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Department of Psychology


Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common drug-refractory focal epilepsy in adults. Previous research has shown that patients with TLE exhibit decreased performance in listening to speech sounds and deficits in the cortical processing of auditory information. Whether TLE compromises auditory-motor integration for voice control, however, remains largely unknown. To address this question, event-related potentials (ERPs) and vocal responses to vocal pitch errors (1/2 or 2 semitones upward) heard in auditory feedback were compared across 28 patients with TLE and 28 healthy controls. Patients with TLE produced significantly larger vocal responses but smaller P2 responses than healthy controls. Moreover, patients with TLE exhibited a positive correlation between vocal response magnitude and baseline voice variability and a negative correlation between P2 amplitude and disease duration. Graphical network analyses revealed a disrupted neuronal network for patients with TLE with a significant increase of clustering coefficients and path lengths as compared to healthy controls. These findings provide strong evidence that TLE is associated with an atypical integration of the auditory and motor systems for vocal pitch regulation, and that the functional networks that support the auditory-motor processing of pitch feedback errors differ between patients with TLE and healthy controls.


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