Phonological experience modulates voice discrimination: Evidence from functional brain networks analysis

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Abstract

Numerous behavioral studies have found a modulation effect of phonological experience on voice discrimination. However, the neural substrates underpinning this phenomenon are poorly understood. Here we manipulated language familiarity to test the hypothesis that phonological experience affects voice discrimination via mediating the engagement of multiple perceptual and cognitive resources. The results showed that during voice discrimination, the activation of several prefrontal regions was modulated by language familiarity. More importantly, the same effect was observed concerning the functional connectivity from the fronto-parietal network to the voice-identity network (VIN), and from the default mode network to the VIN. Our findings indicate that phonological experience could bias the recruitment of cognitive control and information retrieval/comparison processes during voice discrimination. Therefore, the study unravels the neural substrates subserving the modulation effect of phonological experience on voice discrimination, and provides new insights into studying voice discrimination from the perspective of network interactions.

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