Neurophysiological evidence of efference copies to inner speech

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Date
2017-12-04
Authors
Whitford, Thomas J
Jack, Bradley N
Pearson, Daniel
Griffiths, Oren
Luque, David
Harris, Anthony
Spencer, Kevin M
Le Pelley, Mike E
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
eLife Sciences
Rights
Copyright Whitford et al.
Rights Holder
Whitford et al.
Abstract
Efference copies refer to internal duplicates of movement-producing neural signals. Their primary function is to predict, and often suppress, the sensory consequences of willed movements. Efference copies have been almost exclusively investigated in the context of overt movements. The current electrophysiological study employed a novel design to show that inner speech – the silent production of words in one’s mind – is also associated with an efference copy. Participants produced an inner phoneme at a precisely specified time, at which an audible phoneme was concurrently presented. The production of the inner phoneme resulted in electrophysiological suppression, but only if the content of the inner phoneme matched the content of the audible phoneme. These results demonstrate that inner speech – a purely mental action – is associated with an efference copy with detailed auditory properties. These findings suggest that inner speech may ultimately reflect a special type of overt speech.
Description
Copyright Whitford et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Keywords
electrophysiological study, inner speech, neural signals, efference copy, speech
Citation
Whitford, T. J., Jack, B. N., Pearson, D., Griffiths, O., Luque, D., Harris, A. W., … Le Pelley, M. E. (2017). Neurophysiological evidence of efference copies to inner speech. eLife, 6. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.28197