fundamental organising principle of the human mental lexicon, recent morphological models of visual word identification remain silent as to whether and how it is represented in the lexical system. The present study addresses this issue by investigating cross-class morphological priming (i.e., the effect obtained when nouns prime verbs sharing the same root or vice versa) to clarify whether morphological stems subserving the formation of both nouns and verbs (e.g., depart-) have a unique, grammatical class–independent representation.

Clustering the lexicon in the brain: A meta‑analysis of the neurofunctional evidence on noun and verb processing

Journal: 

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 303

Date: 

June, 2013

Although it is widely accepted that nouns and verbs are functionally independent linguistic entities, it is less clear whether their processing recruits different brain areas. This issue is particularly relevant for those theories of lexical semantics (and, more in general, of cognition) that suggest the embodiment of abstract concepts, i.e., based strongly on perceptual and motoric representations. This paper presents a formal meta-analysis of the neuroimaging evidence on noun and verb processing in order to address this dichotomy more effectively at the anatomical level.

Meaning is in the beholder’s eye: Morpho-semantic effects in masked priming

Journal: 

Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 20, 534-541

Date: 

June, 2013

A substantial body of literature indicates that, at least at some level of processing, complex words are broken down into their morphemes solely on the basis of their orthographic form (e.g., Rastle, Davis, & New, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 11:1090–1098, 2004).

Seeing stems everywhere: Position-independent identification of stem morphemes

Journal: 

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(2), 510-525

Date: 

April, 2013

There is broad consensus that printed complex words are identified on the basis of their constituent morphemes. This fact raises the issue of how the word identification system codes for morpheme position, hence allowing it to distinguish between words like overhang and hangover, and to recognize that preheat is a word, whereas heatpre is not.

Cognitive theory development as we know it: Specificity, explanatory power and the brain

Journal: 

Frontiers in Language Sciences, Vol. 4, 56

Date: 

February, 2013

In an effort to define more precisely what we currently know about early steps in the visual identification of complex words, we recently published a review of morphological effects in lexical decision, unmasked priming and masked priming studies (Amenta and Crepaldi, 2012).

Morphological processing as we know it: An analytical review of morphological effects in visual word identification

Journal: 

Frontiers in Language Sciences, 3, 232

Date: 

July, 2012

The last 40 years have witnessed a growing interest in the mechanisms underlying the visual identification of complex words. A large amount of experimental data has been amassed, but although a growing number of studies are proposing explicit theoretical models for their data, no comprehensive theory has gained substantial agreement among scholars in the field.

Lexical-Semantic Variables Affecting Picture and Word Naming in Chinese: A Mixed Logit Model Study in Aphasia

Journal: 

Behavioural Neurology, 25, 165-184

Date: 

March, 2012

Lexical-semantic variables (such as word frequency, imageability and age of acquisition) have been studied extensively in neuropsychology to address the structure of the word production system. The evidence available on this issue is still rather controversial, mainly because of the very complex interrelations between lexical-semantic variables. Moreover, it is not clear whether the results obtained in Indo-European languages also hold in languages with a completely different structure and script, such as Chinese.

A place for nouns and a place for verbs? A critical review of neurocognitive data on grammatical class effects

Journal: 

Brain and Language, 116(1), 33‑49

Date: 

January, 2011

It is generally held that noun processing is specifically sub-served by temporal areas, while the neural underpinnings of verb processing are located in the frontal lobe. However, this view is now challenged by a significant body of evidence accumulated over the years. Moreover, the results obtained so far on the neural implementation of noun and verb processing appear to be quite inconsistent.

On nouns, verbs, lexemes, and lemmas: Evidence from the spontaneous speech of seven aphasic patients

Journal: 

Aphasiology, 25, 71‑92

Date: 

January, 2011

Background: Although disproportionate impairment of noun or verb retrieval has been described on the basis of the evidence from several aphasic cases since the mid 1980s, with different theoretical frames being proposed to account for noun–verb dissociation, very few studies have dealt with this dissociation in spontaneous speech.

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