The role of the auditory brainstem in processing linguistically-relevant pitch patterns. Krishnan, A. and Gandour, J. Brain and Language, 110(3):135-148.
The role of the auditory brainstem in processing linguistically-relevant pitch patterns [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Historically, the brainstem has been neglected as a part of the brain involved in language processing. We review recent evidence of language-dependent effects in pitch processing based on comparisons of native vs. nonnative speakers of a tonal language from electrophysiological recordings in the auditory brainstem. We argue that there is enhancing of linguistically-relevant pitch dimensions or features well before the auditory signal reaches the cerebral cortex. We propose that long-term experience with a tone language sharpens the tuning characteristics of neurons along the pitch axis with enhanced sensitivity to linguistically-relevant, rapidly changing sections of pitch contours. Though not specific to a speech context, experience-dependent brainstem mechanisms for pitch representation are clearly sensitive to particular aspects of pitch contours that native speakers of a tone language have been exposed to. Such experience-dependent effects on lower-level sensory processing are compatible with more integrated, hierarchically organized pathways to language and the brain. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc.
@article{krishnan_role_2009,
	Author = {Krishnan, Ananthanarayan and Gandour, Jack},
	Date = {2009},
	Date-Modified = {2017-04-19 08:04:07 +0000},
	Doi = {10.1016/j.bandl.2009.03.005},
	Issn = {0093934X},
	Journal = {Brain and Language},
	Keywords = {audiology, intonation, phonetics, prosody, speech perception},
	Number = {3},
	Pages = {135-148},
	Pmid = {19366639},
	Title = {The role of the auditory brainstem in processing linguistically-relevant pitch patterns},
	Url = {http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731823/},
	Volume = {110},
	Abstract = {Historically, the brainstem has been neglected as a part of the brain involved in language processing. We review recent evidence of language-dependent effects in pitch processing based on comparisons of native vs. nonnative speakers of a tonal language from electrophysiological recordings in the auditory brainstem. We argue that there is enhancing of linguistically-relevant pitch dimensions or features well before the auditory signal reaches the cerebral cortex. We propose that long-term experience with a tone language sharpens the tuning characteristics of neurons along the pitch axis with enhanced sensitivity to linguistically-relevant, rapidly changing sections of pitch contours. Though not specific to a speech context, experience-dependent brainstem mechanisms for pitch representation are clearly sensitive to particular aspects of pitch contours that native speakers of a tone language have been exposed to. Such experience-dependent effects on lower-level sensory processing are compatible with more integrated, hierarchically organized pathways to language and the brain. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc.},
	Bdsk-Url-1 = {http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731823/},
	Bdsk-Url-2 = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2009.03.005}}
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