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Neural bases of phonological features: hemispheric asymmetry and ERPs


  Contact person
Nathalie BEDOIN

Scientific framework and objectives

On the basis of first results obtained with hemifield presentation of printed stimuli that showed the involvement of the right hemisphere (RH) in the processing of voicing in reading, behavioural and ERP experiments are conducted with the dichotic listening paradigm in French to assess hemispheric asymmetry in the perception of various phonological features.

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The data recorded with dichotic presentation confirmed the classical right-ear (left hemisphere, LH) advantage when two words simultaneously presented to the ears differed by place of articulation. However, both hemispheres are equally involved in voicing processing. More precisely, the RH is strongly involved in the perception of voiced consonants, but not in voiceless ones, a pattern of results which can be explained in accordance with an acoustical explanation of hemispheric asymmetry for language, and within the Asymmetric Sampling in Time framework. In French, the voiceless-voiced contrast is realised as short positive vs. long negative VOT, which may determine the relative involvement of the LH and RH, due to their respective putative specialisation for short and long events. This is consistent with the AST model which supports that acoustic cues are analysed with finer temporal resolution in the LH than in the RH. This dichotic experiment also shows that the LH classical hemispheric dominance for place of articulation processing increases from 5 to 9 years old in children and it has been standardized (from 5 years to adulthood) to provide a clinical test – DICHOTICA – of hemispheric asymmetry in phonological processing. It is sensitive to disturbance due, for instance, to benign or more deleterious forms of epilepsy.
The involvement of the RH in the processing of voicing has been confirmed by our EEG data. Additionally, event-related potentials (ERPs) are differently modulated according to the class of phonetic features distinguishing standards and deviants in auditory Go/Nogo tasks, which revealed hierarchical sensitivity to sub-phonemic similarity in speech perception (manner of articulation > voicing > place of articulation).


  Publications
  • Bedoin, N., Ferragne, E., Marsico, E., 2010, "Hemispheric asymmetries depend on the phonetic feature: A dichotic study of place of articulation and voicing in French stops", Brain and Language, 115:2, pp. 133-140
  • Bedoin, N., Ferragne, E., Lopez, C., Herbillon, V., De Bellescize, J., des Portes, V., 2011, "Atypical hemispheric asymmetries for the processing of phonological features in children with rolandic epilepsy", Epilepsy & Behavior, 21:1, pp. 42-51
  • Bedoin, N., Krzonowski, J., Ferragne, E., 2013, "How voicing, place and manner of articulation differently modulate event-related potentials associated with response inhibition", proc. of Interspeech, Lyon, 25-29 août 2013
  • Fabre, D., Bedoin, N., 2003, "Sensitivity to sonority for print processing in normal readers and dyslexic children", Current Psychology Letters: Behaviour, Brain & Cognition, 10:1, pp. 1-6
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