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Brain Struct Funct. 2008 Feb;212(5):427-42. doi: 10.1007/s00429-007-0167-8. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Sensory and cognitive mechanisms of change detection in the context of speech.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, The Anlyan Center, 300 Cedar Street, P.O. Box 208043, New Haven, CT 06520-8043, USA.


The aim of this study was to dissociate the contributions of memory-based (cognitive) and adaptation-based (sensory) mechanisms underlying deviance detection in the context of natural speech. Twenty healthy right-handed native speakers of English participated in an event-related design scan in which natural speech stimuli, /de:/ ("deh") and /deI/ ("day"); (/te:/ ("teh") and /teI/ ("tay") served as standards and deviants within functional magnetic resonance imaging event-related "oddball" paradigm designed to elicit the mismatch negativity component. Thus, "oddball" blocks could involve either a word deviant ("day") resulting in a "word advantage" effect, or a non-word deviant ("deh" or "tay"). We utilized an experimental protocol controlling for refractoriness similar to that used previously when deviance detection was studied in the context of tones. Results showed that the cognitive and sensory mechanisms of deviance detection were located in the anterior and posterior auditory cortices, respectively, as was previously found in the context of tones. The cognitive effect, that was most robust for the word deviant, diminished in the "oddball" condition. In addition, the results indicated that the lexical status of the speech stimulus interacts with acoustic factors exerting a top-down modulation of the extent to which novel sounds gain access to the subject's awareness through memory-based processes. Thus, the more salient the deviant stimulus is the more likely it is to be released from the effects of adaptation exerted by the posterior auditory cortex.

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