Conflict monitoring in speech processing: An fMRI study of error detection in speech production and perception

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Abstract

To minimize the number of errors in speech, and thereby facilitate communication, speech is monitored before articulation. It is, however, unclear at which level during speech production monitoring takes place, and what mechanisms are used to detect and correct errors. The present study investigated whether internal verbal monitoring takes place through the speech perception system, as proposed by perception-based theories of speech monitoring, or whether mechanisms independent of perception are applied, as proposed by production-based theories of speech monitoring. With the use of fMRI during a tongue twister task we observed that error detection in internal speech during noise-masked overt speech production and error detection in speech perception both recruit the same neural network, which includes pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), anterior insula (AI), and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Although production and perception recruit similar areas, as proposed by perception-based accounts, we did not find activation in superior temporal areas (which are typically associated with speech perception) during internal speech monitoring in speech production as hypothesized by these accounts. On the contrary, results are highly compatible with a domain general approach to speech monitoring, by which internal speech monitoring takes place through detection of conflict between response options, which is subsequently resolved by a domain general executive center (e.g., the ACC).

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