Temporal lobe perceptual predictions for speech are instantiated in motor cortex and reconciled by inferior frontal cortex.


Humans use predictions to improve speech perception, especially in noisy environments. Here we use 7-T functional MRI (fMRI) to decode brain representations of written phonological predictions and degraded speech signals in healthy humans and people with selective frontal neurodegeneration (non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia [nfvPPA]). Multivariate analyses of item-specific patterns of neural activation indicate dissimilar representations of verified and violated predictions in left inferior frontal gyrus, suggestive of processing by distinct neural populations. In contrast, precentral gyrus represents a combination of phonological information and weighted prediction error. In the presence of intact temporal cortex, frontal neurodegeneration results in inflexible predictions. This manifests neurally as a failure to suppress incorrect predictions in anterior superior temporal gyrus and reduced stability of phonological representations in precentral gyrus. We propose a tripartite speech perception network in which inferior frontal gyrus supports prediction reconciliation in echoic memory, and precentral gyrus invokes a motor model to instantiate and refine perceptual predictions for speech.