Mathieu Bourguignon and Xavier De Tiège contributed equally to this work.
The pace of prosodic phrasing couples the listener's cortex to the reader's voice
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Human Brain Mapping
Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 314–326, February 2013
How to Cite
Bourguignon, M., De Tiège, X., de Beeck, M. O., Ligot, N., Paquier, P., Van Bogaert, P., Goldman, S., Hari, R. and Jousmäki, V. (2013), The pace of prosodic phrasing couples the listener's cortex to the reader's voice. Hum. Brain Mapp., 34: 314–326. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21442
- Issue published online: 4 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 7 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 13 APR 2011
- Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industire et dans l'Agriculture (FRIA, Belgium)
- Institut d'Encouragement de la Recherche Scientifique et de l'Innovation de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium)
- Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FRS-FNRS, Belgium, Research Convention 3.4611.08)
- Academy of Finland (National Centers of Excellence Programme 2006–2011), ERC Advanced Grant. Grant Number: 232,946
- speech processing;
- superior temporal sulcus;
- superior temporal gyrus;
- temporal integration window
We studied online coupling between a reader's voice and a listener's cortical activity using a novel, ecologically valid continuous listening paradigm. Whole-scalp magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals were recorded from 10 right-handed, native French-speaking listeners in four conditions: a female (Exp1f) and a male (Exp1m) reading the same text in French; a male reading a text in Finnish (Exp 2), a language incomprehensible for the subjects, and a male humming Exp1 text (Exp 3). The fundamental frequency (f0) of the reader's voice was recorded with an accelerometer attached to the throat, and coherence was computed between f0 time-course and listener's MEG. Similar levels of right-hemisphere-predominant coherence were found at ˜0.5 Hz in Exps 1–3. Dynamic imaging of coherent sources revealed that the most coherent brain regions were located in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) in Exps 1–2 and in the right supratemporal auditory cortex in Exp 3. Comparison between speech rhythm and phrasing suggested a connection of the observed coherence to pauses at the sentence level both in the spoken and hummed text. These results demonstrate significant coupling at ∼0.5 Hz between reader's voice and listener's cortical signals during listening to natural continuous voice. The observed coupling suggests that voice envelope fluctuations, due to prosodic rhythmicity at the phrasal and sentence levels, are reflected in the listener's cortex as rhythmicity of about 2-s cycles. The predominance of the coherence in the right pSTS and pSTG suggests hemispherical asymmetry in processing of speech sounds at subsentence time scales. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.