Speech perception ability and structural neuroimaging were investigated in two cases of bilateral opercular syndrome. Due to bilateral ablation of the motor control center for the lower face and surrounds, these rare cases provide an opportunity to evaluate the necessity of cortical motor representations for speech perception, a cornerstone of some neurocomputational theories of language processing. Speech perception, including audiovisual integration (i.e., the McGurk effect), was mostly unaffected in these cases, although verbal short-term memory impairment hindered performance on several tasks that are traditionally used to evaluate speech perception. The results suggest that the role of the cortical motor system in speech perception is context-dependent and supplementary, not inherent or necessary.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.