Giving speech a hand: gesture modulates activity in auditory cortex during speech perception.

TitleGiving speech a hand: gesture modulates activity in auditory cortex during speech perception.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHubbard, AL, Wilson SM, Callan DE, Dapretto M
JournalHuman brain mapping
Volume30
Issue3
Pagination1028-37
Date Published2009 Mar
ISSN1097-0193
KeywordsAcoustic Stimulation, Adult, Auditory Cortex, Auditory Perception, Brain Mapping, Female, Gestures, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Motor Activity, Photic Stimulation, Speech
Abstract

Viewing hand gestures during face-to-face communication affects speech perception and comprehension. Despite the visible role played by gesture in social interactions, relatively little is known about how the brain integrates hand gestures with co-occurring speech. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an ecologically valid paradigm to investigate how beat gesture-a fundamental type of hand gesture that marks speech prosody-might impact speech perception at the neural level. Subjects underwent fMRI while listening to spontaneously-produced speech accompanied by beat gesture, nonsense hand movement, or a still body; as additional control conditions, subjects also viewed beat gesture, nonsense hand movement, or a still body all presented without speech. Validating behavioral evidence that gesture affects speech perception, bilateral nonprimary auditory cortex showed greater activity when speech was accompanied by beat gesture than when speech was presented alone. Further, the left superior temporal gyrus/sulcus showed stronger activity when speech was accompanied by beat gesture than when speech was accompanied by nonsense hand movement. Finally, the right planum temporale was identified as a putative multisensory integration site for beat gesture and speech (i.e., here activity in response to speech accompanied by beat gesture was greater than the summed responses to speech alone and beat gesture alone), indicating that this area may be pivotally involved in synthesizing the rhythmic aspects of both speech and gesture. Taken together, these findings suggest a common neural substrate for processing speech and gesture, likely reflecting their joint communicative role in social interactions.

DOI10.1111/j.1751-7893.2009.00137.x
Alternate JournalHum Brain Mapp