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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 29;9(1):5375. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41752-7.

Interference in speaking while hearing and vice versa.

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Aix-Marseille University, Institute of Language, Communication and Brain, Aix-en-Provence, France.
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


Even when speakers are not actively doing another task, they can be interfered in their speech planning by concurrent auditory stimuli. In this study, we used picture naming with passive hearing, or active listening, combined to high-density electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings to investigate the locus and origin of interference on speech production. Participants named pictures while ignoring (or paying attention to) auditory syllables presented at different intervals (+150 ms, +300 ms or +450 ms). Interference of passive hearing was observed at all positive stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) including when distractors appeared 450 ms after picture onset. Analyses of ERPs and microstates revealed modulations appearing in a time-window close to verbal response onset likely relating to post-lexical planning processes. A shift of latency of the N1 auditory component for syllables displayed 450 ms after picture onset relative to hearing in isolation was also observed. Data from picture naming with active listening to auditory syllables also pointed to post-lexical interference. The present study suggests that, beyond the lexical stage, post-lexical processes can be interfered and that the reciprocal interference between utterance planning and hearing relies on attentional demand and possibly competing neural substrates.

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