The use of intracranial recordings to decode human language: Challenges and opportunities


Decoding speech from intracranial recordings serves two main purposes: understanding the neural correlates of speech processing and decoding speech features for targeting speech neuroprosthetic devices. Intracranial recordings have high spatial and temporal resolution, and thus offer a unique opportunity to investigate and decode the electrophysiological dynamics underlying speech processing. In this review article, we describe current approaches to decoding different features of speech perception and production – such as spectrotemporal, phonetic, phonotactic, semantic, and articulatory components – using intracranial recordings. A specific section is devoted to the decoding of imagined speech, and potential applications to speech prosthetic devices. We outline the challenges in decoding human language, as well as the opportunities in scientific and neuroengineering applications.