Relationships between alpha oscillations during speech preparation and the listener N400 ERP to the produced speech

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 27;8(1):12838. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31038-9.


While previous studies separately demonstrate EEG spectral modulations during speech preparation and ERP responses to the listened speech, it is unclear whether these responses are related on a trial-by-trial basis between a speaker and listener. In order to determine whether these responses are related in real-time, Electroencephalography (EEG) responses were measured simultaneously within a speaker and listener using a 24 electrode Mobile EEG system (18 participants; 9 pairs) during a sentence completion task. Each trial consisted of a sentence prompt with an incomplete ending (e.g. "I took my dog for a ____"). The speaker was instructed to fill in the ending with something expected (e.g. "walk") (40 trials) or unexpected (e.g. "drink") (40 trials). The other participant listened to the speaker throughout the block. We found that lower alpha band activity was reduced when individuals prepared unexpected sentence endings compared to expected sentence endings. Greater reductions in the speaker's lower alpha activity during response preparation were correlated with a more negative N400 response in the listener to the unexpected word. These findings demonstrate that alpha suppression and the N400 ERP effect are present within a hyperscanning context and they are correlated between the speaker and listener during sentence completion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech*