Sentential influences on acoustic-phonetic processing: a Granger causality analysis of multimodal imaging data

2015-12-14T13:14:43Z (GMT) by David W. Gow Jr. Bruna B. Olson

Sentential context influences the way that listeners identify phonetically ambiguous or perceptual degraded speech sounds. Unfortunately, inherent inferential limitations on the interpretation of behavioural or BOLD imaging results make it unclear whether context influences perceptual processing directly, or acts at a post-perceptual decision stage. In this paper, we use Kalman-filter enabled Granger causation analysis of MRI-constrained MEG/EEG data to distinguish between these possibilities. Using a retrospective probe verification task, we found that sentential context strongly affected the interpretation of words with ambiguous initial voicing (e.g. DUSK-TUSK). This behavioural context effect coincided with increased influence by brain regions associated with lexical representation on regions associated with acoustic-phonetic processing. These results support an interactive view of sentence context effects on speech perception.