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Psychological Science; Speakers’ Acceptance of Real-Time Speech Exchange Indicates That We Use Auditory Feedback to Specify the Meaning of What We Say; Andreas Lind, Lars Hall, Björn Breidegar, Christian Balkenius, Petter Johansson; Lund University Cognitive Science, Lund University

Andreas Lind, Lund University Cognitive Science, Lund University, Kungshuset, Lundagård, 222 22 Lund, Sweden

Speech is usually assumed to start with a clearly defined preverbal message, which provides a benchmark for self-monitoring and a robust sense of agency for one’s utterances. However, an alternative hypothesis states that speakers often have no detailed preview of what they are about to say, and that they instead use auditory feedback to infer the meaning of their words.
In the experiment reported here, participants performed a Stroop color-naming task while we covertly manipulated their auditory feedback in real time so that they said one thing but heard themselves saying something else. Under ideal timing conditions, two thirds of these semantic exchanges went undetected by the participants, and in 85% of all nondetected exchanges, the inserted words were experienced as self-produced.
These findings indicate that the sense of agency for speech has a strong inferential component, and that auditory feedback of one’s own voice acts as a pathway for semantic monitoring, potentially overriding other feedback loops.

Author Contributions: A. Lind, L. Hall, and P. Johansson developed the study concept and wrote the manuscript. All the authors contributed to the study design. A. Lind performed testing and data collection. A. Lind, L. Hall, P. Johansson, and C. Balkenius performed the data analysis. B. Breidegard designed and implemented the real-time speech-exchange algorithm. All the authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

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