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Nat Neurosci. 2004 Jul;7(7):701-2. Epub 2004 Jun 6.

Listening to speech activates motor areas involved in speech production.

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Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center and Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


To examine the role of motor areas in speech perception, we carried out a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in which subjects listened passively to monosyllables and produced the same speech sounds. Listening to speech activated bilaterally a superior portion of ventral premotor cortex that largely overlapped a speech production motor area centered just posteriorly on the border of Brodmann areas 4a and 6, which we distinguished from a more ventral speech production area centered in area 4p. Our findings support the view that the motor system is recruited in mapping acoustic inputs to a phonetic code.

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