Sensory-motor integration during speech production localizes to both left and right plana temporale

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Speech production relies on fine voluntary motor control of respiration, phonation, and articulation. The cortical initiation of complex sequences of coordinated movements is thought to result in parallel outputs, one directed toward motor neurons while the “efference copy” projects to auditory and somatosensory fields. It is proposed that the latter encodes the expected sensory consequences of speech and compares expected with actual postarticulatory sensory feedback. Previous functional neuroimaging evidence has indicated that the cortical target for the merging of feedforward motor and feedback sensory signals is left-lateralized and lies at the junction of the supratemporal plane with the parietal operculum, located mainly in the posterior half of the planum temporale (PT). The design of these studies required participants to imagine speaking or generating nonverbal vocalizations in response to external stimuli. The resulting assumption is that verbal and nonverbal vocal motor imagery activates neural systems that integrate the sensory-motor consequences of speech, even in the absence of primary motor cortical activity or sensory feedback. The present human functional magnetic resonance imaging study used univariate and multivariate analyses to investigate both overt and covert (internally generated) propositional and nonpropositional speech (noun definition and counting, respectively). Activity in response to overt, but not covert, speech was present in bilateral anterior PT, with no increased activity observed in posterior PT or parietal opercula for either speech type. On this evidence, the response of the left and right anterior PTs better fulfills the criteria for sensory target and state maps during overt speech production.




Simmonds, A. J., Leech, R., Collins, C., Redjep, O., & Wise, R. J. S. (2014). Sensory-motor integration during speech production localizes to both left and right plana temporale. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(39), 12963–12972.

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