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Pushing the Envelope: Developments in Neural Entrainment to Speech and the Biological Underpinnings of Prosody Perception

1,2,*, 1,3,4,5 and 1,4,5,6,*
1
Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37232, USA
2
Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
3
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, 110 Magnolia Circle, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
4
Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University, 2215 Garland Ave, Nashville, TN 37232, USA
5
The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, Vanderbilt University, 1801 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212, USA
6
Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9030070
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Neurocognition of Music and Language)
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Abstract

Prosodic cues in speech are indispensable for comprehending a speaker’s message, recognizing emphasis and emotion, parsing segmental units, and disambiguating syntactic structures. While it is commonly accepted that prosody provides a fundamental service to higher-level features of speech, the neural underpinnings of prosody processing are not clearly defined in the cognitive neuroscience literature. Many recent electrophysiological studies have examined speech comprehension by measuring neural entrainment to the speech amplitude envelope, using a variety of methods including phase-locking algorithms and stimulus reconstruction. Here we review recent evidence for neural tracking of the speech envelope and demonstrate the importance of prosodic contributions to the neural tracking of speech. Prosodic cues may offer a foundation for supporting neural synchronization to the speech envelope, which scaffolds linguistic processing. We argue that prosody has an inherent role in speech perception, and future research should fill the gap in our knowledge of how prosody contributes to speech envelope entrainment. View Full-Text
Keywords: prosody; speech envelope; neural entrainment; rhythm; EEG prosody; speech envelope; neural entrainment; rhythm; EEG
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Myers, B.R.; Lense, M.D.; Gordon, R.L. Pushing the Envelope: Developments in Neural Entrainment to Speech and the Biological Underpinnings of Prosody Perception. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 70.

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