Hippocampus plays a role in speech feedback processing

Vincent van de Ven*, Lourens Waldorp, Ingrid Christoffels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is increasing evidence that the hippocampus is involved in language production and verbal communication, although little is known about its possible role. According to one view, hippocampus contributes semantic memory to spoken language. Alternatively, hippocampus is involved in the processing the (mis)match between expected sensory consequences of speaking and the perceived speech feedback. In the current study, we re-analysed functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) data of two overt picture-naming studies to test whether hippocampus is involved in speech production and, if so, whether the results can distinguish between a "pure memory" versus a "prediction" account of hippocampal involvement. In both studies, participants overtly named pictures during scanning while hearing their own speech feedback unimpededly or impaired by a superimposed noise mask. Results showed decreased hippocampal activity when speech feedback was impaired, compared to when feedback was unimpeded. Further, we found increased functional coupling between auditory cortex and hippocampus during unimpeded speech feedback, compared to impaired feedback. Finally, we found significant functional coupling between a hippocampal/supplementary motor area (SMA) interaction term and auditory cortex, anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellum during overt picture naming, but not during listening to one's own pre-recorded voice. These findings indicate that hippocampus plays a role in speech production that is in accordance with a "prediction" view of hippocampal functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117319
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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