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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 18 (2007), Issue 3, Pages 143-147

Relationship between Object-Related Gestures and the Fractionated Object Knowledge System

Angela Bartolo,1 Meike Daumüller,2 Sergio Della Sala,3 and Georg Goldenberg2

1Laboratoire URECA, Psychologie – Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille3, France
2Neuropsychological Department, Bogenhausen Hospital, Munich, Germany
3Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology – University of Edinburgh, UK

Received 14 August 2007; Accepted 14 August 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The praxic semantic system comprises a conceptual knowledge system, which stores functional information about objects, and an action knowledge system, which stores information about the correct manipulation of objects. Moreover, mechanical problem solving abilities permit to take advantages from objects structure to use unfamiliar tools or discover alternative ways of using familiar tools. This study aims at investigating whether conceptual knowledge, action knowledge and mechanical problem solving abilities intervene in the production of gestures with objects (i.e. pantomimes and object use) by testing a group of brain damaged patients. Results showed that the mechanical problem solving abilities are not sufficient to produce pantomimes and that only severe deficits in the praxic semantic system would affect the production of these gestures. Furthermore, a double dissociation was observed between mechanical problem solving abilities and the capacity to use multiple objects. Overall, the results indicate that the praxic semantic system can be disrupted at different levels, suggesting that the semantic system for object has to be conceived as fractionated in different entities.