Cortical hemodynamic response patterns to normal and whispered speech

Gerard B. Remijn, Mitsuru Kikuchi, Yuko Yosmimura, Sanae Ueno, Kiyomi Shitamichi, Yoshio Minabe

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Whispered speech is often used in direct person-to-person communication as a means to confidentiality. Compared with normally-vocalized speech, whispered speech is predominantly unvoiced, i.e., produced without vocal fold vibration, and has no clear fundamental frequency. By using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), we assessed cortical hemodynamic response patterns to normally-vocalized and whispered speech in adult listeners (n=13). Stimuli consisted of 20-s strings of Japanese word associations spoken by a female voice. Average oxygenated hemoglobin values (oxy-Hb) were obtained over two regions of interest (ROIs). Oxy-Hb values during the perception of normally-vocalized speech were highest over the left temporal ROI, but not significantly different from values measured over other ROIs. Oxy-Hb values during whispered speech were highest over the right temporal ROI and significantly higher (p<0.05) than those obtained over the left temporal ROI. No significant differences, however, were found in oxy-Hb comparisons between normally-vocalized and whispered speech, although the right temporal ROI comparison bordered on significance, with whisper inducing the higher value. Together, the results seem to suggest that whispered speech is a potent catalyst of cortical hemodynamic activity, especially over the right temporal cortex, in spite of its relatively modest sound level as compared to normal speech.

Original languageEnglish
Article number060261
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Jun 2 2013Jun 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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