Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over left angular gyrus modulates the predictability gain in degraded speech comprehension

Gesa Hartwigsen, Thomas Golombek, Jonas Obleser
Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior 2015, 68: 100-10
Increased neural activity in left angular gyrus (AG) accompanies successful comprehension of acoustically degraded but highly predictable sentences, as previous functional imaging studies have shown. However, it remains unclear whether the left AG is causally relevant for the comprehension of degraded speech. Here, we applied transient virtual lesions to either the left AG or superior parietal lobe (SPL, as a control area) with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) while healthy volunteers listened to and repeated sentences with high- versus low-predictable endings and different noise vocoding levels. We expected that rTMS of AG should selectively modulate the predictability gain (i.e., the comprehension benefit from sentences with high-predictable endings) at a medium degradation level. We found that rTMS of AG indeed reduced the predictability gain at a medium degradation level of 4-band noise vocoding (relative to control rTMS of SPL). In contrast, the behavioral perturbation induced by rTMS changed with increased signal quality. Hence, at 8-band noise vocoding, rTMS over AG versus SPL decreased the number of correctly repeated keywords for sentences with low-predictable endings. Together, these results show that the degree of the rTMS interference depended jointly on signal quality and predictability. Our results provide the first causal evidence that the left AG is a critical node for facilitating speech comprehension in challenging listening conditions.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"