The Essential Role of Premotor Cortex in Speech Perception

Ingo G. Meister, Stephen M. Wilson, Choi Deblieck, Allan D. Wu, Marco Iacoboni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

312 Scopus citations


Besides the involvement of superior temporal regions in processing complex speech sounds, evidence suggests that the motor system might also play a role [1-4]. This suggests that the hearer might perceive speech by simulating the articulatory gestures of the speaker [5, 6]. It is still an open question whether this simulation process is necessary for speech perception. We applied repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the premotor cortex to disrupt subjects' ability to perform a phonetic discrimination task. Subjects were impaired in discriminating stop consonants in noise but were unaffected in a control task that was matched in difficulty, task structure, and response characteristics. These results show that the disruption of human premotor cortex impairs speech perception, thus demonstrating an essential role of premotor cortices in perceptual processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1692-1696
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 9 2007



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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