Beyond production: Brain responses during speech perception in adults who stutter
We used magnetoencephalography to investigate auditory evoked responses to speech vocalizations and non-speech tones in adults who do and do not stutter. Neuromagnetic field patterns were recorded as participants listened to a 1 kHz tone, playback of their own productions of the vowel /i/ and vowel-initial words, and actively generated the vowel /i/ and vowel-initial words. Activation of the auditory cortex at approximately 50 and 100 ms was observed during all tasks. A reduction in the peak amplitudes of the M50 and M100 components was observed during the active generation versus passive listening tasks dependent on the stimuli. Adults who stutter did not differ in the amount of speech-induced auditory suppression relative to fluent speakers. Adults who stutter had shorter M100 latencies for the actively generated speaking tasks in the right hemisphere relative to the left hemisphere but the fluent speakers showed similar latencies across hemispheres. During passive listening tasks, adults who stutter had longer M50 and M100 latencies than fluent speakers. The results suggest that there are timing, rather than amplitude, differences in auditory processing during speech in adults who stutter and are discussed in relation to hypotheses of auditory-motor integration breakdown in stuttering.