chapter  9
19 Pages

9Chapter Modeling the Attentional Control of Vocal Utterances: From Wernicke to WEAVER++

In Die Sprache, Wundt (1900) criticized the now classic model of normal and aphasic utterance production of Wernicke (1874, 1885, 1886) by arguing that producing verbal utterances is an active goal-driven process rather than a passive associative process proceeding from stimulus to vocal response, as held by the model. According to Wundt (1900, 1904), an attentional process located in the frontal lobes of the human brain actively controls an utterance perception and production network located in perisylvian brain areas, described by the Wernicke model. Modern models of vocal utterance production such as WEAVER++ (Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999; Roelofs, 1992, 1997, 2003) build in many respects on the Wernicke model, but also address Wundt’s critique by implementing assumptions on how the production-perception network is controlled. Characteristics of vocal utterance production, such as production onset latencies, errors, and corresponding brain activity, arise from the interplay of the production-perception network and the attentional control system. For example, patterns of speech errors by normal and aphasic speakers seem to be determined, at least in part, by self-monitoring, which is an important attentional control function (Roelofs, 2004). Models can benet aphasia therapy. As Basso and Marangolo (2000) stated, “Clearly articulated and detailed hypotheses about representations and processing of cognitive functions allow rejection of all those strategies for treatment that are not theoretically justi-ed. The more detailed the cognitive model, the narrower the spectrum of rationally motivated treatments” (p. 228).