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Falk, Simone; Dalla Bella, Simone (2016): It is better when expected: aligning speech and motor rhythms enhances verbal processing. In: Language Cognition and Neuroscience, Vol. 31, No. 5: pp. 699-708
Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.

Abstract

Rhythm is a powerful way to shape the processing of complex sounds such as speech or music by generating temporal expectancies in the listener. Here, we investigated if multisensory expectancies generated by aligning speech and motor rhythms may enhance verbal processing. Participants listened to rhythmically regular German sentences and detected word changes occurring on stressed or unstressed syllables. Participants were cued to produce finger taps simultaneously with the auditory speech rhythm. Finger taps were aligned or misaligned with stressed syllables. Detection of word changes was facilitated when manual movements were temporally aligned with the auditory speech rhythm. Moreover, motor alignment enhanced sensitivity to detect changes on stressed syllables compared to a perceptual control condition. Thus, rhythmic speech structure reinforced by concurrent movement in multisensory contexts has beneficial effects on verbal processing. This finding lends support to models of expectancy-driven speech processing.