The occipital lobes also play a role in lexical tone perception – A fMRI study
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings

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Lexical tone perception is essential for language understanding and expression in tonal language speakers. The present study aims to reveal the brain regions that contribute to the lexical tone perception in native Cantonese speakers by using BOLD fMRI.

Twenty-nine subjects with normal hearing and right-handed were participated in the present study.
3 Tesla whole body MRI machine (Achieva TX, Philips Healthcare, Best Netherlands) running on operating software version 5.1 was used.
A block design with four runs was used. Each run consists of 7 blocks with 15 seconds resting between the blocks. The first four blocks are passive listening with conditions of meaningful versus pseudo syllables with same tone versus different tones. The other three blocks are active listening, in which the subjects are required to identify the Cantonese syllables by picture matching task. The auditory stimuli are presented binaurally through a MRI compatible headphone.

Lexical tone perception activates both the bilateral temporal and occipital lobes. Further comparison found that there was significantly more activation in the bilateral occipital lobes in passive listening task which involves meaningful syllables with same tone than that in passive listening task with pseudo syllables with different tones. Such findings suggest that bilateral occipital lobes also play a significant role in lexical tone perception in Cantonese.

Cantonese lexical tone perception activates bilateral temporal lobes as well as occipital lobes in native Cantonese speakers. It is hypothesized that the process of ‘visualization’ by occipital lobes plays an important role in lexical tone perception.
All Author(s) ListWong R. W. M., Lee K. Y. S., Yu W. S., Wong A. W. W., Peng G., Wang D. F, Chu W. C. W., van Hasselt C. A., Tong M. C. F.
Name of ConferenceHong Kong Speech and Hearing Symposium 2018
Start Date of Conference01/11/2018
End Date of Conference04/11/2018
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Proceedings TitleHong Kong Speech and Hearing Symposium 2018
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordsspeech therapy, fMRI, tone

Last updated on 2019-10-06 at 12:34