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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell reports

Publication Date





Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SZ, UK; Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK; Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK. Electronic address: