Speech Rhythms and Multiplexed Oscillatory Sensory Coding in the Human Brain

Abstract : Cortical oscillations are likely candidates for segmentation and coding of continuous speech. Here, we monitored continuous speech processing with magnetoencephalography (MEG) to unravel the principles of speech segmentation and coding. We demonstrate that speech entrains the phase of low-frequency (delta, theta) and the amplitude of high-frequency (gamma) oscillations in the auditory cortex. Phase entrainment is stronger in the right and amplitude entrainment is stronger in the left auditory cortex. Furthermore, edges in the speech envelope phase reset auditory cortex oscillations thereby enhancing their entrainment to speech. This mechanism adapts to the changing physical features of the speech envelope and enables efficient, stimulus-specific speech sampling. Finally, we show that within the auditory cortex, coupling between delta, theta, and gamma oscillations increases following speech edges. Importantly, all couplings (i.e., brain-speech and also within the cortex) attenuate for backward-presented speech, suggesting top-down control. We conclude that segmentation and coding of speech relies on a nested hierarchy of entrained cortical oscillations.
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J. Gross, N Hoogenboom, G Thut, P Schyns, S Panzeri, et al.. Speech Rhythms and Multiplexed Oscillatory Sensory Coding in the Human Brain. PLoS Biology, Public Library of Science, 2013, 11, ⟨10.1371/journal.pbio.1001752⟩. ⟨hal-02008806⟩

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