Studies of speech motor control suggest that articulatory and phonemic goals are defined in multidimensional motor, somatosensory, and auditory spaces. To test whether motor simulation might rely on sensory–motor coding common with those for motor execution, we used a repetition suppression (RS) paradigm while measuring neural activity with sparse sampling fMRI during repeated overt and covert orofacial and speech actions. RS refers to the phenomenon that repeated stimuli or motor acts lead to decreased activity in specific neural populations and are associated with enhanced adaptive learning related to the repeated stimulus attributes. Common suppressed neural responses were observed in motor and posterior parietal regions in the achievement of both repeated overt and covert orofacial and speech actions, including the left premotor cortex and inferior frontal gyrus, the superior parietal cortex and adjacent intraprietal sulcus, and the left IC and the SMA. Interestingly, reduced activity of the auditory cortex was observed during overt but not covert speech production, a finding likely reflecting a motor rather an auditory imagery strategy by the participants. By providing evidence for adaptive changes in premotor and associative somatosensory brain areas, the observed RS suggests online state coding of both orofacial and speech actions in somatosensory and motor spaces with and without motor behavior and sensory feedback.

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