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The INNERSPEECH project aims at providing a theoretical account of inner speech, the silent production of words in one’s mind, by examining the neural and physiological correlates of various forms of inner speech, including wilful inner speech (with one’s own or someone else’s voice, with 1st or 3rd person perspective) as well as less deliberate inner speech forms such as mind wandering or verbal rumination and by comparing objective and introspective data.

The following questions are explored:

  • “WHAT” – relates to the nature of inner speech and its relation with overt speech. Is inner speech abstract and amodal or concrete and multimodal (auditory, articulatory, manual)? Is it a mental simulation of overt speech, requiring motor processes, or does it correspond to speech recall from memory traces (speech listening), requiring sensory processes ? Which cerebral networks are recruited during inner speech ? What are their dynamics ?
  • “HOW” – concerns the ways inner speech manifests itself. What are the differences, in terms of neural networks and cerebral dynamics, between wilful inner speech and verbal mind wandering?
  • “WHO” – deals with agency in inner speech. How do we know that the inner voice we hear is self-generated? Are our imaginary conversations simulations of overt conversations? What are the cerebral mechanisms underlying the mental simulation of someone else’s voice (mental imitation, 1st person perspective) and the imagination of someone talking to us (3rd person perspective)?
  • “WHAT PURPOSE” – is that of the role of inner speech in cognitive performance. Can we better explain why wilful inner speech is usually helpful? And is mind wandering also beneficial or does it impair cognitive performance? Can negative rumination or auditory verbal hallucination be controlled and reduced?

A multi-paradigm approach is implemented, gathering objective data — behaviour, physiology (EMG), neuroimaging (fMRI, iEEG, TMS) — and comparing them with complementary subjective data, coming from introspective questionnaires and interviews.

InnerSpeech project


LPNC members who participate in the InnerSpeech project:

Permanent researchers
- Monica Baciu
- Hélène Lœvenbruck (PI)
- Marcela Perrone-Bertolotti

Research engineers
- Sylvain Harquel
- Cédric Pichat

- Romain Grandchamp
- Yanica Klein-Koerkamp
- Lucile Rapin

PhD student
- Ladislas Nalborczyk

Partners in the project:

- Département Parole et Cognition de GIPSA-lab : Marion Dohen, Maëva Garnier, Pascal Perrier (resp.), Anne Vilain
- UMS IRMaGe : Alexandre Krainik (resp.), Laurent Lamalle, Irène Troprès
- Laboratoire de Neurophysiopathologie de l’épilepsie (CHU de Grenoble, GIN) : Philippe Kahane
- CRNL équipe Dynamique Cérébrale et Cognition, Unité INSERM U1028 (Lyon) : Jean-Philippe Lachaux
- Neurolab (University of Ferrara, Italy) : Luciano Fadiga
- Cognitive Neuroscience of Schizophrenia Lab (University British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada): Todd Woodward


Part of the InnerSpeech project is carried out in collaboration with Stéphanie Smadja, Université Paris Diderot, CERILAC, PI of the Monologue Programme.


- 24 January 2014: Project launching meeting

- 7 June 2016: Workshop on Inner Speech
Invited speakers :
Fernando Martínez Manrique, Université de Grenade
Agustin Vicente, Université du Pays Basque
Stéphanie Smadja, Université Paris Diderot
Program : http://lpnc.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/...

- 10 June 2016: Panel discussion on the current development of the Monologuer-InnerSpeech collaboration, intended for the participants in the experiment

- 14 November 2016 : Meeting on EMG and TMS protocoles, intended for the InnerSpeech project members
Guest :
Luciano Fadiga, University of Ferrara, Italy

- 10-11 February 2017 : Monologue-InnerSpeech colloquium
Inner speech experiences :
Jointly organized by Stéphanie Smadja and Hélène Lœvenbruck
Location: Université Paris Diderot
Program: http://lpnc.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/...

- 23 June 2017 : LPNC colloquium
Inner language forms, functions and dysfunctions
Program: http://lpnc.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/...


