Action planning and predictive coding when speaking

Neuroimage. 2014 May 1:91:91-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 11.


Across the animal kingdom, sensations resulting from an animal's own actions are processed differently from sensations resulting from external sources, with self-generated sensations being suppressed. A forward model has been proposed to explain this process across sensorimotor domains. During vocalization, reduced processing of one's own speech is believed to result from a comparison of speech sounds to corollary discharges of intended speech production generated from efference copies of commands to speak. Until now, anatomical and functional evidence validating this model in humans has been indirect. Using EEG with anatomical MRI to facilitate source localization, we demonstrate that inferior frontal gyrus activity during the 300ms before speaking was associated with suppressed processing of speech sounds in auditory cortex around 100ms after speech onset (N1). These findings indicate that an efference copy from speech areas in prefrontal cortex is transmitted to auditory cortex, where it is used to suppress processing of anticipated speech sounds. About 100ms after N1, a subsequent auditory cortical component (P2) was not suppressed during talking. The combined N1 and P2 effects suggest that although sensory processing is suppressed as reflected in N1, perceptual gaps may be filled as reflected in the lack of P2 suppression, explaining the discrepancy between sensory suppression and preserved sensory experiences. These findings, coupled with the coherence between relevant brain regions before and during speech, provide new mechanistic understanding of the complex interactions between action planning and sensory processing that provide for differentiated tagging and monitoring of one's own speech, processes disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Corollary discharge; Efference copy; IFG; STG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Auditory Perception
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Hearing / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult