Hemispheric asymmetries in the processing of temporal acoustic cues in consonant-vowel syllables

Research Area: Research Year: 2007
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Sandmann, P; Eichele, Tom; Specht, Karsten; Jancke, L; Rimol, L M; Nordby, H; Hugdahl, Kenneth
PURPOSE: In order to examine auditory lateralization of prelexical speech processing, a dichotic listening task was performed with concurrent EEG measurement. METHODS: Subjects were tested with dichotic pairs of six consonant-vowel (CV) syllables that initially started with a voiced (/ba/, /da/, /ga/) or a voiceless stop consonant (/pa/, /ta/, /ka/). Electrophysiological correlates were analyzed by a low resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) approach to estimate the sources of N1 event-related potentials (ERP) in the 3D brain. RESULTS: Behavioral and electrophysiological measures revealed different ear advantages and ERP amplitude measures for voiced and voiceless syllables. Fronto-central N1 amplitudes were larger for syllables with voiced than voiceless initial consonants. LORETA source estimates revealed a lateralization effect, with stronger leftward lateralization for voiced than voiceless CV syllables. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that auditory lateralization is affected by temporal cues in CV syllables. The lateralization effect suggests that functional hemispheric differences exist at an early prelexical level of speech processing.
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