Neural processes involved with perception of non-native durational contrasts

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Neural processes underlying identification of durational contrasts were studied by comparing English and Japanese speakers for Japanese short/long vowel identification relative to consonant identification. Enhanced activities for non-native contrast (Japanese short/long vowel identification by English speakers) were observed in brain regions involved with articulatory–auditory mapping (Broca's area, superior temporal gyrus, planum temporale, and cerebellum), but not in the supramarginal gyrus. Greater activity in the supramarginal gyrus found for the consonant identification over short/long vowel identification by Japanese speakers implies that it is more important for phonetic contrasts differing in place of articulation than for vowel duration. These results support the hypothesis that neural processes used to facilitate perception depend on the relative contribution of information important for articulatory planning control.

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