Lateralization of phonetic and pitch discrimination in speech processing

Robert J. Zatorre, Alan C. Evans, Ernst Meyer, Albert Gjedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1196 Scopus citations


Cerebral activation was measured with positron emission tomography in ten human volunteers. The primary auditory cortex showed increased activity in response to noise bursts, whereas acoustically matched speech syllables activated secondary auditory cortices bilaterally. Instructions to make judgments about different attributes of the same speech signal resulted in activation of specific lateralized neural systems. Discrimination of phonetic structure led to increased activity in part of Broca's area of the left hemisphere, suggesting a role for articulatory recoding in phonetic perception. Processing changes in pitch produced activation of the right prefrontal cortex, consistent with the importance of right-hemisphere mechanisms in pitch perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-849
Number of pages4
Issue number5058
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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