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Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 20;7:13619. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13619.

Perceptual restoration of masked speech in human cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 535, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
2
Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 535, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
3
Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 535, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
4
Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, 1203 Dwinelle Hall #2650, Berkeley, California 94720-2650, USA.
5
Neurobiology of Language Department, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University, Kapittelweg 29, Nijmegen 6525 EN, The Netherlands.
6
Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 535, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.

Abstract

Humans are adept at understanding speech despite the fact that our natural listening environment is often filled with interference. An example of this capacity is phoneme restoration, in which part of a word is completely replaced by noise, yet listeners report hearing the whole word. The neurological basis for this unconscious fill-in phenomenon is unknown, despite being a fundamental characteristic of human hearing. Here, using direct cortical recordings in humans, we demonstrate that missing speech is restored at the acoustic-phonetic level in bilateral auditory cortex, in real-time. This restoration is preceded by specific neural activity patterns in a separate language area, left frontal cortex, which predicts the word that participants later report hearing. These results demonstrate that during speech perception, missing acoustic content is synthesized online from the integration of incoming sensory cues and the internal neural dynamics that bias word-level expectation and prediction.

PMID:
27996973
PMCID:
PMC5187421
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms13619
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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