Somatosensory feedback plays a critical role in the coordination of articulator movements for speech production. In response to unexpected resistance to lip or jaw movements during speech, fluent speakers can use the difference between the somatosensory expectations of a speech sound and the actual somatosensory feedback to adjust the trajectories of functionally relevant but unimpeded articulators. In an effort to investigate the neural substrates underlying the somatosensory feedback control of speech, we used an event-related sparse sampling functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm and a novel pneumatic device that unpredictably blocked subjects' jaw movements. In comparison to speech, perturbed speech, in which jaw perturbation prompted the generation of compensatory speech motor commands, demonstrated increased effects in bilateral ventral motor cortex, right-lateralized anterior supramarginal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus pars triangularis and ventral premotor cortex, and bilateral inferior posterior cerebellum (lobule VIII). Structural equation modeling revealed a significant increased influence from left anterior supramarginal gyrus to right anterior supramarginal gyrus and from left anterior supramarginal gyrus to right ventral premotor cortex as well as a significant increased reciprocal influence between right ventral premotor cortex and right ventral motor cortex and right anterior supramarginal gyrus and right inferior frontal gyrus pars triangularis for perturbed speech relative to speech. These results suggest that bilateral anterior supramarginal gyrus, right inferior frontal gyrus pars triangularis, right ventral premotor and motor cortices are functionally coupled and influence speech motor output when somatosensory feedback is unexpectedly perturbed during speech production.
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