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Title: The role of the superior temporal gyrus in auditory feedback control of speech
Author: Meekings, S. A. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 4587
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Modern, biologically plausible models of speech production suggest that the superior temporal gyrus (STG) acts as a feedback monitor during speech production. This thesis investigates the role of the STG during speech production in three groups that have been hypothesized to use auditory feedback in differing ways: typical speakers, people who stammer, and a stroke patient. Because accurate speech production in most conversational settings can be accomplished without recourse to checking auditory feedback, it is necessary to introduce an external ‘error’, or feedback perturbation, to ensure that feedback control is being used. Here, masking noise was used as an ecologically valid perturbation that reliably prompts vocal adaptation. An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis showed that feedback perturbation is generally associated with bilateral STG activation. This was supported by a lesion study of a patient with left-sided stroke that suggested a link between temporal cortex infarct and an abnormal response to feedback perturbation. However, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of typical speakers’ behavioural and neural responses to different types of masking noise found that activation in the STG was driven not by the availability of auditory feedback, but by the informational content of the masker. Finally, an fMRI study of people who stutter— whose disfluency is hypothesized to arise from an overreliance on auditory feedback— found that STG activation was greatest in fluency-enhancing conditions, rather than during stuttering. In sum, while there is some evidence that the STG acts as a feedback monitor, this is limited to a subset of situations that involve auditory feedback. It is likely that feedback monitoring is not as central to speech communication as the previous literature might indicate. It is suggested that the concept of auditory ‘error’ should be reformulated to acknowledge different types of speech goals—acoustic, semantic, or phonemic.
Supervisor: Scott, S. K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available