Error in the Superior Temporal Gyrus? A Systematic Review and Activation Likelihood Estimation Meta-Analysis of Speech Production Studies

J Cogn Neurosci. 2021 Mar;33(3):422-444. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01661. Epub 2020 Dec 16.


Evidence for perceptual processing in models of speech production is often drawn from investigations in which the sound of a talker's voice is altered in real time to induce "errors." Methods of acoustic manipulation vary but are assumed to engage the same neural network and psychological processes. This paper aims to review fMRI and PET studies of altered auditory feedback and assess the strength of the evidence these studies provide for a speech error correction mechanism. Studies included were functional neuroimaging studies of speech production in neurotypical adult humans, using natural speech errors or one of three predefined speech manipulation techniques (frequency altered feedback, delayed auditory feedback, and masked auditory feedback). Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. In a systematic review, we evaluated whether each study (1) used an ecologically valid speech production task, (2) controlled for auditory activation caused by hearing the perturbation, (3) statistically controlled for multiple comparisons, and (4) measured behavioral compensation correlating with perturbation. None of the studies met all four criteria. We then conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of brain coordinates from 16 studies that reported brain responses to manipulated over unmanipulated speech feedback, using the GingerALE toolbox. These foci clustered in bilateral superior temporal gyri, anterior to cortical fields typically linked to error correction. Within the limits of our analysis, we conclude that existing neuroimaging evidence is insufficient to determine whether error monitoring occurs in the posterior superior temporal gyrus regions proposed by models of speech production.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech*
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging