Speaking rhythmically can shape hearing

M. Florencia Assaneo, Johanna M. Rimmele, Yonatan Sanz Perl, David Poeppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence suggests that temporal predictions arising from the motor system can enhance auditory perception. However, in speech perception, we lack evidence of perception being modulated by production. Here we show a behavioural protocol that captures the existence of such auditory–motor interactions. Participants performed a syllable discrimination task immediately after producing periodic syllable sequences. Two speech rates were explored: a ‘natural’ (individually preferred) and a fixed ‘non-natural’ (2 Hz) rate. Using a decoding approach, we show that perceptual performance is modulated by the stimulus phase determined by a participant’s own motor rhythm. Remarkably, for ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ rates, this finding is restricted to a subgroup of the population with quantifiable auditory–motor coupling. The observed pattern is compatible with a neural model assuming a bidirectional interaction of auditory and speech motor cortices. Crucially, the model matches the experimental results only if it incorporates individual differences in the strength of the auditory–motor connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalNature human behaviour
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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