Spoken language is a central part of our everyday lives, but the precise roles that individual cortical regions play in the production of speech are often poorly understood. To address this issue, we focally lowered the temperature of distinct cortical regions in awake neurosurgical patients, and we relate this perturbation to changes in produced speech sequences. Using this method, we confirm that speech is highly lateralized, with the vast majority of behavioral effects seen on the left hemisphere. We then use this approach to demonstrate a clear functional dissociation between nearby cortical speech sites. Focal cooling of pars triangularis/pars opercularis (Broca's region) and the ventral portion of the precentral gyrus (speech motor cortex) resulted in the manipulation of speech timing and articulation, respectively. Our results support a class of models that have proposed distinct processing centers underlying motor sequencing and execution for speech.
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