Bidirectional Interference Between Speech and Nonspeech Tasks in Younger, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine divided attention over a large age range by looking at the effects of 3 nonspeech tasks on concurrent speech motor performance. The nonspeech tasks were designed to facilitate measurement of bidirectional interference, allowing examination of their sensitivity to speech activity. A ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2015
Bidirectional Interference Between Speech and Nonspeech Tasks in Younger, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dallin J. Bailey
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Christopher Dromey
    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 Dallin Bailey, who is now at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City: dallinbailey@gmail.com
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Liss
    Associate Editor: Julie Liss×
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2015
Bidirectional Interference Between Speech and Nonspeech Tasks in Younger, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1637-1653. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0083
History: Received March 12, 2014 , Revised September 30, 2014 , Accepted July 6, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1637-1653. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0083
History: Received March 12, 2014; Revised September 30, 2014; Accepted July 6, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine divided attention over a large age range by looking at the effects of 3 nonspeech tasks on concurrent speech motor performance. The nonspeech tasks were designed to facilitate measurement of bidirectional interference, allowing examination of their sensitivity to speech activity. A cross-sectional design was selected to explore possible changes in divided-attention effects associated with age.

Method Sixty healthy participants were separated into 3 groups of 20: younger (20s), middle-aged (40s), and older (60s) adults. Each participant completed a speech task (sentence repetitions) once in isolation and once concurrently with each of 3 nonspeech tasks: a semantic-decision linguistic task, a quantitative-comparison cognitive task, and a manual motor task. The nonspeech tasks were also performed in isolation.

Results Data from speech kinematics and nonspeech task performance indicated significant task-specific divided attention interference, with divided attention affecting speech and nonspeech measures in the linguistic and cognitive conditions and affecting speech measures in the manual motor condition. There was also a significant age effect for utterance duration.

Conclusions The results increase what is known about bidirectional interference between speech and other concurrent tasks as well as age effects on speech motor control.

Acknowledgments
We thank the David O. McKay School of Education for the intramural research funding for this study, and we thank the individual speakers who participated in the experiment. This research was conducted as the first author's master's thesis project at Brigham Young University (Provo, UT). Results of this study were presented at the Conference on Motor Speech in Sarasota, Florida, in March 2014.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access