The Role of Somatosensory Information in Speech Perception: Imitation Improves Recognition of Disordered Speech Purpose Perceptual learning paradigms involving written feedback appear to be a viable clinical tool to reduce the intelligibility burden of dysarthria. The underlying theoretical assumption is that pairing the degraded acoustics with the intended lexical targets facilitates a remapping of existing mental representations in the lexicon. This study investigated whether ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2015
The Role of Somatosensory Information in Speech Perception: Imitation Improves Recognition of Disordered Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stephanie A. Borrie
    Utah State University, Logan
  • Martina C. M. Schäfer
    New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 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 Stephanie A. Borrie: stephanie.borrie@usu.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Amy Neel
    Associate Editor: Amy Neel×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Hearing & Speech Perception / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2015
The Role of Somatosensory Information in Speech Perception: Imitation Improves Recognition of Disordered Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1708-1716. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0163
History: Received May 1, 2015 , Revised August 23, 2015 , Accepted September 14, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1708-1716. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0163
History: Received May 1, 2015; Revised August 23, 2015; Accepted September 14, 2015

Purpose Perceptual learning paradigms involving written feedback appear to be a viable clinical tool to reduce the intelligibility burden of dysarthria. The underlying theoretical assumption is that pairing the degraded acoustics with the intended lexical targets facilitates a remapping of existing mental representations in the lexicon. This study investigated whether ties to mental representations can be strengthened by way of a somatosensory motor trace.

Method Following an intelligibility pretest, 100 participants were assigned to 1 of 5 experimental groups. The control group received no training, but the other 4 groups received training with dysarthric speech under conditions involving a unique combination of auditory targets, written feedback, and/or a vocal imitation task. All participants then completed an intelligibility posttest.

Results Training improved intelligibility of dysarthric speech, with the largest improvements observed when the auditory targets were accompanied by both written feedback and an imitation task. Further, a significant relationship between intelligibility improvement and imitation accuracy was identified.

Conclusions This study suggests that somatosensory information can strengthen the activation of speech sound maps of dysarthric speech. The findings, therefore, implicate a bidirectional relationship between speech perception and speech production as well as advance our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie perceptual learning of degraded speech.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Utah State University Research Catalyst Grant FY15 (awarded to the first author). Research assistants in the Human Interaction Lab (Utah State University) are gratefully acknowledged for their assistance with data collection and transcript analysis.
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