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Human Brain Mapping






Wiley Online Library

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This study was designed to test the extent to which speaking processes related to articulation and voicing influence Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) measures of cortical hemodynamics and functional connectivity. Participants read passages in three conditions (oral reading, silent mouthing, and silent reading) while undergoing fNIRS imaging. Area under the curve (AUC) analyses of the oxygenated and deoxygenated hemodynamic response function concentration values were compared for each task across five regions of interest. There were significant region main effects for both oxy and deoxy AUC analyses, and a significant region x task interaction for deoxy AUC favoring the oral reading condition over the silent reading condition for two non-motor regions. Assessment of functional connectivity using Granger Causality revealed stronger networks between motor areas during oral reading and stronger networks between language areas during silent reading. There was no evidence that the hemodynamic flow from motor areas during oral reading compromised measures of language-related neural activity in non-motor areas. However, speech movements had small, but measurable effects on fNIRS measures of neural connections between motor and non-motor brain areas across the perisylvian region, even after wavelet filtering. Therefore, researchers studying speech processes with fNIRS should use wavelet filtering during preprocessing to reduce speech motion artifacts, incorporate a nonspeech communication or language control task into the research design, and conduct a connectivity analysis to adequately assess the impact of functional speech on the hemodynamic response across the perisylvian region.