Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Speech Perception Does Not Rely on Motor Cortex: Response to D'Ausilio et al.

My comment on the D'Ausilio, et al. (2009) study has now been published on the Current Biology website: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/comments_Dausilio

If you read the original article in the context of the authors' (specifically Fadiga's and Pulvermuller's) work on mirror neurons and embodied semantics it is clear that they are arguing for a motor theory of speech perception. My review specifically critiques this proposal. A reviewer of my commentary doubted that they actually believed what I was arguing againts (a reasonable comment because they do talk about the motor system in the context of a larger network), but after reading the authors' response to my commentary, it is clear that this is in fact exactly what they propose.

Have a look both at my critique and their response and let me know what you think. Essentially all I've done here is reiterate why the motor theory of speech perception was abandoned by speech scientists decades ago, with a little modern data augmentation. The motor theory was an interesting idea, it just happens to be wrong -- still.

In a subsequent post, I'll pick apart D'Ausilio et al.'s response to my commentary and show why none of their arguments hold any water.

D'Ausilio, A., Pulvermüller, F., Salmas, P., Bufalari, I., Begliomini, C., & Fadiga, L. (2009). The Motor Somatotopy of Speech Perception Current Biology, 19 (5), 381-385 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.017

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