Modeling interactions between speech production and perception: speech error detection at semantic and phonological levels and the inner speech loop

Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 2016

Bernd J. Kroger, Eric Crawford, Trevor Bekolay, Chris Eliasmith


Production and comprehension of speech are closely interwoven. For example, the ability to detect an error in one's own speech, halt speech production, and finally correct the error can be explained by assuming an inner speech loop which continuously compares the word representations induced by production to those induced by perception at various cognitive levels (e.g. conceptual, word, or phonological levels). Because spontaneous speech errors are relatively rare, a picture naming and halt paradigm can be used to evoke them. In this paradigm, picture presentation (target word initiation) is followed by an auditory stop signal (distractor word) for halting speech production. The current study seeks to understand the neural mechanisms governing self-detection of speech errors by developing a biologically inspired neural model of the inner speech loop. The neural model is based on the Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) and consists of a network of about 500,000 spiking neurons. In the first experiment we induce simulated speech errors semantically and phonologically. In the second experiment, we simulate a picture naming and halt task. Target-distractor word pairs were balanced with respect to variation of phonological and semantic similarity. The results of the first experiment show that speech errors are successfully detected by a monitoring component in the inner speech loop. The results of the second experiment show that the model correctly reproduces human behavioral data on the picture naming and halt task. In particular, the halting rate in the production of target words was lower for phonologically similar words than for semantically similar or fully dissimilar distractor words. We thus conclude that the neural architecture proposed here to model the inner speech loop reflects important interactions in production and perception at phonological and semantic levels.

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