Five Decades of Research in Speech Motor Control: What Have We Learned, and Where Should We Go From Here? PurposeThe author presents a view of research in speech motor control over the past 5 decades, as observed from within Ken Stevens's Speech Communication Group (SCG) in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.MethodThe author presents a limited overview of some important developments and discoveries. The perspective is based largely ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2013
Five Decades of Research in Speech Motor Control: What Have We Learned, and Where Should We Go From Here?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joseph S. Perkell
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Disclosure:The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Joseph S. Perkell: perkell@mit.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Lucie Ménard
    Associate Editor: Lucie Ménard×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Supplement
Research Article   |   December 01, 2013
Five Decades of Research in Speech Motor Control: What Have We Learned, and Where Should We Go From Here?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, S1857-S1874. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0382)
History: Received November 28, 2012 , Accepted December 17, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, S1857-S1874. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0382)
History: Received November 28, 2012; Accepted December 17, 2012

PurposeThe author presents a view of research in speech motor control over the past 5 decades, as observed from within Ken Stevens's Speech Communication Group (SCG) in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.

MethodThe author presents a limited overview of some important developments and discoveries. The perspective is based largely on the research interests of the Speech Motor Control Group (SMCG) within the SCG; thus, it is selective, focusing on normal motor control of the vocal tract in the production of sound segments and syllables. It also covers the particular theories and models that drove the research. Following a brief introduction, there are sections on methodological advances, scientific advances, and conclusions.

ResultsScientific and methodological advances have been closely interrelated. Advances in instrumentation and computer hardware and software have made it possible to record and process increasingly large, multifaceted data sets; introduce new paradigms for feedback perturbation; image brain activity; and develop more sophisticated, computational physiological and neural models. Such approaches have led to increased understanding of the widespread variability in speech, motor-equivalent trading relations, sensory goals, and the nature of feedback and feedforward neural control mechanisms.

ConclusionsSome ideas about important future directions for speech research are presented.

Acknowledgments
This article is dedicated to the memory of Ken Stevens, who generously provided almost 5 decades of invaluable mentoring, support, and advice. The main supporting grants for the Speech Motor Control Group (SMCG)—all of which were awarded to the author as primary investigator—have come from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, including Grants R01-DC01925, R01-DC03007, and R56-DC010849. The most recent team of collaborators on the SMCG included Deryk Beal, Shanqing Cai, Satra Ghosh, Frank Guenther, Harlan Lane, Melanie Matthies, Lucie Ménard, and Mark Tiede. Earlier collaborators on the SMCG's research included Suzanne Boyce, Marc Boucek, Jana Brunner, Marc Cohen, Margaret Denney, Carol Espy-Wilson, Iñaki Garabieta, Bob Hillman, Miwako Hisagi, Eva Holmberg, Kiyoshi Honda, Michel Jackson, Michael Jordan, Edwin Maas, Nicole Marrone, Emi Murano, Win Nelson, Carrie Niziolek, Pascal Perrier, Yohan Payan, Joyce Rosenthal (formerly Manzella), Ken Stevens, Mario Svirsky, Reiner Wilhelms-Tricarico, Jennell Vick, Virgilio Villacorta, John Westbury, Jane Wozniak (formerly Webster), and Majid Zandipour. Additional help has come from Ellen Burton (formerly Stockmann), John Gould, Peter Guiod, Alexandra Hanson, Seth Hall, Arlene Wint, and Keith North. Thanks to Shanqing Cai, Mark Tiede, Majid Zandipour, Harlan Lane, Gary Weismer, and Jean-Luc Schwartz for their helpful comments on this article. And, most important, special thanks to Lucie Ménard and her colleagues and students for their considerable effort in organizing the International Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP) in Montreal in 2011 and to Lucie Ménard for being the driving force behind this JSLHR Supplement.
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