The motor theory of speech perception reviewed
More than 50 years after the appearance of the motor theory of speech perception, it is timely to evaluate its three main claims that (1) speech processing is special, (2) perceiving speech is perceiving gestures, and (3) the motor system is recruited for perceiving speech. We argue that to the extent that it can be evaluated, the first claim is likely false. As for the second claim, we review findings that support it and argue that although each of these findings may be explained by alternative accounts, the claim provides a single coherent account. As for the third claim, we review findings in the literature that support it at different levels of generality and argue that the claim anticipated a theme that has become widespread in cognitive science.