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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 3, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Jeffery A. Jones

Learning to produce speech with an altered vocal tract: The role of auditory feedback.

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 113, 532-543.
Jones, J. A. & Munhall, K. G.

published: 2003 | Research publication | Jones Lab

Modifying the vocal tract alters a speaker’s previously learned acoustic–articulatory relationship.
This study investigated the contribution of auditory feedback to the process of adapting to
vocal-tract modifications. Subjects said the word /tAs/ while wearing a dental prosthesis that
extended the length of their maxillary incisor teeth. The prosthesis affected /s/ productions and the
subjects were asked to learn to produce ‘‘normal’’ /s/’s. They alternately received normal auditory
feedback and noise that masked their natural feedback during productions. Acoustic analysis of the
speakers’ /s/ productions showed that the distribution of energy across the spectra moved toward
that of normal, unperturbed production with increased experience with the prosthesis. However, the
acoustic analysis did not show any significant differences in learning dependent on auditory
feedback. By contrast, when naive listeners were asked to rate the quality of the speakers’
utterances, productions made when auditory feedback was available were evaluated to be closer to
the subjects’ normal productions than when feedback was masked. The perceptual analysis showed
that speakers were able to use auditory information to partially compensate for the vocal-tract
modification. Furthermore, utterances produced during the masked conditions also improved over a
session, demonstrating that the compensatory articulations were learned and available after auditory
feedback was removed.

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revised Feb 12/08

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