Research Topic

The Cognitive and Neural Organisation of Speech Processing

About this Research Topic

Speech production and perception are some of the most complex actions humans perform. Speech processing is studied across various fields and using a wide variety of research approaches. These fields include, but are not limited to, (socio)linguistics, cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, and cognitive ...

Speech production and perception are some of the most complex actions humans perform. Speech processing is studied across various fields and using a wide variety of research approaches. These fields include, but are not limited to, (socio)linguistics, cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, and cognitive neuroscience. Research approaches range from behavioural studies to neuroimaging techniques such as MEG/EEG and fMRI, as well as neurophysiological approaches, including recording of MEPs, TMS.


Each of these approaches provides valuable information about specific aspects of speech processing. Behavioural testing can inform about the nature of the cognitive processes involved in speech processing, neuroimaging methods show where (fMRI and MEG) in the brain these processes take place and/or elucidate on the time-course of activation of these brain areas (EEG and MEG), while neurophysiological methods (MEPs and TMS) can assess critical involvement of brain regions in the cognitive process. Yet, what is currently unclear is how speech researchers can combine methods such that a convergent approach adds to theory/model formulation, above and beyond the contribution of individual component methods? We expect that such combinations of approaches will significantly forward theoretical development in the field.


Researchers in speech science are starting to converge methods. For instance, TMS and fMRI have been combined to establish the functional localisation and specific functional role in naming in aphasia patients, and manipulation of speech production has been used to test hypotheses about the neural organisation of speech perception. We think these combinations of approaches are extremely interesting and would welcome a discussion on how research methods can best be combined and used in the development of models of speech processing that make predictions about the cognitive processes and neural substrates associated with listening and speaking.


This research topic explores the cognitive and neural organisation of speech processing, including speech production and perception at the level of individual speech sounds, syllables, words, and sentences. We welcome original research and review articles covering these topics in the context of human studies, with a view to further elucidate the neural and cognitive mechanisms that together make up the human speech processing system. Although we are especially interested in papers that report on research using convergent methods to study speech processing, with the aim of constructing a theory/model of speech processing, any submission that can make a link to our central theme is welcome. Our goal is to use findings from a variety of disciplines, perspectives, and approaches to gain a more complete picture of the organisation of speech processing.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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