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Tools in the Mind: Objects and actions in the healthy and damaged brain

Title: “Tools in the Mind: Objects and actions in the healthy and damaged brain”.

Laurel Buxbaum, PsyD
Jefferson University, Pennsylvania

Abstract: Our ability to functionally use manipulative objects rests on a distributed left hemisphere network.  Lesions to portions of this network result in a type of limb apraxia characterized by deficits in object action knowledge, while lesions elsewhere in the network are associated with deficits in action selection.  Fueled in part by these findings, our laboratory has developed and (over two decades, elaborated) a cognitive neuroanatomical model of the mechanisms and architecture of a distributed two-stream network critical to the representation and selection of object-related actions.  Called the “Two Action Systems Plus (2AS+)” framework, the model posits a complementary role for stored object manipulation knowledge (“action semantics”) and online computations relevant to planning movements of the body in space, and specifies the neurocognitive substrates of task-relevant action selection. This presentation will provide background on current controversies in the domain of object use and semantic manipulation knowledge, explain the 2AS+ architecture in the context of prominent two stream models in the language domain, and provide an overview of how the 2AS+ framework helps us to understand both healthy object use and apraxia.