Abstract

Sensorimotor integration, the translation between acoustic signals and motoric programs, may constitute a crucial mechanism for speech. During speech perception, the acoustic-motoric translations include the recruitment of cortical areas for the representation of speech articulatory features, such as place of articulation. Selective attention can shape the processing and performance of speech perception tasks. Whether and where sensorimotor integration takes place during attentive speech perception remains to be explored. Here, we investigate articulatory feature representations of spoken consonant-vowel (CV) syllables during two distinct tasks. Fourteen healthy humans attended to either the vowel or the consonant within a syllable in separate delayed-match-to-sample tasks. Single-trial fMRI blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses from perception periods were analyzed using multivariate pattern classification and a searchlight approach to reveal neural activation patterns sensitive to the processing of place of articulation (i.e., bilabial/labiodental vs. alveolar). To isolate place of articulation representation from acoustic covariation, we applied a cross-decoding (generalization) procedure across distinct features of manner of articulation (i.e., stop, fricative, and nasal). We found evidence for the representation of place of articulation across tasks and in both tasks separately: for attention to vowels, generalization maps included bilateral clusters of superior and posterior temporal, insular, and frontal regions; for attention to consonants, generalization maps encompassed clusters in temporoparietal, insular, and frontal regions within the right hemisphere only. Our results specify the cortical representation of place of articulation features generalized across manner of articulation during attentive syllable perception, thus supporting sensorimotor integration during attentive speech perception and demonstrating the value of generalization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0252-17.2018
Number of pages12
JournaleNeuro
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • SYSTEM
  • 7T fMRI
  • place of articulation
  • PHONOLOGICAL FEATURES
  • CLASSIFICATION
  • speech perception
  • selective attention
  • MVPA-based cross-decoding
  • ORGANIZATION
  • PATTERN
  • IMAGE-ANALYSIS
  • sensorimotor
  • PRIMARY AUDITORY-CORTEX
  • LANGUAGE COMPREHENSION
  • SEGMENTATION
  • OSCILLATIONS

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