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Relationship between formant variability and auditory-motor adaptation

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Previous studies have shown that experimentally implemented formant perturbations result in production of compensatory responses in the opposite direction of the perturbations. In this study, we investigated how participants adapt to a) auditory perturbations that shift formants to a specific

Previous studies have shown that experimentally implemented formant perturbations result in production of compensatory responses in the opposite direction of the perturbations. In this study, we investigated how participants adapt to a) auditory perturbations that shift formants to a specific point in the vowel space and hence remove variability of formants (focused perturbations), and b) auditory perturbations that preserve the natural variability of formants (uniform perturbations). We examined whether the degree of adaptation to focused perturbations was different from adaptation to uniform adaptations. We found that adaptation magnitude of the first formant (F1) was smaller in response to focused perturbations. However, F1 adaptation was initially moved in the same direction as the perturbation, and after several trials the F1 adaptation changed its course toward the opposite direction of the perturbation. We also found that adaptation of the second formant (F2) was smaller in response to focused perturbations than F2 responses to uniform perturbations. Overall, these results suggest that formant variability is an important component of speech, and that our central nervous system takes into account such variability to produce more accurate speech output.

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2018-05

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Learning Rate in Auditory Motor Adaptation

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Past studies have shown that auditory feedback plays an important role in maintaining the speech production system. Typically, speakers compensate for auditory feedback alterations when the alterations persist over time (auditory motor adaptation). Our study focused on how to increase

Past studies have shown that auditory feedback plays an important role in maintaining the speech production system. Typically, speakers compensate for auditory feedback alterations when the alterations persist over time (auditory motor adaptation). Our study focused on how to increase the rate of adaptation by using different auditory feedback conditions. For the present study, we recruited a total of 30 participants. We examined auditory motor adaptation after participants completed three conditions: Normal speaking, noise-masked speaking, and silent reading. The normal condition was used as a control condition. In the noise-masked condition, noise was added to the auditory feedback to completely mask speech outputs. In the silent reading condition, participants were instructed to silently read target words in their heads, then read the words out loud. We found that the learning rate in the noise-masked condition was lower than that in the normal condition. In contrast, participants adapted at a faster rate after they experience the silent reading condition. Overall, this study demonstrated that adaptation rate can be modified through pre-exposing participants to different types auditory-motor manipulations.

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2019-05

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Does Auditory Feedback Perturbation Influence Categorical Perception of Vowels?

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Speech perception and production are bidirectionally related, and they influence each other. The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship between speech perception and speech production. It is known that applying auditory perturbations during speech production causes

Speech perception and production are bidirectionally related, and they influence each other. The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship between speech perception and speech production. It is known that applying auditory perturbations during speech production causes subjects to alter their productions (e.g., change their formant frequencies). In other words, previous studies have examined the effects of altered speech perception on speech production. However, in this study, we examined potential effects of speech production on speech perception. Subjects completed a block of a categorical perception task followed by a block of a speaking or a listening task followed by another block of the categorical perception task. Subjects completed three blocks of the speaking task and three blocks of the listening task. In the three blocks of a given task (speaking or listening) auditory feedback was 1) normal, 2) altered to be less variable, or 3) altered to be more variable. Unlike previous studies, we used subject’s own speech samples to generate speech stimuli for the perception task. For each categorical perception block, we calculated subject’s psychometric function and determined subject’s categorical boundary. The results showed that subjects’ perceptual boundary remained stable in all conditions and all blocks. Overall, our results did not provide evidence for the effects of speech production on speech perception.

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2019-05

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Compensatory Responses During Unexpected Vowel Perturbations

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During speech, the brain is constantly processing and monitoring speech output through the auditory feedback loop to ensure correct and accurate speech. If the speech signal is experimentally altered/perturbed while speaking, the brain compensates for the perturbations by changing speech

During speech, the brain is constantly processing and monitoring speech output through the auditory feedback loop to ensure correct and accurate speech. If the speech signal is experimentally altered/perturbed while speaking, the brain compensates for the perturbations by changing speech output in the opposite direction of the perturbations. In this study, we designed an experiment that examined the compensatory responses in response to unexpected vowel perturbations during speech. We applied two types of perturbations. In one condition, the vowel /ɛ/ was perturbed toward the vowel /æ/ by simultaneously shifting both the first formant (F1) and the second formant (F2) at 3 different levels (.5=small, 1=medium, and 1.5=large shifts). In another condition, the vowel /ɛ/ was perturbed by shifting F1 at 3 different levels (small, medium, and large shifts). Our results showed that there was a significant perturbation-type effect, with participants compensating more in response to perturbation that shifted /ɛ/ toward /æ/. In addition, we found that there was a significant level effect, with the compensatory responses to level .5 being significantly smaller than the compensatory responses to levels 1 and 1.5, regardless of the perturbation pathway. We also found that responses to shift level 1 and shift level 1.5 did not differ. Overall, our results highlighted the importance of the auditory feedback loop during speech production and how the brain is more sensitive to auditory errors that change a vowel category (e.g., /ɛ/ to /æ/).

