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Neurocase. 2002;8(4):314-22.

A case of impaired auditory and visual speech prosody perception after right hemisphere damage.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, School of Communication Sciences Disorders, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


It is well established that vision plays a role in segmental speech perception, but the role of vision in prosodic speech perception is less clear. We report on the difficulties in prosodic speech perception encountered by KB after a right hemisphere stroke. In addition to musical deficits, KB was suspected of having impaired auditory prosody perception. As expected, KB was impaired on two prosody perception tasks in an auditory-only condition. We also examined whether the addition of visual prosody cues would facilitate his performance on these tasks. Unexpectedly, KB was also impaired on both tasks under visual-only and audio-visual conditions. Thus, there was no evidence that KB could integrate auditory and visual prosody information or that he could use visual cues to compensate for his deficit in the auditory domain. In contrast, KB was able to identify segmental speech information using visual cues and to use these visual cues to improve his performance when auditory segmental cues were impoverished. KB was also able to integrate audio-visual segmental information in the McGurk effect. Thus, KB's visual deficit was specific to prosodic speech perception and, to our knowledge, this is the first reported case of such a deficit.

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