What the brain does before the tongue slips

Jürn Möller, Bernadette M. Jansma, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Thomas F. Münte*

*Corresponding author for this work
    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Speech production is an extremely rapid and seemingly effortless process with speech errors in normal subjects being rare. Although psycholinguistic models incorporate elaborate monitoring mechanisms to prevent and correct errors, the brain regions involved in their commitment, detection, and correction have remained elusive. Using event-related brain potentials in a task known to elicit spoonerisms representing a special class of sound errors, we show specific brain activity prior to the vocalization of such spoonerisms. Source modeling localized this activity to the supplementary motor area in medial frontal cortex. We propose that this activity reflects the simultaneous activation of 2 competing speech plans on processing levels related to the construction of a rather "phonetic" speech plan contrasting with the traditional view, assuming the substitution of abstract phonological representations as the main source for sound errors.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCerebral Cortex
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)1173-1178
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2007

    Research Areas and Centers

    • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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