International Journals or Books

  • Lœvenbruck H., Nalborczyk L., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Baeyens C., Grandchamp R. (in press). Un cas d’incarnation linguistique : implication du système moteur orofacial dans les ruminations mentales. Recherches sur la philosophie et le langage, Numéro spécial « Cognition Incarnée ».
  • Nalborczyk L., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Baeyens C., Grandchamp R., Polosan M., Spinelli E., Koster E. H. W. & Lœvenbruck H. (2017). Orofacial electromyographic correlates of induced verbal rumination. Biological Psychology. 127, 53-63.
  • Perrone-Bertolotti M., Grandchamp R., Rapin L., Baciu M., Lachaux J.P. & Lœvenbruck H. (2016). Langage intérieur. In Pinto, S. & Sato, M. (eds.). Traité de Neurolinguistique : du cerveau au langage. Collection Neuropsychologie, De Boeck Supérieur, 109-123, ISBN : 9782353273393. -  hal-01467107
  • Rapin L., Dohen M. & Lœvenbruck H. (2016). Les hallucinations auditives verbales. In Pinto, S. & Sato, M. (eds.). Traité de Neurolinguistique : du cerveau au langage. Collection Neuropsychologie, De Boeck Supérieur, 347-370, ISBN : 9782353273393. - hal-01442463
  • Lavigne K. M., Rapin L. A. ; Metzak P. D., Whitman J. C., Jung K., Dohen M., Lœvenbruck H., Woodward T. S. (2015). Left-dominant temporal-frontal hypercoupling in schizophrenia patients with hallucinations during speech perception. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 41 (1), 259-267. hal-00966620
  • Perrone-Bertolotti, M., Rapin L., Lachaux J.-P., Baciu M. & Lœvenbruck H. (2014). What is that little voice inside my head? Inner speech phenomenology, its role in cognitive performance and its relation to self-monitoring. Behavioural Brain Research, 261, 220-239. hal-00967730
  • Rapin L., Dohen M., Polosan M., Perrier P., Lœvenbruck H. (2013). An EMG study of the lip muscles during covert auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. J. Speech Hearing and Language Research, 56, S1882–S1893. hal-00926630
  • Vercueil, L. & Perrone-Bertolotti, M. (2013). Short case Report: Ictal inner speech jargon. Epilepsy & Behavior, 27(2): 307-309.
  • Perrone-Bertolotti, M., Kujala, J., Vidal, J. R., Hamame, C. M., Ossandon, T., Bertrand, O., … Lachaux, J.-P. (2012). How silent is silent reading? Intracerebral evidence for top-down activation of temporal voice areas during reading. J Neurosci, 32(49), 17554–17562.
  • Rapin, L., Metzak, P. D., Whitman, J. C., Dohen, M., Lœvenbruck, H., & Woodward, T. S. (2012). Hyperintensity of functional networks involving voice-selective cortical regions during silent thought in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 102 (2), 110-117. hal-00734043, PMID: 22703623

Communications (conferences or workshops)

  • Grandchamp R., Rapin L., Lœvenbruck H., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Pichat C., Lachaux J.P., Baciu M. (2016). Inner Speech with your own or someone else’s voice. Cerebral correlates assessed with fMRI. Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL) Conference 2016, London 17-20 August 2016, Poster B66.
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2016). Un cas d’incarnation linguistique : implication du système moteur orofacial dans les ruminations mentales. Editorial meeting du numéro spécial cognition incarnée de la revue Recherches sur la philosophie et le langage, Denis Perrin (ed.), Grenoble, France, 25 mars 2016.
  • Nalborczyk L., Baeyens C., Grandchamp R., Lœvenbruck H., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Polosan M. (2015). Orofacial electromyographic correlates of induced verbal rumination. Conference Embodied and Situated Language Processing: Stepping out of the Frame (ESLP 2015). Lyon – 29-30 July 2015. Poster presentation.
  • Nalborczyk L., Lœvenbruck H., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Baeyens C., Grandchamp R. (2016). Verbal rumination as an embodied orofacial action. First International Conference on Language and Enaction, Clermont-Ferrand, France, June 1-3 2016.
  • Nalborczyk L., Perrone-Bertolotti M., Baeyens C., Keracheva E., Grandchamp R., Spinelli E., Koster E., Lœvenbruck H., (2016). Rumination at the crossroads of embodied inner speech and emotion: facial electromyographic correlates. Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE) conference, Leiden, The Netherlands, July 6-7 2016, Symposium 4, Paper 1, Abstract p.101.

