Differential representation of articulatory gestures and phonemes in precentral and inferior frontal gyri

Emily M. Mugler, Matthew C. Tate, Karen Livescu, Jessica W. Templer, Matthew A. Goldrick, Marc W. Slutzky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Speech is a critical form of human communication and is central to our daily lives. Yet, despite decades of study, an understanding of the fundamental neural control of speech production remains incomplete. Current theories model speech production as a hierarchy from sentences and phrases down to words, syllables, speech sounds (phonemes), and the actions of vocal tract articulators used to produce speech sounds (articulatory gestures). Here, we investigate the cortical representation of articulatory gestures and phonemes in ventral precentral and inferior frontal gyri in men and women. Our results indicate that ventral precentral cortex represents gestures to a greater extent than phonemes, while inferior frontal cortex represents both gestures and phonemes. These findings suggest that speech production shares a common cortical representation with that of other types of movement, such as arm and hand movements. This has important implications both for our understanding of speech production and for the design of brain–machine interfaces to restore communication to people who cannot speak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9803-9813
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 14 2018


  • Articulatory gestures
  • Brain-computer interface
  • Encoding
  • Phonemes
  • Segments
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential representation of articulatory gestures and phonemes in precentral and inferior frontal gyri'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this