Free-Classification of Perceptually Similar Speakers With Dysarthria Purpose In this investigation, the construct of perceptual similarity was explored in the dysarthrias. Specifically, we employed an auditory free-classification task to determine whether listeners could cluster speakers by perceptual similarity, whether the clusters mapped to acoustic metrics, and whether the clusters were constrained by dysarthria subtype diagnosis. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2014
Free-Classification of Perceptually Similar Speakers With Dysarthria
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kaitlin L. Lansford
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Julie M. Liss
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Rebecca E. Norton
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Kaitlin L. Lansford: klansford@fsu.edu
  • Kaitlin L. Lansford is now at the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida State University.
    Kaitlin L. Lansford is now at the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida State University.×
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Wolfram Ziegler
    Associate Editor: Wolfram Ziegler×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2014
Free-Classification of Perceptually Similar Speakers With Dysarthria
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2051-2064. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0177
History: Received July 6, 2013 , Revised November 30, 2013 , Accepted June 27, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2051-2064. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0177
History: Received July 6, 2013; Revised November 30, 2013; Accepted June 27, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose In this investigation, the construct of perceptual similarity was explored in the dysarthrias. Specifically, we employed an auditory free-classification task to determine whether listeners could cluster speakers by perceptual similarity, whether the clusters mapped to acoustic metrics, and whether the clusters were constrained by dysarthria subtype diagnosis.

Method Twenty-three listeners blinded to speakers' medical and dysarthria subtype diagnoses participated. The task was to group together (drag and drop) the icons corresponding to 33 speakers with dysarthria on the basis of how similar they sounded. Cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling (MDS) modeled the perceptual dimensions underlying similarity. Acoustic metrics and perceptual judgments were used in correlation analyses to facilitate interpretation of the derived dimensions.

Results Six clusters of similar-sounding speakers and 3 perceptual dimensions underlying similarity were revealed. The clusters of similar-sounding speakers were not constrained by dysarthria subtype diagnosis. The 3 perceptual dimensions revealed by MDS were correlated with metrics for articulation rate, intelligibility, and vocal quality, respectively.

Conclusions This study shows (a) feasibility of a free-classification approach for studying perceptual similarity in dysarthria, (b) correspondence between acoustic and perceptual metrics to clusters of similar-sounding speakers, and (c) similarity judgments transcended dysarthria subtype diagnosis.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01 DC006859 and F31 DC10093. We gratefully acknowledge Rene Utianski, Dena Berg, Angela Davis, and Cindi Hensley for their contributions to this research.
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