Article thumbnail

Voice processing in dementia: a neuropsychological and neuroanatomical analysis

By Julia C. Hailstone, Gerard R. Ridgway, Jonathan W. Bartlett, Johanna C. Goll, Aisling H. Buckley, Sebastian J. Crutch and Jason D. Warren


Voice processing in neurodegenerative disease is poorly understood. Here we undertook a systematic investigation of voice processing in a cohort of patients with clinical diagnoses representing two canonical dementia syndromes: temporal variant frontotemporal lobar degeneration (n = 14) and Alzheimer’s disease (n = 22). Patient performance was compared with a healthy matched control group (n = 35). All subjects had a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment including measures of voice perception (vocal size, gender, speaker discrimination) and voice recognition (familiarity, identification, naming and cross-modal matching) and equivalent measures of face and name processing. Neuroanatomical associations of voice processing performance were assessed using voxel-based morphometry. Both disease groups showed deficits on all aspects of voice recognition and impairment was more severe in the temporal variant frontotemporal lobar degeneration group than the Alzheimer’s disease group. Face and name recognition were also impaired in both disease groups and name recognition was significantly more impaired than other modalities in the temporal variant frontotemporal lobar degeneration group. The Alzheimer’s disease group showed additional deficits of vocal gender perception and voice discrimination. The neuroanatomical analysis across both disease groups revealed common grey matter associations of familiarity, identification and cross-modal recognition in all modalities in the right temporal pole and anterior fusiform gyrus; while in the Alzheimer’s disease group, voice discrimination was associated with grey matter in the right inferior parietal lobe. The findings suggest that impairments of voice recognition are significant in both these canonical dementia syndromes but particularly severe in temporal variant frontotemporal lobar degeneration, whereas impairments of voice perception may show relative specificity for Alzheimer’s disease. The right anterior temporal lobe is likely to have a critical role in the recognition of voices and other modalities of person knowledge

Topics: Original Articles
Publisher: Oxford University Press
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

