Matching Items (55)
Glottal fry is a vocal register characterized by low frequency and increased signal perturbation, and is perceptually identified by its popping, creaky quality. Recently, the use of the glottal fry vocal register has received growing awareness and attention in popular culture and media in the United States. The creaky quality that was originally associated with vocal pathologies is indeed becoming “trendy,” particularly among young women across the United States. But while existing studies have defined, quantified, and attempted to explain the use of glottal fry in conversational speech, there is currently no explanation for the increasing prevalence of the use of glottal fry amongst American women. This thesis, however, proposes that conversational entrainment—a communication phenomenon which describes the propensity to modify one’s behavior to align more closely with one’s communication partner—may provide a theoretical framework to explain the growing trend in the use of glottal fry amongst college-aged women in the United States. Female participants (n = 30) between the ages of 18 and 29 years (M = 20.6, SD = 2.95) had conversations with two conversation partners, one who used quantifiably more glottal fry than the other. The study utilized perceptual and quantifiable acoustic information to address the following key question: Does the amount of habitual glottal fry in a conversational partner influence one’s use of glottal fry in their own speech? Results yielded the following two findings: (1) according to perceptual annotations, the participants used a greater amount of glottal fry when speaking with the Fry conversation partner than with the Non Fry partner, (2) statistically significant differences were found in the acoustics of the participants’ vocal qualities based on conversation partner. While the current study demonstrates that young women are indeed speaking in glottal fry in everyday conversations, and that its use can be attributed in part to conversational entrainment, we still lack a clear explanation of the deeper motivations for women to speak in a lower vocal register. The current study opens avenues for continued analysis of the sociolinguistic functions of the glottal fry register.
Previous research has shown that people can implicitly learn repeated visual contexts and use this information when locating relevant items. For example, when people are presented with repeated spatial configurations of distractor items or distractor identities in visual search, they become faster to find target stimuli in these repeated contexts over time (Chun and Jiang, 1998; 1999). Given that people learn these repeated distractor configurations and identities, might they also implicitly encode semantic information about distractors, if this information is predictive of the target location? We investigated this question with a series of visual search experiments using real-world stimuli within a contextual cueing paradigm (Chun and Jiang, 1998). Specifically, we tested whether participants could learn, through experience, that the target images they are searching for are always located near specific categories of distractors, such as food items or animals. We also varied the spatial consistency of target locations, in order to rule out implicit learning of repeated target locations. Results suggest that participants implicitly learned the target-predictive categories of distractors and used this information during search, although these results failed to reach significance. This lack of significance may have been due the relative simplicity of the search task, however, and several new experiments are proposed to further investigate whether repeated category information can benefit search.
Research suggests that some children with primary language impairment (PLI)
have difficulty with certain aspects of executive function; however, most studies examining executive function have been conducted using tasks that require children to use language to complete the task. As a result, it is unclear whether poor performance on executive function tasks was due to language impairment, to executive function deficits, or both. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether preschoolers with PLI have deficits in executive function by comprehensively examining inhibition, updating, and mental set shifting using tasks that do and do not required language to complete the tasks.
Twenty-two four and five-year-old preschoolers with PLI and 30 age-matched preschoolers with typical development (TD) completed two sets of computerized executive function tasks that measured inhibition, updating, and mental set shifting. The first set of tasks were language based and the second were visually-based. This permitted us to test the hypothesis that poor performance on executive function tasks results from poor executive function rather than language impairment. A series of one-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were completed to test whether there was a significant between-group difference on each task after controlling for attention scale scores. In each analysis the between-group factor was group and the covariate was attention scale scores.
Results showed that preschoolers with PLI showed difficulties on a broad range of linguistic and visual executive function tasks even with scores on an attention measure covaried. Executive function deficits were found for linguistic inhibition, linguistic and visual updating, and linguistic and visual mental set shifting. Overall, findings add to evidence showing that the executive functioning deficits of children with PLI is not limited to the language domain, but is more general in nature. Implications for early assessment and intervention will be discussed.
Adults with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often show deficits in executive functioning, which include the ability to inhibit, switch, and attend to task relevant information. These abilities are also essential for language processing in bilinguals, who constantly inhibit and switch between languages. Currently, there is no data regarding the effect of TBI on executive function and language processing in bilinguals. This study used behavioral and eye-tracking measures to examine the effect of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on executive function and language processing in Spanish-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1, thirty-nine healthy bilinguals completed a variety of executive function and language processing tasks. The primary executive function and language processing tasks were paired with a cognitive load task intended to simulate mTBI. In Experiment 2, twenty-two bilinguals with a history of mTBI and twenty healthy control bilinguals completed the same executive function measures and language processing tasks. The results revealed that bilinguals with a history of mTBI show deficits in specific executive functions and have higher rates of language processing deficits than healthy control bilinguals. Additionally, behavioral and eye-tracking data suggest that these language processing deficits are related to underlying executive function abilities. This study also identified a subset of bilinguals who may be at the greater risk of language processing deficits following mTBI. The findings of this study have a direct impact on the identification of executive function deficits and language processing deficits in bilinguals with a history mTBI.
