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The Brain's Dorsal Route for Speech Represents Word Meaning: Evidence from Gesture

Josse, Goulven
Joseph, Sabine
Bertasi, Eric
Published in PLOS ONE. 2012, vol. 7, no. 9, p. e46108
Abstract The dual-route model of speech processing includes a dorsal stream that maps auditory to motor features at the sublexical level rather than at the lexico-semantic level. However, the literature on gesture is an invitation to revise this model because it suggests that the premotor cortex of the dorsal route is a major site of lexico-semantic interaction. Here we investigated lexico-semantic mapping using word-gesture pairs that were either congruent or incongruent. Using fMRI-adaptation in 28 subjects, we found that temporo-parietal and premotor activity during auditory processing of single action words was modulated by the prior audiovisual context in which the words had been repeated. The BOLD signal was suppressed following repetition of the auditory word alone, and further suppressed following repetition of the word accompanied by a congruent gesture (e.g. ["grasp" + grasping gesture]). Conversely, repetition suppression was not observed when the same action word was accompanied by an incongruent gesture (e.g. ["grasp" + sprinkle]). We propose a simple model to explain these results: auditory and visual information converge onto premotor cortex where it is represented in a comparable format to determine (in)congruence between speech and gesture. This ability of the dorsal route to detect audiovisual semantic (in)congruence suggests that its function is not restricted to the sublexical level.
PMID: 23049951
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JOSSE, Goulven et al. The Brain's Dorsal Route for Speech Represents Word Meaning: Evidence from Gesture. In: PLOS ONE, 2012, vol. 7, n° 9, p. e46108.

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Deposited on : 2013-02-04

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