Human speech features rhythmicity that frames distinctive, fine-grained speech patterns. Speech can thus be counted among rhythmic motor behaviors that generally manifest characteristic spontaneous rates. However, the critical neural evidence for tuning of articulatory control to a spontaneous rate of speech has not been uncovered. The present study examined the spontaneous rhythmicity in speech production and its relationship to cortex–muscle neurocommunication, which is essential for speech control. Our MEG results show that, during articulation, coherent oscillatory coupling between the mouth sensorimotor cortex and the mouth muscles is strongest at the frequency of spontaneous rhythmicity of speech at 2–3 Hz, which is also the typical rate of word production. Corticomuscular coherence, a measure of efficient cortex–muscle neurocommunication, thus reveals behaviorally relevant oscillatory tuning for spoken language.
- corticomuscular coherence
- rhythmicity of speech