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Aphasiology. 2012 Sep;26(9):1103-1118. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Using TMS to study the role of the articulatory motor system in speech perception.


Background: The ability to communicate using speech is a remarkable skill, which requires precise coordination of articulatory movements and decoding of complex acoustic signals. According to the traditional view, speech production and perception rely on motor and auditory brain areas, respectively. However, there is growing evidence that auditory-motor circuits support both speech production and perception.Aims: In this article we provide a review of how transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used to investigate the excitability of the motor system during listening to speech and the contribution of the motor system to performance in various speech perception tasks. We also discuss how TMS can be used in combination with brain-imaging techniques to study interactions between motor and auditory systems during speech perception.Main contribution: TMS has proven to be a powerful tool to investigate the role of the articulatory motor system in speech perception.Conclusions: TMS studies have provided support for the view that the motor structures that control the movements of the articulators contribute not only to speech production but also to speech perception.

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