+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Production Variability and Categorical Perception of Vowels Are Strongly Linked

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Theoretical models of speech production suggest that the speech motor system (SMS) uses auditory goals to determine errors in its auditory output during vowel production. This type of error calculation indicates that within-speaker production variability of a given vowel is related to the size of the vowel’s auditory goal. However, emerging evidence suggests that the SMS may also take into account perceptual knowledge of vowel categories (in addition to auditory goals) to estimate errors in auditory feedback. In this study, we examined how this mechanism influences within-speaker variability in vowel production. We conducted a study ( n = 40 adults), consisting of a vowel categorization task and a vowel production task. The vowel categorization task was designed—based on participant-specific vowels—to estimate the categorical perceptual boundary (CPB) between two front vowels (/ε/ and /æ/). Using the vowel production data of each participant, we calculated a variability-based boundary (VBB) located at the “center of mass” of the two vowels. The inverse of the standard deviation of a vowel distribution was used as the “mass” of the vowel. We found that: (a) categorical boundary was located farther from more variable vowels; and (b) the calculated VBB (i.e., the center of mass of the vowels) significantly and positively correlated with the estimated categorical boundary ( r = 0.912 for formants calculated in hertz; r = 0.854 for formants calculated in bark). Overall, our findings support a view that vowel production and vowel perception are strongly and bidirectionally linked.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 27

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Listening to speech activates motor areas involved in speech production.

          To examine the role of motor areas in speech perception, we carried out a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in which subjects listened passively to monosyllables and produced the same speech sounds. Listening to speech activated bilaterally a superior portion of ventral premotor cortex that largely overlapped a speech production motor area centered just posteriorly on the border of Brodmann areas 4a and 6, which we distinguished from a more ventral speech production area centered in area 4p. Our findings support the view that the motor system is recruited in mapping acoustic inputs to a phonetic code.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Computational neuroanatomy of speech production.

            Speech production has been studied predominantly from within two traditions, psycholinguistics and motor control. These traditions have rarely interacted, and the resulting chasm between these approaches seems to reflect a level of analysis difference: whereas motor control is concerned with lower-level articulatory control, psycholinguistics focuses on higher-level linguistic processing. However, closer examination of both approaches reveals a substantial convergence of ideas. The goal of this article is to integrate psycholinguistic and motor control approaches to speech production. The result of this synthesis is a neuroanatomically grounded, hierarchical state feedback control model of speech production.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              The motor somatotopy of speech perception.

              Listening to speech recruits a network of fronto-temporo-parietal cortical areas. Classical models consider anterior (motor) sites to be involved in speech production whereas posterior sites are considered to be involved in comprehension. This functional segregation is challenged by action-perception theories suggesting that brain circuits for speech articulation and speech perception are functionally dependent. Although recent data show that speech listening elicits motor activities analogous to production, it's still debated whether motor circuits play a causal contribution to the perception of speech. Here we administered transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to motor cortex controlling lips and tongue during the discrimination of lip- and tongue-articulated phonemes. We found a neurofunctional double dissociation in speech sound discrimination, supporting the idea that motor structures provide a specific functional contribution to the perception of speech sounds. Moreover, our findings show a fine-grained motor somatotopy for speech comprehension. We discuss our results in light of a modified "motor theory of speech perception" according to which speech comprehension is grounded in motor circuits not exclusively involved in speech production.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                22 March 2019
                : 13
                Speech and Hearing Science, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University , Tempe, AZ, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Xing Tian, New York University Shanghai, China

                Reviewed by: Nicole Eva Neef, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany; John F. Houde, University of California, San Francisco, United States

                *Correspondence: Ayoub Daliri ayoub.daliri@ 123456asu.edu
                Copyright © 2019 Chao, Ochoa and Daliri.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Equations: 3, References: 54, Pages: 9, Words: 6815
                Original Research


                vowels, speech motor control, variability, perception, speech


                Comment on this article