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The anterior pathway for intelligible speech: insights from univariate and multivariate methods

Evans, S.D.; (2012) The anterior pathway for intelligible speech: insights from univariate and multivariate methods. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Whilst there is broad agreement concerning the existence of an anterior processing stream in the human brain concerned with extracting meaning from speech, there is an ongoing controversy as to whether intelligible speech is first resolved in left anterior or bilateral posterior temporal fields (Hickok and Poeppel, 2007;Rauschecker and Scott, 2009). Proponents of the bilateral processing model argue that bilateral responses are driven by the acoustic properties of the speech signal, whilst proponents of the left lateralised model suggest that left lateralisation is driven by access to linguistic representations. This thesis directly addresses these controversies using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and univariate and multivariate analysis methods. Two main questions are addressed: (1) where are responses to intelligible, and intelligible but degraded speech, separated from responses to acoustic complexity and (2) does the resulting pattern of lateralisation, or otherwise, derive from the acoustic properties or the linguistic status of speech. The results of this thesis reconcile, to some degree, the two theoretical positions. I show that the most consistent and largest amplitude responses to intelligible, and degraded but intelligible speech, are found in the left anterior Superior Temporal Sulcus (STS). Additional responses were also found in right anterior and left posterior STS, however, these were less consistently identified. Regions of the left posterior STS showed sensitivity to resolved intelligible speech and also showed a response likely to reflect acoustic-phonetic processing supporting the resolving of intelligibility. Right posterior STS responses to intelligible speech were noticeably absent across all studies. No evidence was found for a relative acoustic basis for hemispheric lateralisation in the case of speech derived manipulations of spectrum and amplitude, but evidence was found in support of a left hemisphere specialism for resolving intelligible speech, supporting a relative left lateralisation to speech driven by linguistic rather than acoustic factors.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The anterior pathway for intelligible speech: insights from univariate and multivariate methods
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

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