Neural activity during solo and choral reading: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of overt continuous speech production in adults who stutter

Emily O. Garnett, Ho Ming Chow, Sarah Limb, Yanni Liu, Soo Eun Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging investigations of overt speech production in adults who stutter (AWS) found increased motor and decreased auditory activity compared to controls. Activity in the auditory cortex is heightened, however, under fluency-inducing conditions in which AWS temporarily become fluent while synchronizing their speech with an external rhythm, such as a metronome or another speaker. These findings suggest that stuttering is associated with disrupted auditory motor integration. Technical challenges in acquiring neuroimaging data during continuous overt speech production have limited experimental paradigms to short or covert speech tasks. Such paradigms are not ideal, as stuttering primarily occurs during longer speaking tasks. To address this gap, we used a validated spatial ICA technique designed to address speech movement artifacts during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning. We compared brain activity and functional connectivity of the left auditory cortex during continuous speech production in two conditions: solo (stutter-prone) and choral (fluency-inducing) reading tasks. Overall, brain activity differences in AWS relative to controls in the two conditions were similar, showing expected patterns of hyperactivity in premotor/motor regions but underactivity in auditory regions. Functional connectivity of the left auditory cortex (STG) showed that within the AWS group there was increased correlated activity with the right insula and inferior frontal area during choral speech. The AWS also exhibited heightened connectivity between left STG and key regions of the default mode network (DMN) during solo speech. These findings indicate possible interference by the DMN during natural, stuttering-prone speech in AWS, and that enhanced coordination between auditory and motor regions may support fluent speech.

Original languageEnglish
Article number894676
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume16
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Garnett, Chow, Limb, Liu and Chang.

Keywords

  • auditory motor integration
  • continuous speech
  • default mode network
  • fMRI
  • functional connectivity
  • speech fluency
  • stuttering

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