Human Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Affective Pain Induced by Mimic Words: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

  • Naoyuki Osaka


Cassirer [1] proposed that the development of language proceeded through three stages, which he termed the mimic, the analogical, and the symbolic. As we pass from stage to stage, we find a shift in the basic relationship between speech sound and meaning, a shift from an intrinsic and nonarbitrary relationship to an increasingly extrinsic and arbitrary relationship. The mimic stage corresponds to the onomatopoeic use of speech—the representation through speech of some acoustical event in nature by means of direct imitation. In this stage the relationship between sound and meaning is essentially intrinsic (e.g., imitation of animal sounds, like “cockadoodle”). Interestingly enough, recent findings on “mirror (mimic) neurons” in the human inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) strongly suggest that the mimic stage of our language system may originate from IFG. Recent neuroimaging studies concluded that verbal working memory’s executive function (ventrolateral part; which plays a role in producing phonetic rehearsal) is located in the left IFG in normal adults [2, 3].


Supplementary Motor Area Inferior Frontal Gyrus Speech Sound Nonsense Syllable Affective Pain 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoyuki Osaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyoto

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