The lost ability to distinguish between self and other voice following a brain lesion

M Candini, S Avanzi, A Cantagallo, M G Zangoli, M Benassi, P Querzani, E M Lotti, T Iachini, F Frassinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanisms underlying the self/other distinction have been mainly investigated focusing on visual, tactile or proprioceptive cues, whereas very little is known about the contribution of acoustical information. Here the ability to distinguish between self and others' voice is investigated by using a neuropsychological approach. Right (RBD) and left brain damaged (LBD) patients and healthy controls were submitted to a voice discrimination and a voice recognition task. Stimuli were paired words/pseudowords pronounced by the participant, by a familiar or unfamiliar person. In the voice discrimination task, participants had to judge whether two voices were same or different, whereas in the voice recognition task participants had to judge whether their own voice was or was not present. Crucially, differences between patient groups were found. In the discrimination task, only RBD patients were selectively impaired when their own voice was present. By contrast, in the recognition task, both RBD and LBD patients were impaired and showed two different biases: RBD patients misattributed the other's voice to themselves, while LBD patients denied the ownership of their own voice. Thus, two kinds of bias can affect self-voice recognition: we can refuse self-stimuli (voice disownership), or we can misidentify others' stimuli as our own (embodiment of others' voice). Overall, these findings reflect different impairments in self/other distinction both at behavioral and anatomical level, the right hemisphere being involved in voice discrimination and both hemispheres in the voice identity explicit recognition. The finding of selective brain networks dedicated to processing one's own voice demonstrates the relevance of self-related acoustic information in bodily self-representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-911
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain/physiology
  • Brain Injuries/physiopathology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology
  • Recognition (Psychology)/physiology
  • Visual Perception/physiology
  • Voice/physiology


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