Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Neeraja Sadagopan

Second Advisor

Gail Ramsberger

Third Advisor

Kathryn Hardin


Cognition, language, and the speech motor system have robust interactions. The purpose of this study was to examine the specific interactions between working memory and speech motor performance in a dual-task activity. Nineteen healthy young adults read sentences of increasing length and complexity in two counterbalanced conditions: control (no concomitant task) and experimental (while performing a dual working memory task). Lip aperture values, production durations, and accuracy of speech were measured. Results indicated that the working memory has a significant effect on speech motor coordinative patterns and the percentage of syllable errors. Additionally, sentence length and complexity significantly affects speech motor coordinative patterns, percentage of syllable errors, and production duration. These findings suggest that the speech motor system is affected by increased cognitive demands, likely due to limitations of cognitive resource allocation. Clinical implications for the assessment and treatment of motor speech disorders in aging populations are discussed.