Neural encoding of speech and word forms

David Poeppel, Yue Sun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Speech perception is a collection of procedures that make possible the mapping from continuously varying acoustic input to discrete mental representations that form the basis for stored words in the mental lexicon. The chapter focuses on experiments supporting abstractionist versus episodic approaches to the representation of speech and words. Studies using electrophysiological approaches are reviewed that are consistent with both the generation of abstract categories and the maintenance of episodic information, suggesting that both types of representations are carried forward during the recognition process. The functional neuroanatomy that underpins speech recognition is reviewed, and both neurophysiological and neuroimaging data are discussed that, jointly, are consistent with a perspective that privileges abstract representations but allows for the concurrent incorporation of episodic or indexical information in speech perception. The integrative, neurally inspired model that emerges accommodates both abstractionist and episodicist approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Mental Lexicon
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780191880292
ISBN (Print)9780198845003
StatePublished - Feb 14 2022


  • Dual stream model
  • Hemispheric asymmetry
  • Indexical information
  • Phonological abstraction
  • Speech perception
  • Word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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