A Neuroimaging Study of Premotor Lateralization and Cerebellar Involvement in the Production of Phonemes and Syllables Purpose This study investigated the network of brain regions involved in overt production of vowels, monosyllables, and bisyllables to test hypotheses derived from the Directions Into Velocities of Articulators (DIVA) model of speech production (Guenther, Ghosh, & Tourville, 2006). The DIVA model predicts left lateralized activity in inferior frontal cortex ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2008
A Neuroimaging Study of Premotor Lateralization and Cerebellar Involvement in the Production of Phonemes and Syllables
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Satrajit S. Ghosh
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and Boston University
  • Jason A. Tourville
    Boston University
  • Frank H. Guenther
    Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA
  • Contact author: Satrajit S. Ghosh, Speech Communication Group, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Room 36-547, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 50 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139. E-mail: satra@mit.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2008
A Neuroimaging Study of Premotor Lateralization and Cerebellar Involvement in the Production of Phonemes and Syllables
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2008, Vol. 51, 1183-1202. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0119)
History: Received June 6, 2007 , Revised September 8, 2007 , Accepted January 28, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2008, Vol. 51, 1183-1202. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0119)
History: Received June 6, 2007; Revised September 8, 2007; Accepted January 28, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 64

Purpose This study investigated the network of brain regions involved in overt production of vowels, monosyllables, and bisyllables to test hypotheses derived from the Directions Into Velocities of Articulators (DIVA) model of speech production (Guenther, Ghosh, & Tourville, 2006). The DIVA model predicts left lateralized activity in inferior frontal cortex when producing a single syllable or phoneme and increased cerebellar activity for consonant–vowel syllables compared with steady-state vowels.

Method Sparse sampling functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to collect data from 10 right-handed speakers of American English while producing isolated monosyllables (e.g., “ba,” “oo”). Data were analyzed using both voxel-based and participant-specific anatomical region-of-interest–based techniques.

Results Overt production of single monosyllables activated a network of brain regions, including left ventral premotor cortex, left posterior inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral supplementary motor area, sensorimotor cortex, auditory cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum. Paravermal cerebellum showed greater activity for consonant-vowel syllables compared to vowels.

Conclusions The finding of left-lateralized premotor cortex activity supports the DIVA model prediction that this area contains cell populations representing syllable motor programs without regard for semantic content. Furthermore, the superior paravermal cerebellum is more active for consonant–vowel syllables compared with vowels, perhaps due to increased timing constraints for consonant production.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by NIH Grants R01 DC02852 (awarded to Frank Guenther, PI) and R01 DC01925 (awarded to Joseph Perkell, PI). Use of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging was aided by support from the National Center for Research Resources Grant P41RR14075 and the MIND Institute. We thank Jason Bohland, Bruce Fischl, Mary Foley, Julie Goodman, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon, Lawrence Wald, and Lawrence White for their help with various aspects of the project and the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital for the use of their facilities.
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