Speech rate strategies in younger and older adults

Terband, Hayo and Van Brenk, Frits and Henriques, Rafael Neto and van Lieshout, Pascal and Maassen, Ben and Lowit, Anja (2012) Speech rate strategies in younger and older adults. In: Motor Speech Conference, 2012-02-29 - 2012-03-04.

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Several studies have indicated a general decrease in speed and accuracy of speech output in older compared to younger speakers. In a previous study investigating reiterated productions of syllables /pa/, /sa/ and /ta/ at different speech rates, we found that older adults when slowing down, more prominently increased duration and decreased peak velocity in closing movements compared to younger adults. As a possible explanation we proposed that older adults may evidence a mechanism that facilitates a closed loop control system to maintain movement stability, possibly due to a reduced quality of somatosensory input. In the present study, we examined this phenomenon further using a reiterated speech task with target words /a:pi/ and /ipa:/, which regarding jaw and lips, involve three-step movement schemes consisting respectively of one closing and two opening movements and two closing and one opening movement. Eight young adults and eight elderly speakers participated in the study. Articulographic data were collected on the reiterated productions of the target words at self-paced slow, habitual and fast speech rates, and in a series of metronome guided speech rates ranging from 2 to 4 syllables per second. Results will be presented at the conference.