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Neuroreport. 2005 Apr 25;16(6):549-53.

Left-hemispheric brain activity reflects formant transitions in speech sounds.

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Apperception & Cortical Dynamics, Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Connected speech is characterized by formant transitions whereby formant frequencies change over time. Here, using magneto-encephalography, we investigated the cortical activity in 10 participants in response to constant-formant vowels and diphthongs with formant transitions. All the stimuli elicited prominent auditory N100m responses, but the formant transitions resulted in latency modulations specific to the left hemisphere. Following the elicitation of the N100m, cortical activity shifted some 10 mm towards anterior brain areas. This late activity resembled the N400m, typically obtained with more complex utterances such as words and/or sentences. Thus, the present study demonstrates how magnetoencephalography can be used to investigate the spatiotemporal evolution in cortical activity related to the various stages of the processing of speech.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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