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The role of accent imitation in sensorimotor integration during processing of intelligible speech.

Adank, P; Rueschemeyer, SA; Bekkering, H; (2013) The role of accent imitation in sensorimotor integration during processing of intelligible speech. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , 7 , Article 634. 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00634. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent theories on how listeners maintain perceptual invariance despite variation in the speech signal allocate a prominent role to imitation mechanisms. Notably, these simulation accounts propose that motor mechanisms support perception of ambiguous or noisy signals. Indeed, imitation of ambiguous signals, e.g., accented speech, has been found to aid effective speech comprehension. Here, we explored the possibility that imitation in speech benefits perception by increasing activation in speech perception and production areas. Participants rated the intelligibility of sentences spoken in an unfamiliar accent of Dutch in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging experiment. Next, participants in one group repeated the sentences in their own accent, while a second group vocally imitated the accent. Finally, both groups rated the intelligibility of accented sentences in a post-test. The neuroimaging results showed an interaction between type of training and pre- and post-test sessions in left Inferior Frontal Gyrus, Supplementary Motor Area, and left Superior Temporal Sulcus. Although alternative explanations such as task engagement and fatigue need to be considered as well, the results suggest that imitation may aid effective speech comprehension by supporting sensorimotor integration.

Type: Article
Title: The role of accent imitation in sensorimotor integration during processing of intelligible speech.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00634
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00634
Additional information: © 2013 Adank, Rueschemeyer and Bekkering. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Imitation, fMRI, Speech, Accent, Sensorimotor
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1406428
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