Rate-related kinematic changes in younger and older adults

van Brenk, Frits and Terband, Hayo and van Lieshout, Pascal and Lowit, Anja and Maassen, Ben (2013) Rate-related kinematic changes in younger and older adults. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 65 (5). pp. 239-247.

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    Abstract

    This study aimed to investigate the effects of speech rate changes on kinematic characteristics and stability of speech movements in younger and older speakers using electromagnetic midsagittal articulography (EMMA). Eight young adults and eight older adults engaged in a series of syllable repetition tasks of /pa, /sa/ and /ta/ obtained at self-paced slow, habitual and fast speech rates, as well as in a series of metronome guided speech rates, ranging from 2 to 4 syllables per second. The kinematic parameters duration, amplitude and peak velocity were obtained for opening and closing movements. Older speakers were able to increase speech rate to the same degree or higher compared to younger speakers in both pacing conditions. Kinematic data show that older adults increased duration and decreased peak velocity in closing movements of alveolar constrictions at slower rates more prominently than younger adults. The results on movement stability revealed no differences between age groups. The results suggest that an age-related difference in speed-accuracy trade-off can be ruled out. Differences in kinematic characteristics point towards the possibility that older adults aimed to facilitate a closed loop control system to maintain movement stability at slower speech rates.