Voicing is one of the most important characteristics of phonetic speech sounds. Despite its importance, voicing perception mechanisms remain largely unknown. To explore auditory-motor networks associated with voicing perception, we firstly examined the brain regions that showed common activities for voicing production and perception using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results indicated that the auditory and speech motor areas were activated with the operculum parietale 4 (OP4) during both voicing production and perception. Secondly, we used a magnetoencephalography and examined the dynamical functional connectivity of the auditory-motor networks during a perceptual categorization task of /da/-/ta/ continuum stimuli varying in voice onset time (VOT) from 0 to 40 ms in 10 ms steps. Significant functional connectivities from the auditory cortical regions to the larynx motor area via OP4 were observed only when perceiving the stimulus with VOT 30 ms. In addition, regional activity analysis showed that the neural representation of VOT in the auditory cortical regions was mostly correlated with categorical perception of voicing but did not reflect the perception of stimulus with VOT 30 ms. We suggest that the larynx motor area, which is considered to play a crucial role in voicing production, contributes to categorical perception of voicing by complementing the temporal processing in the auditory cortical regions.
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