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Mapping the speech code: Cortical responses linking the perception and production of vowels

Schuerman, W. L., Meyer, A. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Mapping the speech code: Cortical responses linking the perception and production of vowels. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11: 161. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00161.
The acoustic realization of speech is constrained by the physical mechanisms by which it is produced. Yet for speech perception, the degree to which listeners utilize experience derived from speech production has long been debated. In the present study, we examined how sensorimotor adaptation during production may affect perception, and how this relationship may be reflected in early vs. late electrophysiological responses. Participants first performed a baseline speech production task, followed by a vowel categorization task during which EEG responses were recorded. In a subsequent speech production task, half the participants received shifted auditory feedback, leading most to alter their articulations. This was followed by a second, post-training vowel categorization task. We compared changes in vowel production to both behavioral and electrophysiological changes in vowel perception. No differences in phonetic categorization were observed between groups receiving altered or unaltered feedback. However, exploratory analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and phonetic categorization. EEG analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and cortical responses in both early and late time windows. These results suggest that participants' recent production behavior influenced subsequent vowel perception. We suggest that the change in perception can be best characterized as a mapping of acoustics onto articulation
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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