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J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Dec;108(6):3030-5.

Relationship between N1 evoked potential morphology and the perception of voicing.

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  • 1Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-0102, USA.


Auditory evoked potential (AEP) correlates of the neural representation of stimuli along a /ga/-/ka/ and a /ba/-/pa/ continuum were examined to determine whether the voice-onset time (VOT)-related change in the N1 onset response from a single to double-peaked component is a reliable indicator of the perception of voiced and voiceless sounds. Behavioral identification results from ten subjects revealed a mean category boundary at a VOT of 46 ms for the /ga/-/ka/ continuum and at a VOT of 27.5 ms for the /ba/-/pa/ continuum. In the same subjects, electrophysiologic recordings revealed that a single N1 component was seen for stimuli with VOTs of 30 ms and less, and two components (N1' and N1) were seen for stimuli with VOTs of 40 ms and more for both continua. That is, the change in N1 morphology (from single to double-peaked) coincided with the change in perception from voiced to voiceless for stimuli from the /ba/-/pa/ continuum, but not for stimuli from the /ga/-/ka/ continuum. The results of this study show that N1 morphology does not reliably predict phonetic identification of stimuli varying in VOT. These findings also suggest that the previously reported appearance of a "double-peak" onset response in aggregate recordings from the auditory cortex does not indicate a cortical correlate of the perception of voicelessness.

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