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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 15;21(16):6447-56.

Compensation for the effects of head acceleration on jaw movement in speech.

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Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1.


Recent studies have demonstrated the ability of subjects to adjust the control of limb movements to counteract the effects of self-generated loads. The degree to which subjects change control signals to compensate for these loads is a reflection of the extent to which forces affecting movement are represented in motion planning. Here, we have used empirical and modeling studies to examine whether the nervous system compensates for loads acting on the jaw during speech production. As subjects walk, loads to the jaw vary with the direction and magnitude of head acceleration. We investigated the patterns of jaw motion resulting from these loads both in locomotion alone and when locomotion was combined with speech production. In locomotion alone, jaw movements were shown to vary systematically in direction and magnitude in relation to the acceleration of the head. In contrast, when locomotion was combined with speech, variation in jaw position during both consonant and vowel production was substantially reduced. Overall, we have demonstrated that the magnitude of load associated with head acceleration during locomotion is sufficient to produce a systematic change in the position of the jaw. The absence of variation in jaw position during locomotion with speech is thus consistent with the idea that in speech, the control of jaw motion is adjusted in a predictive manner to offset the effects of head acceleration.

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