Top-down and bottom-up mechanisms as reflected by beta and gamma oscillations in speech perception: An individual-difference approach

Brain Lang. 2019 Dec;199:104700. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2019.104700. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Recent neurophysiological studies have proposed distinct roles of β and γ oscillations in implementing top-down and bottom-up processes. The present study aims to test this hypothesis in the domain of speech perception. We examined β and γ oscillations elicited to a tone contrast in a passive oddball paradigm, and their relationships with discrimination sensitivity d' and RT from two groups of healthy adults who showed high and low discrimination sensitivity to the contrast. The low-sensitivity group showed a significant reduction in β, which was further related to d'. Individual differences in RT were related to different frequency bands in the two groups, with a RT-β correlation in the low-sensitivity group, and a RT-γ relation in the high-sensitivity group. Based on these findings, we suggest that β, implicated in top-down processing, reflects individual differences in phonological representations, and that γ, involved in bottom-up processing, reflects individual differences in acoustic encoding.

Keywords: Beta oscillation; EEG; Gamma oscillation; Speech perception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beta Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Gamma Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Perception / physiology*