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Journal Article

Speaking rhythmically can shape hearing


Rimmele,  Johanna Maria
Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;


Poeppel,  David
Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology, New York Universit;

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Assaneo, M. F., Rimmele, J. M., Sanz Perl, Y., & Poeppel, D. (2021). Speaking rhythmically can shape hearing. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 71-82. doi:10.1038/s41562-020-00962-0.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-F155-6
Evidence suggests that temporal predictions arising from the motor system can enhance auditory perception. However, in speech perception, we lack evidence of perception being modulated by production. Here we show a behavioural protocol that captures the existence of such auditory–motor interactions. Participants performed a syllable discrimination task immediately after producing periodic syllable sequences. Two speech rates were explored: a ‘natural’ (individually preferred) and a fixed ‘non-natural’ (2 Hz) rate. Using a decoding approach, we show that perceptual performance is modulated by the stimulus phase determined by a participant’s own motor rhythm. Remarkably, for ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ rates, this finding is restricted to a subgroup of the population with quantifiable auditory–motor coupling. The observed pattern is compatible with a neural model assuming a bidirectional interaction of auditory and speech motor cortices. Crucially, the model matches the experimental results only if it incorporates individual differences in the strength of the auditory–motor connection.