Master’s degree thesis

  • Nalborczyk L. (2015). Effets de la relaxation orofaciale sur les corrélats physiologiques de la rumination mentale induite. Mémoire de M2R Sciences Cognitives, INP Grenoble.

Invited talks

  • Lœvenbruck H. (2014). Langage intérieur et neurosciences Séminaire Monologuer, Université Paris 7, Lundi 17 novembre 2014
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2015). Traces neurocognitives du langage intérieur. Mardi 3 novembre 2015. Institut Cochin, INSERM, Paris, Mardi 3 novembre 2015
  • Lœvenbruck, H. (2015). Neurocognitive recordings of inner language. Workshop mind-brain project - University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, November 13, 2015.
  • Nalborczyk, L., Perrone-Bertolotti, M., Baeyens, C., Grandchamp, R., Spinelli, E., Koster, E., Lœvenbruck, H. (2016). Facial EMG correlates of induced rumination and positive effects of relaxation. Journée Scientifique du LPNC, Grenoble, Vendredi 17 juin 2016.

Public talks

  • Lœvenbruck H. (2014). D’où vient la petite voix qui nous trotte dans la tête ? - Université InterCommunale du Grésivaudan - 14 avril 2014
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2014). Qui est cette petite voix dans ma tête ? - GIN, conférence à destination des lycéens des neuroclasses du lycée Delorme, Isle d’Abeau - Mardi 22 avril 2014
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2014). La petite voix dans la tête - Journées de l’institut Néel – Allevard - Mercredi 21 mai 2014
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2014). Impromptu scientifique « Des voix dans la tête » - Campement scientifique : événement Arts et Sciences en pays d’Apt, avec la Compagnie Les ateliers du spectacle, groupe n+1, 24-28 septembre 2014
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2015). Parole intérieure consciente et inconsciente : de la récitation mentale aux hallucinations auditives verbales - Neurocercle, Grenoble - Mercredi 21 janvier 2015
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2015). Les neurosciences cognitives et les manifestations du langage intérieur - Colloque Points de vue partagés sur la connaissance de l’humain : corps, langage, symptômes, Paris - Vendredi 10 avril 2015
  • Lœvenbruck H. (2015). Les neurosciences cognitives à l’écoute du langage intérieur - Midi Minatec, Grenoble - Vendredi 22 mai 2015
  • Lœvenbruck, H. (2015). Neurocognitive recordings of inner language. Workshop mind-brain project - University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, November 13, 2015.
  • Perrone-Bertolotti M. (2013). What is that little voice inside my head? Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad, Santiago, Chile, August, 2013 
  • Perrone-Bertolotti M. (2013). What is that little voice inside my head? Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive (LPC, UMR7290),  Marseille, France, October, 2013 
  • Perrone-Bertolotti M. (2014). The inner voice. "Epileptic seizure in all their states". Grenoble meetings on epilepsy, Grenoble, Septembre, 2014
  • Perrone-Bertolotti M. et Grandchamp R. (2015). Notre esprit vagabond et sa petite voix interne - Pint of Science, Grenoble, Mercredi 20 mai 2015


In the press and on portals

  • Science et Vie Junior : « Les 10 cerveaux les plus étranges de la planète : Elle entend des voix », by Carine Perrière, N° 327, December 2016, p. 34-35.


  • Radio Canada: « divines tentations », by Danièle Grenier « La petite voix en vous », interview with H. Lœvenbruck, 24 January 2015




Hélène Lœvenbruck
+33 4 76 82 56 75