The purpose of this study was to identify acoustic markers that correlate with accurate and inaccurate /r/ production in children ages 5-8 using signal processing. In addition, the researcher aimed to identify predictive acoustic markers that relate to changes in /r/ accuracy. A total of 35 children (23 accurate, 12 inaccurate, 8 longitudinal) were recorded. Computerized stimuli were presented on a PC laptop computer and the children were asked to do five tasks to elicit spontaneous and imitated /r/ production in all positions. Files were edited and analyzed using a filter bank approach centered at 40 frequencies based on the Mel-scale. T-tests were used to compare spectral energy of tokens between accurate and inaccurate groups and additional t-tests were used to compare duration of accurate and inaccurate files. Results included significant differences between the accurate and inaccurate productions of /r/, notable differences in the 24-26 mel bin range, and longer duration of inaccurate /r/ than accurate. Signal processing successfully identified acoustic features of accurate and inaccurate production of /r/ and candidate predictive markers that may be associated with acquisition of /r/.
Older adults often experience communication difficulties, including poorer comprehension of auditory speech when it contains complex sentence structures or occurs in noisy environments. Previous work has linked cognitive abilities and the engagement of domain-general cognitive resources, such as the cingulo-opercular and frontoparietal brain networks, in response to challenging speech. However, the degree to which these networks can support comprehension remains unclear. Furthermore, how hearing loss may be related to the cognitive resources recruited during challenging speech comprehension is unknown. This dissertation investigated how hearing, cognitive performance, and functional brain networks contribute to challenging auditory speech comprehension in older adults. Experiment 1 characterized how age and hearing loss modulate resting-state functional connectivity between Heschl’s gyrus and several sensory and cognitive brain networks. The results indicate that older adults exhibit decreased functional connectivity between Heschl’s gyrus and sensory and attention networks compared to younger adults. Within older adults, greater hearing loss was associated with increased functional connectivity between right Heschl’s gyrus and the cingulo-opercular and language networks. Experiments 2 and 3 investigated how hearing, working memory, attentional control, and fMRI measures predict comprehension of complex sentence structures and speech in noisy environments. Experiment 2 utilized resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral measures of working memory and attentional control. Experiment 3 used activation-based fMRI to examine the brain regions recruited in response to sentences with both complex structures and in noisy background environments as a function of hearing and cognitive abilities. The results suggest that working memory abilities and the functionality of the frontoparietal and language networks support the comprehension of speech in multi-speaker environments. Conversely, attentional control and the cingulo-opercular network were shown to support comprehension of complex sentence structures. Hearing loss was shown to decrease activation within right Heschl’s gyrus in response to all sentence conditions and increase activation within frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular regions. Hearing loss also was associated with poorer sentence comprehension in energetic, but not informational, masking. Together, these three experiments identify the unique contributions of cognition and brain networks that support challenging auditory speech comprehension in older adults, further probing how hearing loss affects these relationships.
With a growing number of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), more and more research has been conducted on majority male cohorts with ASD from young, adolescence, and some older age. Currently, males make up the majority of individuals diagnosed with ASD, however, recent research states that the gender gap is closing due to more advanced screening and a better understanding of how females with ASD present their symptoms. Little research has been published on the neurocognitive differences that exist between older adults with ASD compared to neurotypical (NT) counterparts, and nothing has specifically addressed older women with ASD. This study utilized neuroimaging and neuropsychological tests to examine differences between diagnosis and sex of four distinct groups: older men with ASD, older women with ASD, older NT men, and older NT women. In each group, hippocampal size (via FreeSurfer) was analyzed for differences as well as correlations with neuropsychological tests. Participants (ASD Female, n = 12; NT Female, n = 14; ASD Male, n = 30; NT Male = 22), were similar according to age, IQ, and education. The results of the study indicated that the ASD Group as a whole performed worse on executive functioning tasks (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Trails Making Test) and memory-related tasks (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Weschler Memory Scale: Visual Reproduction) compared to the NT Group. Interactions of sex by diagnosis approached significance only within the WCST non-perseverative errors, with the women with ASD performing worse than NT women, but no group differences between men. Effect sizes between the female groups (ASD female vs. NT female) showed more than double that of the male groups (ASD male vs. NT male) for all WCST and AVLT measures. Participants with ASD had significantly smaller right hippocampal volumes than NT participants. In addition, all older women showed larger hippocampal volumes when corrected for total intracranial volume (TIV) compared to all older men. Overall, NT Females had significant correlations across all neuropsychological tests and their hippocampal volumes whereas no other group had significant correlations. These results suggest a tighter coupling between hippocampal size and cognition in NT Females than NT Males and both sexes with ASD. This study promotes further understanding of the neuropsychological differences between older men and women, both with and without ASD. Further research is needed on a larger sample of older women with and without ASD.