Suggested articles


  1. (2007). A fast diffeomorphic image registration algorithm. Neuroimage
  2. (2009). A multisensory cortical network for understanding speech in noise.
  3. (1997). A neural basis for the retrieval of conceptual knowledge. Neuropsychologia
  4. (2008). A reappraisal of person recognition and identifi-cation. Cortex
  5. (2001). A role for left temporal pole in the retrieval of words for unique entities. Hum Brain Mapp
  6. (1992). Actors but not scripts: the dissociation of people and events in retrograde amnesia. Neuropsychologia
  7. (2003). Adaptation to speaker’s voice in right anterior temporal lobe. Neuroreport
  8. (2009). Atrophy progression in semantic dementia with asymmetric temporal involvement: a tensor-based morphometry study. Neurobiol Aging
  9. Auditory long-term memory: repetition priming of voice recognition.
  10. (2010). Central auditory disorders: toward a neuropsychology of auditory objects.
  11. (1989). Contributions to neuropsychological assessment: a clinical manual.
  12. (2008). Cross-modal recognition disorders for persons and other unique entities in a patient with right fronto-temporal degeneration. Cortex
  13. (1989). Defective recognition of familiar people.
  14. (2009). Developmental phonagnosia: a selective deficit of vocal identity recognition. Neuropsychologia
  15. (2005). Discrimination of speaker size from syllable phrases.
  16. (2004). Dissociating person-specific from general semantic knowledge: roles of the left and right temporal lobes. Neuropsychologia
  17. (2004). Distinct functional substrates along the right superior temporal sulcus for the processing of voices. Neuroimage
  18. (2007). Distinct patterns of olfactory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease, semantic dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and corticobasal degeneration. Neuropsychologia
  19. (2007). Face familiarity feelings, the right temporal lobe and the possible underlying neural mechanisms. Brain Res Rev
  20. (1998). Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: a consensus on clinical diagnostic criteria. Neurology
  21. (2008). Generalization and differentiation in semantic memory: insights from semantic dementia.
  22. (2006). Human brain mechanisms for the early analysis of voices. Neuroimage
  23. (2002). Human temporal-lobe response to vocal sounds.
  24. (2003). Impaired configurational processing in a case of progressive prosopagnosia associated with predominant right temporal lobe atrophy. Brain
  25. (2006). Impaired naming of unique landmarks is associated with left temporal polar damage. Neuropsychology
  26. (1982). Impairment of voice and face recognition in patients with hemispheric damage.
  27. (2005). Interaction of face and voice areas during speaker recognition.
  28. (1997). Intra- and inter-modal repetition priming of familiar faces and voices.
  29. (2009). Issues with threshold masking in voxel-based morphometry of atrophied brains. Neuroimage
  30. (2009). It is more difficult to retrieve a familiar person’s name and occupation from their voice than from their blurred face. Memory
  31. (2004). Knowledge of famous faces and names in semantic dementia.
  32. (1992). Learning and retention of melodic and verbal information after unilateral temporal lobectomy. Neuropsychologia
  33. (1989). Loss of memory for people following temporal lobe damage.
  34. (2008). Memory of music: roles of right hippocampus and left inferior frontal gyrus. Neuroimage
  35. (2003). Modulation of neural responses to speech by directing attention to voices or verbal content. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res
  36. (1982). National Adult Reading Test (NART): test manual.
  37. (2010). Neural mechanisms for voice recognition. Neuroimage
  38. (2001). Neural substrates for recognition of familiar voices: a PET study. Neuropsychologia
  39. (2009). Neurodegenerative diseases target large-scale human brain networks. Neuron
  40. (1979). Neuropsychological evidence for multiple memory systems. Ciba Found Symp
  41. (2000). Neuropsychological impairments in the recognition of faces, voices, and personal names. Brain Cogn
  42. (2000). Non-verbal semantic impairment in semantic dementia. Neuropsychologia
  43. (2001). Normalization of cerebral volumes by use of intracranial volume: implications for longitudinal quantitative MR imaging.
  44. (2007). Odour identification in frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
  45. (1988). Phonagnosia: a dissociation between familiar and unfamiliar voices. Cortex
  46. (2010). Progressive associative phonagnosia: a neuropsychological analysis. Neuropsychologia
  47. (1999). Progressive defective recognition of familiar people. Neurocase
  48. (1995). Progressive prosopagnosia associated with selective right temporal lobe atrophy. A new syndrome? Brain
  49. (2004). Progressive prosopagnosia: clinical and neuroimaging results. Neurology
  50. (1998). Proper name anomia: a case with sparing of the first-letter knowledge. Neuropsychologia
  51. (1984). Recognition memory test.
  52. Recognizing famous voices: influence of stimulus duration and different types of retrieval cues.
  53. (2007). Research criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: revising the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria. Lancet Neurol
  54. (1978). Selective impairment of topographical memory: a single case study.
  55. (2004). Semantic memory is an amodal, dynamic system: evidence from the interaction of naming and object use in semantic dementia. Cogn Neuropsychol
  56. (1998). Single word comprehension: a concrete and abstract word synonym test. Neuropsychol Rehabil
  57. (2003). Slowly progressive defect in recognition of familiar people in a patient with right anterior temporal atrophy.
  58. (2005). Specialization in the medial temporal lobe for processing of objects and scenes. Hippocampus
  59. (2008). The anatomic correlate of prosopagnosia in semantic dementia. Neurology
  60. (2009). The clinical profile of right temporal lobe atrophy.
  61. (2007). The enigmatic temporal pole: a review of findings on social and emotional processing.
  62. (2001). The neural correlates of person familiarity. A functional magnetic resonance imaging study with clinical implications.
  63. (2004). The semantic organisation of proper nouns: the case of people and brand names. Neuropsychologia
  64. (1997). The visual object and space perception battery.
  65. (2004). Thinking the voice: neural correlates of voice perception. Trends Cogn Sci
  66. (2004). Underlying principles of a high-quality speech manipulation system STRAIGHT and its application to speech segregation.
  67. (1990). Understanding face recognition with an interactive activation model.
  68. (1986). Understanding face recognition.
  69. (1997). Vocal identification of speaker and emotion activates different brain regions. Neuroreport
  70. (1987). Voice discrimination and recognition are separate abilities. Neuropsychologia
  71. (1989). Voice perception deficits: neuroanatomical correlates of phonagnosia.
  72. (2011). Voice processing in dementia Brain
  73. (2009). Voice recognition in aphasic and non-aphasic stroke patients.
  74. (2000). Voice-selective areas in human auditory cortex. Nature
  75. (2000). Voxel-based morphometry–the methods. Neuroimage
  76. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence.
  77. (1987). Wechsler memory scale-revised.
  78. (2004). What is an auditory object? Nat Rev Neurosci