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2019-05

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Somatosensory Modulation during Speech Planning

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Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor

Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor command and creating a prediction that is used to cancel out the resulting sensory feedback. Currently, there are no published accounts of the perception of tactile signals for motor tasks and contexts related to the lips during both speech planning and production. In this study, we measured the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech planning using light electrical stimulation below the lower lip by comparing perception during mixed speaking and silent reading conditions. Participants were asked to judge whether a constant near-threshold electrical stimulation (subject-specific intensity, 85% detected at rest) was present during different time points relative to an initial visual cue. In the speaking condition, participants overtly produced target words shown on a computer monitor. In the reading condition, participants read the same target words silently to themselves without any movement or sound. We found that detection of the stimulus was attenuated during speaking conditions while remaining at a constant level close to the perceptual threshold throughout the silent reading condition. Perceptual modulation was most intense during speech production and showed some attenuation just prior to speech production during the planning period of speech. This demonstrates that there is a significant decrease in the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech production as well as milliseconds before speech is even produced which has implications for speech disorders such as stuttering and schizophrenia with pronounced deficits in the somatosensory system.

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2019-05

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Using Acoustic Analysis to Identify Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder in Speakers

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between acoustic indicators in speech and the presence of orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). This study analyzed the first and second formant frequencies (F1 and F2) of the four corner vowels

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between acoustic indicators in speech and the presence of orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). This study analyzed the first and second formant frequencies (F1 and F2) of the four corner vowels [/i/, /u/, /æ/ and /ɑ/] found in the spontaneous speech of thirty participants. It was predicted that speakers with orofacial myofunctional disorder would have a raised F1 and F2 because of habitual low and anterior tongue positioning. This study concluded no significant statistical differences in the formant frequencies. Further inspection of the total vowel space area of the OMD speakers suggested that OMD speakers had a smaller, more centralized vowel space. We concluded that more study of the total vowel space area for OMD speakers is warranted.

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2020-05

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Dyslexia, Creativity, and Neural Adaptation

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Objective: A recent electroencephalogram (EEG) study of adults with dyslexia showed that individuals with dyslexia have diminished auditory sensory gating compared to typical controls. Previous studies done involving intoxication and its effect on sensory gating and creativity have shown that

Objective: A recent electroencephalogram (EEG) study of adults with dyslexia showed that individuals with dyslexia have diminished auditory sensory gating compared to typical controls. Previous studies done involving intoxication and its effect on sensory gating and creativity have shown that there is a positive correlation between creativity (divergent thinking problem solving) and sensory gating deficiency. With previous study findings, the link between dyslexia and sensory gating deficiency and the link between sensory gating deficiency and creativity have been shown, but not the link between dyslexia and creativity. This pilot study aims to address this knowledge gap using event-related potentials.

Methods: Two adults with dyslexia and 4 control adults participated in an auditory gating test using tone pairs. Latencies and Amplitudes for the N100 and P200 responses were recorded and analyzed. Participants were also administered the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA), a test of creative ability designed to evaluate divergent thinking in individuals. Results were averaged and compared.

Results: The averaged difference in measured N100 amplitudes between tone 1 and tone 2 was significantly larger in the control group compared to the difference observed in the dyslexia group. In particular, one participant with dyslexia who had low scores on a task of rapid word recognition also showed no evidence of gating at the N100 component, whereas the other participant with dyslexia with good word recognition scores showed evidence of intact gating. The averaged difference in measured P200 amplitude between tone 1 and tone 2 was larger in the dyslexia group compared to the control group; however, the difference was small enough to be considered insignificant. The total average ATTA score for the control group was higher than the average of the dyslexia group. This difference in total average was less than one point on a 106-point scale.

Conclusions: Neural sensory gating occurs approximately 100 ms after the onset of a stimulus and is diminished in adults with dyslexia who also have deficits in rapid word recognition. There is a difference in creativity, in terms of divergent thinking, between those with dyslexia and those without (controls scored higher on average); however, the difference is not significant (less than one point). Dyslexia scores were more consistent than controls.

