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  Instantaneous neural processing of communicative functions conveyed by speech prosody

Tomasello, R., Grisoni, L., Boux, I., Sammler, D., & Pulvermüller, F. (2022). Instantaneous neural processing of communicative functions conveyed by speech prosody. Cerebral Cortex, bhab522. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab522.

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 Creators:
Tomasello, Rosario1, 2, Author
Grisoni, Luigi1, 2, Author
Boux, Isabella1, 3, 4, Author
Sammler, Daniela5, 6, Author              
Pulvermüller, Friedemann1, 2, 3, 4, Author
Affiliations:
1Brain Language Laboratory, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, FU Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin (ECN), Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Research Group Neurocognition of Music and Language, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              

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Free keywords: Communicative functions; Electroencephalography (EEG); Pragmatics; Prosody; Sensorimotor system
 Abstract: During conversations, speech prosody provides important clues about the speaker’s communicative intentions. In many languages, a rising vocal pitch at the end of a sentence typically expresses a question function, whereas a falling pitch suggests a statement. Here, the neurophysiological basis of intonation and speech act understanding were investigated with high-density electroencephalography (EEG) to determine whether prosodic features are reflected at the neurophysiological level. Already approximately 100 ms after the sentence-final word differing in prosody, questions, and statements expressed with the same sentences led to different neurophysiological activity recorded in the event-related potential. Interestingly, low-pass filtered sentences and acoustically matched nonvocal musical signals failed to show any neurophysiological dissociations, thus suggesting that the physical intonation alone cannot explain this modulation. Our results show rapid neurophysiological indexes of prosodic communicative information processing that emerge only when pragmatic and lexico-semantic information are fully expressed. The early enhancement of question-related activity compared with statements was due to sources in the articulatory-motor region, which may reflect the richer action knowledge immanent to questions, namely the expectation of the partner action of answering the question. The present findings demonstrate a neurophysiological correlate of prosodic communicative information processing, which enables humans to rapidly detect and understand speaker intentions in linguistic interactions.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-11-162021-07-012021-12-172022-02-08
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab522
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Title: Cerebral Cortex
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: New York, NY : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: bhab522 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1047-3211
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925592440