Speech Perception: Physiological

Speech, as our primary means of communication, is perhaps the most important sound in our daily lives. Current theories of how the brain perceives speech rely on more than a century of investigation that has included patients with brain damage, microelectrode recordings in nonhuman animals, electric fields measured on the human scalp, and, most recently, neuroimaging. The current consensus, as described in this entry, holds that speech proceeds along parallel pathways or streams in the cortex. A “what” stream is dedicated to speech comprehension, and a “where” or “how” stream is more important for learning speech and holding it in mind (as when you remember a phone number in your head; color insert, Figure 6). The left hemisphere of the brain tends to be dominant ...

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