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Brain Topogr. 2015 May;28(3):494-505. doi: 10.1007/s10548-013-0338-2. Epub 2013 Dec 24.

Brain prediction of auditory emphasis by facial expressions during audiovisual continuous speech.

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Université Paul Sabatier, CerCo, Université Toulouse, Toulouse, France,


The visual cues involved in auditory speech processing are not restricted to information from lip movements but also include head or chin gestures and facial expressions such as eyebrow movements. The fact that visual gestures precede the auditory signal implicates that visual information may influence the auditory activity. As visual stimuli are very close in time to the auditory information for audiovisual syllables, the cortical response to them usually overlaps with that for the auditory stimulation; the neural dynamics underlying the visual facilitation for continuous speech therefore remain unclear. In this study, we used a three-word phrase to study continuous speech processing. We presented video clips with even (without emphasis) phrases as the frequent stimuli and with one word visually emphasized by the speaker as the non-frequent stimuli. Negativity in the resulting ERPs was detected after the start of the emphasizing articulatory movements but before the auditory stimulus, a finding that was confirmed by the statistical comparisons of the audiovisual and visual stimulation. No such negativity was present in the control visual-only condition. The propagation of this negativity was observed between the visual and fronto-temporal electrodes. Thus, in continuous speech, the visual modality evokes predictive coding for the auditory speech, which is analysed by the cerebral cortex in the context of the phrase even before the arrival of the corresponding auditory signal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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