The human brain tracks amplitude fluctuations of both speech and music, which reflects acoustic processing in addition to the processing of higher-order features and one’s cognitive state. Comparing neural tracking of speech and music envelopes can elucidate stimulus-general mechanisms, but direct comparisons are confounded by differences in their envelope spectra. Here, we use a novel method of frequency-constrained reconstruction of stimulus envelopes using EEG recorded during passive listening. We expected to see music reconstruction match speech in a narrow range of frequencies, but instead we found that speech was reconstructed better than music for all frequencies we examined. Additionally, speech envelope tracking at low frequencies, below 1 Hz, was uniquely associated with increased weighting over parietal channels. Our results highlight the importance of low-frequency speech tracking and its origin from speech-specific processing in the brain.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience