Monthly
208 pp. per issue
8 1/2 x 11, illustrated
ISSN
0898-929X
E-ISSN
1530-8898
2014 Impact factor:
4.69

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

March 2015, Vol. 27, No. 3, Pages 533-545
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00719)
© 2015 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Role of Phase-locking to the Temporal Envelope of Speech in Auditory Perception and Speech Intelligibility
Article PDF (460.73 KB)
Abstract

The temporal envelope of speech is important for speech intelligibility. Entrainment of cortical oscillations to the speech temporal envelope is a putative mechanism underlying speech intelligibility. Here we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to test the hypothesis that phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope is enhanced for intelligible compared with unintelligible speech sentences. Perceptual “pop-out” was used to change the percept of physically identical tone-vocoded speech sentences from unintelligible to intelligible. The use of pop-out dissociates changes in phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope arising from acoustical differences between un/intelligible speech from changes in speech intelligibility itself. Novel and bespoke whole-head beamforming analyses, based on significant cross-correlation between the temporal envelopes of the speech stimuli and phase-locked neural activity, were used to localize neural sources that track the speech temporal envelope of both intelligible and unintelligible speech. Location-of-interest analyses were carried out in a priori defined locations to measure the representation of the speech temporal envelope for both un/intelligible speech in both the time domain (cross-correlation) and frequency domain (coherence). Whole-brain beamforming analyses identified neural sources phase-locked to the temporal envelopes of both unintelligible and intelligible speech sentences. Crucially there was no difference in phase-locking to the temporal envelope of speech in the pop-out condition in either the whole-brain or location-of-interest analyses, demonstrating that phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope is not enhanced by linguistic information.