Non-fluent speech following stroke is caused by impaired efference copy

Cogn Neuropsychol. 2017 Sep;34(6):333-346. doi: 10.1080/02643294.2017.1394834. Epub 2017 Nov 17.


Efference copy is a cognitive mechanism argued to be critical for initiating and monitoring speech: however, the extent to which breakdown of efference copy mechanisms impact speech production is unclear. This study examined the best mechanistic predictors of non-fluent speech among 88 stroke survivors. Objective speech fluency measures were subjected to a principal component analysis (PCA). The primary PCA factor was then entered into a multiple stepwise linear regression analysis as the dependent variable, with a set of independent mechanistic variables. Participants' ability to mimic audio-visual speech ("speech entrainment response") was the best independent predictor of non-fluent speech. We suggest that this "speech entrainment" factor reflects integrity of internal monitoring (i.e., efference copy) of speech production, which affects speech initiation and maintenance. Results support models of normal speech production and suggest that therapy focused on speech initiation and maintenance may improve speech fluency for individuals with chronic non-fluent aphasia post stroke.

Keywords: Aphasia; efference copy; speech entrainment; speech fluency; stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia / etiology*
  • Aphasia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Speech*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*