Cortical and Subcortical Processing of Linguistic Pitch Patterns

Joseph C.Y. Lau, Zilong Xie, Bharath Chandrasekaran, Patrick C.M. Wong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Pitch is one of the major prosodic cues in speech. A central research question is the way the brain derives the percept of pitch from incoming acoustic information. After introducing the functional architecture of the human auditory system, this chapter reviews lesion and neuroimaging studies and human electrophysiological studies of the processing of linguistically relevant pitch patterns at the cortical and subcortical levels, respectively. Recent evidence demonstrates the malleability of pitch processing in response to long-term and short-term auditory experiences as well as to the immediate history of the sensory inputs. In addition, the role of pitch in syntax-level processing will be evaluated. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how these findings, along with recent technical advances, will allow future studies to explore the neurocognitive bases of phonological theories of pitch representation and, conversely, of how prosodic theories may inform the intricate nature of neural pitch processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780198832232
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • electrophysiological studies
  • human auditory system
  • neural pitch processing
  • neuroimaging studies
  • pitch
  • pitch patterns
  • processing
  • prosodic cues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Cortical and Subcortical Processing of Linguistic Pitch Patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this