Internal modeling of upcoming speech: A causal role of the right posterior cerebellum in non-motor aspects of language production


  • Runnqvist Elin
  • Bonnard Mireille
  • Gauvin Hanna S.
  • Attarian Shahram
  • Trébuchon Agnès
  • Hartsuiker Robert J.
  • Alario F. -Xavier


  • Cerebellum
  • Language production
  • Verbal working memory
  • Internal modeling
  • Self monitoring

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Some language processing theories propose that, just as for other somatic actions, self-monitoring of language production is achieved through internal modeling. The cerebellum is the proposed center of such internal modeling in motor control, and the right cerebellum has been linked to an increasing number of language functions, including predictive processing during comprehension. Relating these findings, we tested whether the right posterior cerebellum has a causal role for self-monitoring of speech errors. Participants received 1Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation during 15 minutes to lobules Crus I and II in the right hemisphere, and, in counterbalanced orders, to the contralateral area in the left cerebellar hemisphere (control) in order to induce a temporary inactivation of one of these zones. Immediately afterwards, they engaged in a speech production task priming the production of speech errors. Language production was impaired after right compared to left hemisphere stimulation, a finding that provides evidence for a causal role of the cerebellum during language production. We interpreted this role in terms of internal modeling of upcoming speech through a verbal working memory process used to prevent errors.

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