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J Acoust Soc Am. 1999 Jul;106(1):449-57.

Functional neuroimaging of speech perception in six normal and two aphasic subjects.

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Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom.


This positron emission tomography study used a correlational design to investigate neural activity during speech perception in six normal subjects and two aphasic patients. The normal subjects listened either to speech or to signal-correlated noise equivalents; the latter were nonspeech stimuli, similar to speech in complexity but not perceived as speechlike. Regions common to the auditory processing of both types of stimuli were dissociated from those specific to spoken words. Increasing rates of presentation of both speech and nonspeech correlated with cerebral activity in bilateral transverse gyri and adjacent superior temporal cortex. Correlations specific to speech stimuli were located more anteriorly in both superior temporal sulci. The only asymmetry in normal subjects was a left lateralized response to speech in the posterior superior temporal sulcus, corresponding closely to structural asymmetry on the subjects' magnetic resonance images. Two patients, who had left temporal infarction but performed well on single word comprehension tasks, were also scanned while listening to speech. These cases showed right superior temporal activity correlating with increasing rates of hearing speech, but no significant left temporal activation. These findings together suggest that the dorsolateral temporal cortex of both hemispheres can be involved in prelexical processing of speech.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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