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    Speech versus song: multiple pitch-sensitive areas revealed by a naturally occurring musical illusion

    Tierney, Adam and Dick, Frederic and Deutsch, D. and Sereno, Martin I. (2013) Speech versus song: multiple pitch-sensitive areas revealed by a naturally occurring musical illusion. Cerebral Cortex 23 (2), pp. 249-254. ISSN 1047-3211.

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    It is normally obvious to listeners whether a human vocalization is intended to be heard as speech or song. However, the 2 signals are remarkably similar acoustically. A naturally occurring boundary case between speech and song has been discovered where a spoken phrase sounds as if it were sung when isolated and repeated. In the present study, an extensive search of audiobooks uncovered additional similar examples, which were contrasted with samples from the same corpus that do not sound like song, despite containing clear prosodic pitch contours. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we show that hearing these 2 closely matched stimuli is not associated with differences in response of early auditory areas. Rather, we find that a network of 8 regions, including the anterior superior temporal gyrus (STG) just anterior to Heschl's gyrus and the right midposterior STG, respond more strongly to speech perceived as song than to mere speech. This network overlaps a number of areas previously associated with pitch extraction and song production, confirming that phrases originally intended to be heard as speech can, under certain circumstances, be heard as song. Our results suggest that song processing compared with speech processing makes increased demands on pitch processing and auditory–motor integration.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): fMRI, music, pitch, song, speech
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 15:30
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:03


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