Is my voice just a familiar voice? An electrophysiological study

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Abstract

It is not clear whether self-stimuli are processed by the brain as highly familiar overlearned stimuli or as self-specific stimuli. This study examined the neural processes underlying discrimination of one’s own voice (OV) compared with a familiar voice (FV) using electrophysiological methods. Event-related potentials were recorded while healthy subjects (n = 15) listened passively to oddball sequences composed of recordings of the French vowel /a/ pronounced either by the participant her/himself, or by a familiar person or an unknown person. The results indicated that, although mismatch negativity displayed similar peak latency and amplitude in both conditions, the amplitude of the subsequent P3a was significantly smaller in response to OV compared with a FV. This study therefore indicated that fewer pre-attentional processes are involved in the discrimination of one’s OV than in the discrimination of FVs.

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