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Neural Correlates of Speech Production - A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
Linda I. Shuster

Although we have learned much about the neurological bases of speech production, there are a number of issues that remain to be resolved. In particular, recent advances in functional neuroimaging have challenged long-held beliefs regarding the specific role of various brain regions (such as Broca's area) in speech production. The purpose of this study was to characterize the brain regions involved in speech production using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3 Tesla. In particular, we wanted to determine whether there was a different pattern of brain activation during the production of longer as compared to shorter words, since longer words may require more motor planning. We employed an event-related design. Twelve individuals with normal hearing and no history of speech, language, or neurological problems repeated words of one or four syllables. As a control condition, they heard pink noise and remained quiet. We found that the production of monosyllables resulted in different patterns and a smaller spatial extent of brain activation as compared to the production of multisyllabic words. Also, the production of speech resulted in different patterns and spatial extent of activation as compared to lying quietly.

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