Imitation of para-phonological detail following left hemisphere lesions

Juliane Kappes*, Annette Baumgaertner, Claudia Peschke, Georg Goldenberg, Wolfram Ziegler

*Corresponding author for this work
6 Citations (Scopus)


Imitation in speech refers to the unintentional transfer of phonologically irrelevant acoustic-phonetic information of auditory input into speech motor output. Evidence for such imitation effects has been explained within the framework of episodic theories. However, it is largely unclear, which neural structures mediate speech imitation and how imitation is related with verbal repetition. Two experiments were conducted, a standard repetition task, and a transformation task requiring phonetic manipulation of the presented auditory nonword stimuli. Nonword materials varied sub-phonemically in word stress (pitch elevation magnitude; PEM) and in a parameter related to speaking style, i.e., the explicitness of final schwa-syllables (SSE). We examined speech imitation in 10 healthy participants, 10 patients with phonological impairments after left hemisphere lesions, and 11 patients with right hemisphere lesions. In repetition, significant imitation of SSE and PEM was observed in all groups of participants. In transformation, imitation occurred in healthy participants and in the patients with right hemisphere lesions, whereas no imitation was observed in the patient group with left hemisphere lesions. Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping revealed that different areas within the left temporal plane influenced the degree of imitation of phonetic and prosodic detail in repetition.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1115-1124
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 03.2010

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-05 Experimental Models for Investigating Diseases of the Nervous System
  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience

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