The occipital cortex of early blind individuals (EB) activates during speech processing, challenging the notion of a hard-wired neurobiology of language. But, at what stage of speech processing do occipital regions participate in EB? Here we demonstrate that parieto-occipital regions in EB enhance their synchronization to acoustic fluctuations in human speech in the theta-range (corresponding to syllabic rate), irrespective of speech intelligibility. Crucially, enhanced synchronization to the intelligibility of speech was selectively observed in primary visual cortex in EB, suggesting that this region is at the interface between speech perception and comprehension. Moreover, EB showed overall enhanced functional connectivity between temporal and occipital cortices that are sensitive to speech intelligibility and altered directionality when compared to the sighted group. These findings suggest that the occipital cortex of the blind adopts an architecture that allows the tracking of speech material, and therefore does not fully abstract from the reorganized sensory inputs it receives.

Neuronal populations in the occipital cortex of the blind synchronize to the temporal dynamics of speech / Van Ackeren, Markus Johannes; Barbero, Francesca M; Mattioni, Stefania; Bottini, Roberto; Collignon, Olivier. - In: ELIFE. - ISSN 2050-084X. - 2018:e31640(2018), pp. 1-20. [10.7554/eLife.31640]

Neuronal populations in the occipital cortex of the blind synchronize to the temporal dynamics of speech

Van Ackeren, Markus Johannes;Mattioni, Stefania;Bottini, Roberto;Collignon, Olivier
2018

Abstract

The occipital cortex of early blind individuals (EB) activates during speech processing, challenging the notion of a hard-wired neurobiology of language. But, at what stage of speech processing do occipital regions participate in EB? Here we demonstrate that parieto-occipital regions in EB enhance their synchronization to acoustic fluctuations in human speech in the theta-range (corresponding to syllabic rate), irrespective of speech intelligibility. Crucially, enhanced synchronization to the intelligibility of speech was selectively observed in primary visual cortex in EB, suggesting that this region is at the interface between speech perception and comprehension. Moreover, EB showed overall enhanced functional connectivity between temporal and occipital cortices that are sensitive to speech intelligibility and altered directionality when compared to the sighted group. These findings suggest that the occipital cortex of the blind adopts an architecture that allows the tracking of speech material, and therefore does not fully abstract from the reorganized sensory inputs it receives.
e31640
Van Ackeren, Markus Johannes; Barbero, Francesca M; Mattioni, Stefania; Bottini, Roberto; Collignon, Olivier
Neuronal populations in the occipital cortex of the blind synchronize to the temporal dynamics of speech / Van Ackeren, Markus Johannes; Barbero, Francesca M; Mattioni, Stefania; Bottini, Roberto; Collignon, Olivier. - In: ELIFE. - ISSN 2050-084X. - 2018:e31640(2018), pp. 1-20. [10.7554/eLife.31640]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11572/240694
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