2018 Jun 11;8(1):8898. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26801-x.

Real-life speech production and perception have a shared premotor-cortical substrate.

Glanz Iljina O1,2,3,4,5,6, Derix J7,8,9, Kaur R7,10, Schulze-Bonhage A8,11,12, Auer P13,14,15, Aertsen A9,12, Ball T16,17,18.


Motor-cognitive accounts assume that the articulatory cortex is involved in language comprehension, but previous studies may have observed such an involvement as an artefact of experimental procedures. Here, we employed electrocorticography (ECoG) during natural, non-experimental behavior combined with electrocortical stimulation mapping to study the neural basis of real-life human verbal communication. We took advantage of ECoG's ability to capture high-gamma activity (70-350 Hz) as a spatially and temporally precise index of cortical activation during unconstrained, naturalistic speech production and perception conditions. Our findings show that an electrostimulation-defined mouth motor region located in the superior ventral premotor cortex is consistently activated during both conditions. This region became active early relative to the onset of speech production and was recruited during speech perception regardless of acoustic background noise. Our study thus pinpoints a shared ventral premotor substrate for real-life speech production and perception with its basic properties.


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