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2020-05

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Specificity of Auditory Modulation during Speech Planning

Description

Previous research has showed that auditory modulation may be affected by pure tone
stimuli played prior to the onset of speech production. In this experiment, we are examining the
specificity of the auditory stimulus by implementing congruent and incongruent speech

Previous research has showed that auditory modulation may be affected by pure tone
stimuli played prior to the onset of speech production. In this experiment, we are examining the
specificity of the auditory stimulus by implementing congruent and incongruent speech sounds in
addition to non-speech sound. Electroencephalography (EEG) data was recorded for eleven adult
subjects in both speaking (speech planning) and silent reading (no speech planning) conditions.
Data analysis was accomplished manually as well as via generation of a MATLAB code to
combine data sets and calculate auditory modulation (suppression). Results of the P200
modulation showed that modulation was larger for incongruent stimuli than congruent stimuli.
However, this was not the case for the N100 modulation. The data for pure tone could not be
analyzed because the intensity of this stimulus was substantially lower than that of the speech
stimuli. Overall, the results indicated that the P200 component plays a significant role in
processing stimuli and determining the relevance of stimuli; this result is consistent with role of
P200 component in high-level analysis of speech and perceptual processing. This experiment is
ongoing, and we hope to obtain data from more subjects to support the current findings.

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2020-05

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Speech Motor Learning Depends on Relevant Auditory Errors

Description

In the past, researchers have studied the elements of speech and how they work together in the human brain. Auditory feedback, an important aid in speech production, provides information to speakers and allows them to gain an understanding if the

In the past, researchers have studied the elements of speech and how they work together in the human brain. Auditory feedback, an important aid in speech production, provides information to speakers and allows them to gain an understanding if the prediction of their speech matches their production. The speech motor system uses auditory goals to determine errors in its auditory output during vowel production. We learn from discrepancies between our prediction and auditory feedback. In this study, we examined error assessment processes by systematically manipulating the correspondence between speech motor outputs and their auditory consequences while producing speech. We conducted a study (n = 14 adults) in which participants’ auditory feedback was perturbed to test their learning rate in two conditions. During the trials, participants repeated CVC words and were instructed to prolong the vowel each time. The adaptation trials were used to examine the reliance of auditory feedback and speech prediction by systematically changing the weight of auditory feedback. Participants heard their perturbed feedback through insert earphones in real time. Each speaker’s auditory feedback was perturbed according to task-relevant and task-irrelevant errors. Then, these perturbations were presented to subjects gradually and suddenly in the study. We found that adaptation was less extensive with task-irrelevant errors, adaptation did not saturate significantly in the sudden condition, and adaptation, which was expected to be extensive and faster in the task-relevant condition, was closer to the rate of adaptation in the task-irrelevant perturbation. Though adjustments are necessary, we found an efficient way for speakers to rely on auditory feedback more than their prediction. Furthermore, this research opens the door to future investigations in adaptation in speech and presents implications for clinical purposes (e.g. speech therapy).

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2020-05

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Probing the Role of Auditory Feedback in Voice Pitch Control Using Vibrato Perturbation

Description

The objective of this study was to analyze the auditory feedback system and the pitch-shift reflex in relation to vibrato. 11 subjects (female n = 8, male n = 3) without speech, hearing, or neurological disorders were used. Compensation magnitude,

The objective of this study was to analyze the auditory feedback system and the pitch-shift reflex in relation to vibrato. 11 subjects (female n = 8, male n = 3) without speech, hearing, or neurological disorders were used. Compensation magnitude, adaptation magnitude, relative response phase, and passive and active perception were recorded when the subjects were subjected to auditory feedback perturbed by phasic amplitude and F0 modulation, or “vibrato”. “Tremolo,” or phasic amplitude modulation, was used as a control. Significant correlation was found between the ability to perceive vibrato and tremolo in active trials and the ability to perceive in passive trials (p=0.01). Passive perceptions were lower (more sensitive) than active perceptions (p< 0.01). Adaptation vibrato trials showed significant modulation magnitude (p=0.031), while tremolo did not. The two conditions were significantly different (p<0.01). There was significant phase change for both tremolo and vibrato, but vibrato phase change was greater, nearly 180° (p<0.01). In the compensation trials, the modulation change from control to vibrato trials was significantly greater than the change from control to tremolo (p=0.01). Vibrato and tremolo also had significantly different average phase change (p<0.01). It can be concluded that the auditory feedback system tries to cancel out dynamic pitch perturbations by cancelling them out out-of-phase. Similar systems must be used to adapt and to compensate to vibrato. Despite the auditory feedback system’s online monitoring, the passive perception was still better than active perception, possibly because it required only one task (perceiving) rather than two (perceiving and producing). The pitch-shift reflex compensates to the sensitivity of the auditory feedback system, as shown by the increased perception of vibrato over tremolo.

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2018-05