The effects of direct cortical electrical interference on consonant and vowel discrimination were investigated in five patients with implanted subdural electrode arrays. Without electrical interference, patients' performance discriminating consonants and vowels was intact. With electrical interference, consonant discrimination was impaired at one electrode site in each patient on the superior temporal gyrus of the lateral left perisylvian cortex. Conversely, vowel and tone discrimination remained relatively intact when tested with electrical interference at the same site. Analysis of patients' consonant. discrimination errors revealed that neither differences in acoustic temporal structure nor syllable position fully account for the consonant-vowel perceptual dissociations elicited. Our data suggest that at the cortical level consonant and vowel perception are intrinsically distinct perceptual phenomena. The selective impairment of consonant, but not vowel, discrimination further suggests that consonant and vowel perception are distinguished by differences in relative dependence on the functional - perhaps integrative - resources of the left lateral superior temporal gyrus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience