A Novel Investigation of Generalized Motor Program Theory: Syllable Stress as a Motor-Class Variable Purpose This experiment evaluated syllable-stress position as a motor class directed by a syllable-sized generalized motor program. Reaction times were predicted to be slower for stimuli with untrained stress patterns outside the trained motor class. Furthermore, reaction times were predicted to be stable for untrained stimuli within the same motor ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 22, 2017
A Novel Investigation of Generalized Motor Program Theory: Syllable Stress as a Motor-Class Variable
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kimberly M. Meigh
    West Virginia University, Morgantown
  • 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 Kimberly M. Meigh: kmmeigh@mail.wvu.edu
  • Editor: Yana Yunusova
    Editor: Yana Yunusova×
  • Associate Editor: Kristie Spencer
    Associate Editor: Kristie Spencer×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Special Issue: Selected Papers From the 2016 Conference on Motor Speech—Basic and Clinical Science and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 22, 2017
A Novel Investigation of Generalized Motor Program Theory: Syllable Stress as a Motor-Class Variable
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1685-1694. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0247
History: Received June 15, 2016 , Revised September 23, 2016 , Accepted November 29, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2017, Vol. 60, 1685-1694. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0247
History: Received June 15, 2016; Revised September 23, 2016; Accepted November 29, 2016

Purpose This experiment evaluated syllable-stress position as a motor class directed by a syllable-sized generalized motor program. Reaction times were predicted to be slower for stimuli with untrained stress patterns outside the trained motor class. Furthermore, reaction times were predicted to be stable for untrained stimuli within the same motor class regardless of phonetic similarity.

Method Twenty-three young adults with typical speech and hearing participated in a motor-learning study comprised of motor-class training and a judgment task. Reaction times derived from the judgment task were evaluated using a within-subject repeated-measures design to evaluate the effects of syllable-stress position on stimulus type.

Results Reaction times were not significantly different across proposed syllable-stress motor-class boundaries. However, reaction times for the stimuli within the same motor class were significantly different. To be specific, slower reaction times were associated with untrained stimuli that were phonetically similar to the trained stimuli.

Conclusions The proposed hypotheses for syllable stress as a motor class were not met. Results indicate that multiple stimulus features, including syllable stress and phoneme similarity, may be encoded into memory during motor learning. Future research should evaluate how phonetic similarity of stimuli may influence motor-learning outcomes.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5116837

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by funding from the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services and Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. I would like to thank Allison White and Gabriella Kovtun for assisting with stimulus development, Elisabeth Kee and Karli Casto for their assistance with data collection, and the participants for their time. Portions of these data were presented at the Motor Speech Conference (Newport Beach, CA) in March 2016 and the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Service Undergraduate Research Forum (Morgantown, WV) in April 2016.
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