Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Neeraja Sadagopan

Second Advisor

Phillip Gilley

Third Advisor

Donald Finan

Abstract

Speech production is a fine motor skill that requires formation of muscle movement sequences and synergies that are refined over time through inclusion of cognitive, linguistic and sensory information (Stoel-Gammon & Dunn, 1985). Understanding what factors positively and negatively affect speech motor performance is of clinical relevance. In this study, the effect of an internal and external focus of attention on speech motor coordinative consistency (measured through lip aperture variability [LAVAR] index values), mean duration, duration variability, and behavioral accuracy (% phonemes correct), was investigated. Twenty students (aged 18-25) participated in a within-subjects experimental design. Although overall results did not support higher accuracy or lip aperture trajectory consistency in the external condition as hypothesized, shorter production durations in the external condition were observed, possibly reflecting increased automatic control of speech movements when attention was focused on acoustic output.

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