Dementia is a syndrome resulting from an acquired brain disease that affects many domains of cognitive impairment. The progressive disorder generally affects memory, attention, executive functions, communication, and other cognitive domains that significantly alter everyday function (Quinn, 2014). The purpose of this research was to gather a systematic review of cognitive-communication assessments and screeners used in assessing dementia to assist in early prognosis. From this review, there is potential in developing a new test to address the areas that people with dementia often have deficits in 1) Memory, 2) Attention, 3) Executive Functions, 4) Language, and 5) Visuospatial Skills. In the field of speech-language pathology, or medicine in general, there is no one assessment that can diagnose dementia. Additionally, this review will explore identifying speech and language characteristics of dementia through speech analytics to theoretically help clinicians identify early signs of dementia.
Audiovisual (AV) integration is a fundamental component of face-to-face communication. Visual cues generally aid auditory comprehension of communicative intent through our innate ability to “fuse” auditory and visual information. However, our ability for multisensory integration can be affected by damage to the brain. Previous neuroimaging studies have indicated the superior temporal sulcus (STS) as the center for AV integration, while others suggest inferior frontal and motor regions. However, few studies have analyzed the effect of stroke or other brain damage on multisensory integration in humans. The present study examines the effect of lesion location on auditory and AV speech perception through behavioral and structural imaging methodologies in 41 left-hemisphere participants with chronic focal cerebral damage. Participants completed two behavioral tasks of speech perception: an auditory speech perception task and a classic McGurk paradigm measuring congruent (auditory and visual stimuli match) and incongruent (auditory and visual stimuli do not match, creating a “fused” percept of a novel stimulus) AV speech perception. Overall, participants performed well above chance on both tasks. Voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) across all 41 participants identified several regions as critical for speech perception depending on trial type. Heschl’s gyrus and the supramarginal gyrus were identified as critical for auditory speech perception, the basal ganglia was critical for speech perception in AV congruent trials, and the middle temporal gyrus/STS were critical in AV incongruent trials. VLSM analyses of the AV incongruent trials were used to further clarify the origin of “errors”, i.e. lack of fusion. Auditory capture (auditory stimulus) responses were attributed to visual processing deficits caused by lesions in the posterior temporal lobe, whereas visual capture (visual stimulus) responses were attributed to lesions in the anterior temporal cortex, including the temporal pole, which is widely considered to be an amodal semantic hub. The implication of anterior temporal regions in AV integration is novel and warrants further study. The behavioral and VLSM results are discussed in relation to previous neuroimaging and case-study evidence; broadly, our findings coincide with previous work indicating that multisensory superior temporal cortex, not frontal motor circuits, are critical for AV integration.
Military veterans have a significantly higher incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), depression, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to civilians. Military veterans also represent a rapidly growing subgroup of college students, due in part to the robust and financially incentivizing educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The overlapping cognitively impacting symptoms of service-related conditions combined with the underreporting of mTBI and psychiatric-related conditions, make accurate assessment of cognitive performance in military veterans challenging. Recent research findings provide conflicting information on cognitive performance patterns in military veterans. The purpose of this study was to determine whether service-related conditions and self-assessments predict performance on complex working memory and executive function tasks for military veteran college students. Sixty-one military veteran college students attending classes at Arizona State University campuses completed clinical neuropsychological tasks and experimental working memory and executive function tasks. The results revealed that a history of mTBI significantly predicted poorer performance in the areas of verbal working memory and decision-making. Depression significantly predicted poorer performance in executive function related to serial updating. In contrast, the commonly used clinical neuropsychological tasks were not sensitive service-related conditions including mTBI, PTSD, and depression. The differing performance patterns observed between the clinical tasks and the more complex experimental tasks support that researchers and clinicians should use tests that sufficiently tax verbal working memory and executive function when evaluating the subtle, higher-order cognitive deficits associated with mTBI and depression.