Evidence suggests that temporal predictions arising from the motor system can enhance auditory perception. However, in speech perception, we lack evidence of perception being modulated by production. Here we show a behavioural protocol that captures the existence of such auditory–motor interactions. Participants performed a syllable discrimination task immediately after producing periodic syllable sequences. Two speech rates were explored: a ‘natural’ (individually preferred) and a fixed ‘non-natural’ (2 Hz) rate. Using a decoding approach, we show that perceptual performance is modulated by the stimulus phase determined by a participant’s own motor rhythm. Remarkably, for ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ rates, this finding is restricted to a subgroup of the population with quantifiable auditory–motor coupling. The observed pattern is compatible with a neural model assuming a bidirectional interaction of auditory and speech motor cortices. Crucially, the model matches the experimental results only if it incorporates individual differences in the strength of the auditory–motor connection.
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The data that support this study are available from the corresponding authors upon request.
Custom code that supports the findings of this study is available from the corresponding authors upon request.
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We thank M. Grabenhorst, J.-R. King and L. Gwilliams for their valuable input regarding the data analysis, M. Fichter for data recordings and S. Brendecke for graphics support. This work was funded by the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. The funders had no role in the conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Assaneo, M.F., Rimmele, J.M., Sanz Perl, Y. et al. Speaking rhythmically can shape hearing. Nat Hum Behav 5, 71–82 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00962-0
Scientific Reports (2021)