Speech-specific auditory processing: where is it?

Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Jun;9(6):271-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.03.009.


Are speech-specific processes localized in dedicated cortical regions or do they emerge from developmental plasticity in the connections among non-dedicated regions? Here we claim that all the brain regions activated by the processing of auditory speech can be re-classified according to whether they respond to non-verbal environmental sounds, pitch changes, unfamiliar melodies, or conceptual processes. We therefore argue that speech-specific processing emerges from differential demands on auditory and conceptual processes that are shared by speech and non-speech stimuli. This has implications for domain- vs. process-specific cognitive models, and for the relative importance of segregation and integration in functional anatomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Concept Formation
  • Environment
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Music
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Speech Perception / physiology