Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning To Talk Changes How Speech Is Heard: 'Sound Of Learning' Unlocked By Linking Sensory And Motor Systems

Date:
November 4, 2009
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Learning to talk also changes the way speech sounds are heard, according to a new study. The findings could have a major impact on improving speech disorders.

This is a participant in the study using a speech learning robotic device.
Credit: David Ostry, Yale University, Haskins Lab

Learning to talk also changes the way speech sounds are heard, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists at Haskins Laboratories, a Yale-affiliated research laboratory. The findings could have a major impact on improving speech disorders.

Related Articles


"We've found that learning is a two-way street; motor function affects sensory processing and vice-versa," said David J. Ostry, a senior scientist at Haskins Laboratories and professor of psychology at McGill University. "Our results suggest that learning to talk makes it easier to understand the speech of others."

As a child learns to talk, or an adult learns a new language, Ostry explained, a growing mastery of oral fluency is matched by an increase in the ability to distinguish different speech sounds. While these abilities may develop in isolation, it is possible that learning to talk also changes the way we hear speech sounds.

Ostry and co-author Sazzad M. Nasir tested the notion that speech motor learning alters auditory perceptual processing by evaluating how speakers hear speech sounds following motor learning. They simulated speech learning by using a robotic device, which introduced a subtle change in the movement path of the jaw during speech.

To assess speech perception, the participants listened to words one at a time that were taken from a computer-produced continuum between the words "had" and "head." In the speech learning phase of the study, the robot caused the jaw to move in a slightly unusual fashion. The learning is measured by assessing the extent to which participants correct for the unusual movement.

"Its like being handed a two-pound weight for the first time and being asked to make a movement, it's uncomfortable at first, but after a while, the movement becomes natural," said Ostry. "In growing children, the nervous system has to adjust to moving vocal tract structures that are changing in size and weight in order to produce the same words. Participants in our study are learning to return the movement to normal in spite of these changes. Eventually our work could have an impact on deviations to speech caused by disorders such as stroke and Parkinson's disease."

"Our study showed that speech motor learning altered the perception of these speech sounds. After motor learning, the participants heard the words differently than those in the control group," said Ostry. "One of the striking findings is that the more motor learning we observed, the more their speech perceptual function changed."

Ostry said that future research will focus on the notion that sensory remediation may be a way to jumpstart the motor system.

The team previously found that the movement of facial muscles around the mouth plays an important role not only in the way the sounds of speech are made, but also in the way they are heard.

Haskins Laboratories was founded in 1935 by the late Dr. Caryl P. Haskins. This independent research institute has been in New Haven, Connecticut since 1970 when it formalized affiliations with Yale University and the University of Connecticut. The Laboratories' primary research focus is on the science of the spoken and written word.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Learning To Talk Changes How Speech Is Heard: 'Sound Of Learning' Unlocked By Linking Sensory And Motor Systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102172441.htm>.
Yale University. (2009, November 4). Learning To Talk Changes How Speech Is Heard: 'Sound Of Learning' Unlocked By Linking Sensory And Motor Systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102172441.htm
Yale University. "Learning To Talk Changes How Speech Is Heard: 'Sound Of Learning' Unlocked By Linking Sensory And Motor Systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102172441.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins