Functional Neuroimaging of Speech

In order to test and refine our modeling framework, our lab designs and carries out a variety of brain imaging studies in humans. Most of our work has concentrated on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a technique that is sensitive to changes in blood oxygenation levels that result from local brain activations. This method thus allows us to obtain statistical maps of cortical activations that can easily be compared with simulations from our modeling work. Because speech is only available for study in humans, fMRI is an invaluable technique, as it is very safe and completely non-invasive. We also use diffusion-weighted imaging to investigate white matter pathways in the speech network of neurologically normal individuals and those with communication disorders.

Our lab has also developed a suite of region-of-interest (ROI) based analysis tools for fMRI that are available from our Software page. We have shown that analyzing imaging results based on anatomically defined regions of interest across subject, rather than using spatial averaging, can significantly enhance statistical power.


Brain activity while producing single words or pseudowords plotted on inflated cortical surfaces (adapted from Guenther, 2016, Chapter 2).