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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Oct;128(4):2033-48. doi: 10.1121/1.3479539.

Adaptive auditory feedback control of the production of formant trajectories in the Mandarin triphthong /iau/ and its pattern of generalization.

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Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


In order to test whether auditory feedback is involved in the planning of complex articulatory gestures in time-varying phonemes, the current study examined native Mandarin speakers' responses to auditory perturbations of their auditory feedback of the trajectory of the first formant frequency during their production of the triphthong /iau/. On average, subjects adaptively adjusted their productions to partially compensate for the perturbations in auditory feedback. This result indicates that auditory feedback control of speech movements is not restricted to quasi-static gestures in monophthongs as found in previous studies, but also extends to time-varying gestures. To probe the internal structure of the mechanisms of auditory-motor transformations, the pattern of generalization of the adaptation learned on the triphthong /iau/ to other vowels with different temporal and spatial characteristics (produced only under masking noise) was tested. A broad but weak pattern of generalization was observed; the strength of the generalization diminished with increasing dissimilarity from /iau/. The details and implications of the pattern of generalization are examined and discussed in light of previous sensorimotor adaptation studies of both speech and limb motor control and a neurocomputational model of speech motor control.

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