Phase Patterns of Neuronal Responses Reliably Discriminate Speech in Human Auditory Cortex

Huan Luo, David Poeppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How natural speech is represented in the auditory cortex constitutes a major challenge for cognitive neuroscience. Although many single-unit and neuroimaging studies have yielded valuable insights about the processing of speech and matched complex sounds, the mechanisms underlying the analysis of speech dynamics in human auditory cortex remain largely unknown. Here, we show that the phase pattern of theta band (4-8 Hz) responses recorded from human auditory cortex with magnetoencephalography (MEG) reliably tracks and discriminates spoken sentences and that this discrimination ability is correlated with speech intelligibility. The findings suggest that an ∼200 ms temporal window (period of theta oscillation) segments the incoming speech signal, resetting and sliding to track speech dynamics. This hypothesized mechanism for cortical speech analysis is based on the stimulus-induced modulation of inherent cortical rhythms and provides further evidence implicating the syllable as a computational primitive for the representation of spoken language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1010
Number of pages10
JournalNeuron
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2007

Keywords

  • SYSNEURO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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