Effects of Age and Syntactic Complexity on Speech Motor Performance Purpose This study investigated the effect of age on articulatory movement and stability in young, middle-age, and older adults. It also examined the potential influence of linguistic complexity on speech motor control across utterances that differed in their length and grammatical complexity. Method There were 60 participants in ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2014
Effects of Age and Syntactic Complexity on Speech Motor Performance
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher Dromey
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Kelsey Boyce
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Ron Channell
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • 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 Christopher Dromey: dromey@byu.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Kate Bunton
    Associate Editor: Kate Bunton×
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2014
Effects of Age and Syntactic Complexity on Speech Motor Performance
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2142-2151. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0327
History: Received December 6, 2013 , Revised May 27, 2014 , Accepted September 6, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2142-2151. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0327
History: Received December 6, 2013; Revised May 27, 2014; Accepted September 6, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose This study investigated the effect of age on articulatory movement and stability in young, middle-age, and older adults. It also examined the potential influence of linguistic complexity on speech motor control across utterances that differed in their length and grammatical complexity.

Method There were 60 participants in 3 age groups: 20–30 years, 40–50 years, and 60–70 years, with equal numbers of men and women in each group. The speakers produced 10 repetitions of 5 different stimuli—each of which included the same bilabial-loaded phrase in different grammatical contexts—while their lip movements were recorded.

Results Participants from the 60-year-old group had significantly longer utterance durations, whereas those from the 20-year-old group had the highest jaw spatiotemporal index (STI) values. There were significant differences in the upper lip STI, displacement, and velocity as well as in vocal intensity for the longer, complex conditions compared with the shorter, phrase-only task. Overall, the differences in performance were minimal across grammatical complexity levels that were equal in length.

Conclusion These findings suggest that speech motor control matures beyond young adulthood and that linguistic complexity in a repetitive task does not appear to have a consistent effect on measures of speech movement.

Acknowledgments
This article is based on the second author's master's thesis research. Portions of this work were presented at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Chicago, Illinois, November 2013. We express appreciation to the participants in the study and to the David O. McKay School of Education for financial support.
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