Using TMS to investigate auditory-motor speech processing

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30 October 2017

Presenter(s): Dr Riikka Möttönen
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1



Speech communication relies on both auditory and motor systems. I am interested in how interacting auditory and motor systems support speech perception. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) provides a powerful tool to investigate contributions of the articulatory motor cortex to auditory speech processing. I will present evidence that TMS-induced disruption of the articulatory motor cortex impairs discrimination of speech sounds, indicating that the articulatory motor cortex contributes to speech perception. I will also present evidence that TMS-induced disruption of the articulatory motor cortex modulates early auditory-cortex responses to speech sounds. These findings show that the auditory and motor cortex interact during speech processing in young adults. Little is known about the effects of aging and age-related hearing loss on auditory-motor speech processing. Our recent findings suggest that the motor cortex is involved in speech processing in older adults with normal hearing, but its involvement decreases in order adults with hearing loss. Future studies are needed to investigate whether the decline in auditory-motor processing is associated with speech perception difficulties in adults with age-related hearing loss


M. Panouilleres and R. Möttönen (2017) Decline of auditory-motor speech processing in older adults with hearing loss. bioRxi.

E.H. Smalle, J. Rogers, R. Möttönen (2015) Dissociating contributions of the motor cortex to speech perception and response bias by using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cerebral Cortex. 25(10):3690:3698.

R. Möttönen, G.M. van de Ven, K.E. Watkins (2014) Attention fine-tunes auditory-motor processing of speech sounds. Journal of Neuroscience. 34(11):4064-4069.

R. Möttönen, R. Dutton, K.E. Watkins (2013) Auditory-motor processing of speech sounds. Cerebral Cortex 23(5):1190-1197.

R. Möttönen and K.E. Watkins (2009) Motor representations of articulators contribute to categorical perception of speech sounds. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(31):9819-9825.


Dr. Riikka Möttönen joined the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham in September 2017. Before moving to Nottingham she was an MRC Career Development and Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford. She received her PhD from Aalto University (Finland). Dr. Möttönen’s research focuses on brain mechanisms of speech communication. She uses both brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS) and imaging methods (EEG, MEG, fMRI) in her research. Dr. Möttönen is especially interested in sensorimotor and multisensory interactions during speech perception.