The Effects of Divided Attention on Speech Motor, Verbal Fluency, and Manual Task Performance Purpose The goal of this study was to evaluate aspects of the functional distance hypothesis, which predicts that tasks regulated by brain networks in closer anatomic proximity will interfere more with each other than tasks controlled by spatially distant regions. Speech, verbal fluency, and manual motor tasks were examined to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2008
The Effects of Divided Attention on Speech Motor, Verbal Fluency, and Manual Task Performance
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher Dromey
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Erin Shim
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Contact author: Christopher Dromey, Department of Communication Disorders, 133 Taylor Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 80602. E-mail: dromey@byu.edu.
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2008
The Effects of Divided Attention on Speech Motor, Verbal Fluency, and Manual Task Performance
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2008, Vol. 51, 1171-1182. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/06-0221)
History: Received November 28, 2006 , Revised June 21, 2007 , Accepted January 2, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2008, Vol. 51, 1171-1182. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/06-0221)
History: Received November 28, 2006; Revised June 21, 2007; Accepted January 2, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 13

Purpose The goal of this study was to evaluate aspects of the functional distance hypothesis, which predicts that tasks regulated by brain networks in closer anatomic proximity will interfere more with each other than tasks controlled by spatially distant regions. Speech, verbal fluency, and manual motor tasks were examined to ascertain whether right-handed activity would interfere more with speech and language performance because of the presumed greater demands on the left hemisphere.

Method Twenty young adults completed a speech task (repeating a sentence), a verbal fluency task (listing words beginning with the same letter), and right- and left-handed motor tasks (placing pegs and washers in a pegboard) in isolation and concurrently.

Results Speech kinematic data showed that during concurrent performance of manual tasks, lip displacement and peak velocity decreased, whereas sound pressure level increased. Spatiotemporal variability increased when the nondominant hand was used for a motor task. Manual motor scores significantly decreased when concurrently performed with the verbal fluency task but not with sentence repetition.

Conclusion These findings suggest that the control of concurrent tasks may be more complex than is predicted by the functional distance hypothesis.

Acknowledgment
We express our appreciation to the speakers who gave of their time to participate in this study.
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