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Neurol Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov 30;2004:103.

Periodic glottal excitation and formant frequencies in the perception of vowels.

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


Voiced speech is created by the fluctuating vocal folds generating the glottal pulseform. This excitation signal is the source of the speech fundamental frequency and its harmonic integer multiples. Periodic glottal excitation is required for the elicitation of speech-specific cortical processes indexed by the auditory N100m response. Here, we studied the cortical processing underlying the perception of the vowels /a/ and /u/ produced using normal and aperiodic phonation. The behavior of the N100m, registered with magnetoencephalography (MEG), was studied in 10 subjects. The amplitude and latency of the N100m as well as the center of gravity of the activated cortical areas varied as a function of stimulus periodicity. Further, the presence of glottal excitation had differential effects on the latency of the N100m elicited by the vowels /a/ and /u/. Thus, changes affecting the perceptual quality of speech signals without changing their phonetic content modify the dynamics of human auditory cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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