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How may the basal ganglia contribute to auditory categorization and speech perception?

Lim, Sung-Joo and Fiez, Julie A and Holt, Lori L (2014) How may the basal ganglia contribute to auditory categorization and speech perception? Front Neurosci, 8. 230 - ?. ISSN 1662-4548

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Listeners must accomplish two complementary perceptual feats in extracting a message from speech. They must discriminate linguistically-relevant acoustic variability and generalize across irrelevant variability. Said another way, they must categorize speech. Since the mapping of acoustic variability is language-specific, these categories must be learned from experience. Thus, understanding how, in general, the auditory system acquires and represents categories can inform us about the toolbox of mechanisms available to speech perception. This perspective invites consideration of findings from cognitive neuroscience literatures outside of the speech domain as a means of constraining models of speech perception. Although neurobiological models of speech perception have mainly focused on cerebral cortex, research outside the speech domain is consistent with the possibility of significant subcortical contributions in category learning. Here, we review the functional role of one such structure, the basal ganglia. We examine research from animal electrophysiology, human neuroimaging, and behavior to consider characteristics of basal ganglia processing that may be advantageous for speech category learning. We also present emerging evidence for a direct role for basal ganglia in learning auditory categories in a complex, naturalistic task intended to model the incidental manner in which speech categories are acquired. To conclude, we highlight new research questions that arise in incorporating the broader neuroscience research literature in modeling speech perception, and suggest how understanding contributions of the basal ganglia can inform attempts to optimize training protocols for learning non-native speech categories in adulthood.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lim, Sung-Joo
Fiez, Julie Afiez@pitt.eduFIEZ
Holt, Lori Llholt@pitt.eduLHOLT
Date: 13 July 2014
Date Type: Acceptance
Journal or Publication Title: Front Neurosci
Volume: 8
Page Range: 230 - ?
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00230
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: basal ganglia, categorization, perceptual learning, plasticity, speech category learning, speech perception
ISSN: 1662-4548
Funders: NIDCD NIH HHS (R01 DC004674), NICHD NIH HHS (R01 HD060388), NIGMS NIH HHS (T32 GM081760), NIDA NIH HHS (T90 DA022761)
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 21:25
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 21:56


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