Spoken language, both perception and production, is thought to be facilitated by an ensemble of predictive mechanisms. We obtain intracranial recordings in 37 patients using depth probes implanted along the anteroposterior extent of the supratemporal plane during rhythm listening, speech perception, and speech production. These reveal two predictive mechanisms in early auditory cortex with distinct anatomical and functional characteristics. The first, localized to bilateral Heschl’s gyri and indexed by low-frequency phase, predicts the timing of acoustic events. The second, localized to planum temporale only in language-dominant cortex and indexed by high-gamma power, shows a transient response to acoustic stimuli that is uniquely suppressed during speech production. Chronometric stimulation of Heschl’s gyrus selectively disrupts speech perception, while stimulation of planum temporale selectively disrupts speech production. This work illuminates the fundamental acoustic infrastructure—both architecture and function—for spoken language, grounding cognitive models of speech perception and production in human neurobiology.
The human brain fluently parses continuous speech during perception and production. Using direct brain recordings coupled with stimulation, the authors identify separable substrates underlying two distinct predictive mechanisms of “when” in Heschl’s gyrus and “what” in planum temporale.