Shared and modality-specific brain regions that mediate auditory and visual word comprehension

Anne Keitel (Lead / Corresponding author), Joachim Gross, Christoph Kayser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Visual speech carried by lip movements is an integral part of communication. Yet, it remains unclear in how far visual and acoustic speech comprehension are mediated by the same brain regions. Using multivariate classification of full-brain MEG data, we first probed where the brain represents acoustically and visually conveyed word identities. We then tested where these sensory-driven representations are predictive of participants' trial-wise comprehension. The comprehension-relevant representations of auditory and visual speech converged only in anterior angular and inferior frontal regions and were spatially dissociated from those representations that best reflected the sensory-driven word identity. These results provide a neural explanation for the behavioural dissociation of acoustic and visual speech comprehension and suggest that cerebral representations encoding word identities may be more modality-specific than often upheld.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56972
Number of pages23
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2020


  • speech decoding
  • word classification
  • visual speech
  • MEG
  • lip reading
  • speech reading
  • auditory pathways
  • audio-visual integration
  • computational biology
  • systems biology
  • neuroscience
  • human


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