The Influence of Auditory Acuity on Acoustic Variability and the Use of Motor Equivalence During Adaptation to a Perturbation

Brunner, Jana; Ghosh, Satrajit; Hoole, Philip; Matthies, Melanie; Tiede, Mark; Perkell, Joseph
June 2011
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2011, Vol. 54 Issue 3, p727
Academic Journal
Purpose: The aim of this study was to relate speakers' auditory acuity for the sibilant contrast, their use of motor equivalent trading relationships in producing the sibilant /ʃ/, and their produced acoustic distance between the sibilants /s/ and /ʃ/. Specifically, the study tested the hypotheses that during adaptation to a perturbation of vocal-tract shape, high-acuity speakers use motor equivalence strategies to a greater extent than do low-acuity speakers in order to reach their smaller phonemic goal regions, and that high-acuity speakers produce greater acoustic distance between 2 sibilant phonemes than do low-acuity speakers. Method: Articulographic data from 7 German speakers adapting to a perturbation were analyzed for the use of motor equivalence. The speakers' produced acoustic distance between /s/ and /ʃ/ was calculated. Auditory acuity was assessed for the same speakers. Results: High-acuity speakers used motor equivalence to a greater extent when adapting to a perturbation than did low-acuity speakers. Additionally, high-acuity speakers produced greater acoustic contrasts than did low-acuity-speakers. It was observed that speech rate had an influence on the use of motor equivalence: Slow speakers used motor equivalence to a lesser degree than did fast speakers. Conclusion: These results provide support for the mutual interdependence of speech perception and production.


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