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Cohesion and Joint Speech: Right Hemisphere Contributions to Synchronized Vocal Production

Jasmin, KM; McGettigan, C; Agnew, ZK; Lavan, N; Josephs, O; Cummins, F; Scott, SK; (2016) Cohesion and Joint Speech: Right Hemisphere Contributions to Synchronized Vocal Production. Journal of Neuroscience , 36 (17) pp. 4669-4680. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4075-15.2016. Green open access

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Abstract

UNLABELLED: Synchronized behavior (chanting, singing, praying, dancing) is found in all human cultures and is central to religious, military, and political activities, which require people to act collaboratively and cohesively; however, we know little about the neural underpinnings of many kinds of synchronous behavior (e.g., vocal behavior) or its role in establishing and maintaining group cohesion. In the present study, we measured neural activity using fMRI while participants spoke simultaneously with another person. We manipulated whether the couple spoke the same sentence (allowing synchrony) or different sentences (preventing synchrony), and also whether the voice the participant heard was "live" (allowing rich reciprocal interaction) or prerecorded (with no such mutual influence). Synchronous speech was associated with increased activity in posterior and anterior auditory fields. When, and only when, participants spoke with a partner who was both synchronous and "live," we observed a lack of the suppression of auditory cortex, which is commonly seen as a neural correlate of speech production. Instead, auditory cortex responded as though it were processing another talker's speech. Our results suggest that detecting synchrony leads to a change in the perceptual consequences of one's own actions: they are processed as though they were other-, rather than self-produced. This may contribute to our understanding of synchronized behavior as a group-bonding tool. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Synchronized human behavior, such as chanting, dancing, and singing, are cultural universals with functional significance: these activities increase group cohesion and cause participants to like each other and behave more prosocially toward each other. Here we use fMRI brain imaging to investigate the neural basis of one common form of cohesive synchronized behavior: joint speaking (e.g., the synchronous speech seen in chants, prayers, pledges). Results showed that joint speech recruits additional right hemisphere regions outside the classic speech production network. Additionally, we found that a neural marker of self-produced speech, suppression of sensory cortices, did not occur during joint synchronized speech, suggesting that joint synchronized behavior may alter self-other distinctions in sensory processing.

Type: Article
Title: Cohesion and Joint Speech: Right Hemisphere Contributions to Synchronized Vocal Production
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4075-15.2016
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4075-15.2016
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Jasmin et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
Keywords: coordinated action, fMRI, joint speech, right hemisphere, social cohesion, speech control
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 > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
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/1494569
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